The students of the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, New Jersey are learning a lot these days — uninterruptedly.
It’s part of a month-long “mivtza campaign” to commemorate the first yahrzeit of Gedaliah Greenzayd a”h (Gedaliah Yaakov ben Avraham sheyichyeh), who was tragically killed last year in an accident at the age of 25.
Born in central Ukraine, Gedaliah showed a love for Torah and mitzvot at a young age, and went on to learn in yeshivas in Kiev, Kfar Chabad, Monsey, and eventually Morristown, where he learned in Tiferes Bachurim and was most recently learning for smicha under Rabbi Chaim Schapiro.
In line with the Rebbe’s directive of “V’hachai yitain el libo” / “The living should take it to heart,” the campaign incentivizes bachurim to learn for several hours each day without interruption, as Gedaliah was known to do, said Rabbi Levi Goldgrab, one of the organizers of the mivtza. No disturbances, phones, coffees or breaks — just learning straight.
“The idea is that people should see themselves personally invested in learning.” said Rabbi Noach Winterstein, a shliach in Tiferes Bachurim. “We want bachurim to develop a whole new perspective on learning that will become part of their day-to-day lives.”
So far, it seems to be working.
“How often do you really learn an hour straight?” said Yehuda Makarov, a bachur in Tiferes. “Just doing it two or three times a day over and over again is changing my experience with learning and thinking in general. The discipline is becoming more and more natural and bringing simcha.”
Rashi Zamora, also a bachur in Tiferes, agrees. “It’s helped me strengthen my weaknesses. “You take the last hour of shiur or seder, when it’s really hard to concentrate or focus, and you say that this hour is my hour. It’s a nice thing to do for him [Gedaliah], because he was really into it, and I admired him for it.”
Bachurim in Tiferes remember Gedaliah as a kind and generous person with a thirst for learning.
“Gedaliah was a very special guy,” said Yossi Fastow, “always happy and always smiling. He would learn everything aloud and lightning fast, and he would often start singing a niggin in the middle of his learning.”
Duvid Tabaczynski recalled advice which Gedaliah gave him about Torah and mitzvah observance.
“He once told me that everything that you do in life should be done in the most optimal way possible,” said Duvid. Don’t ever cut corners – do every mitzvah b’hiddur.”
The prizes for the participants will be presented please G-d at the 1st Yahrzeit Ceremony on Thursday, March 12 at 8pm in the Berger Auditorium.
Help us reward diligence in Limud HaTorah in memory of Gedalya.
Donate to the project at https://www.gofundme.com/hoursforgedalya