Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges in Melbourne were honored to host the current Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau on Monday 13th November. Staff and students were privileged to hear his words of chizuk and inspiration in a series of talks across the YBR campuses.
After meeting with YBR Principal, Rabbi Smukler, and the YBR Board members for breakfast, Beth Rivkah School Captains greeted the Rabbi and joined the Secondary School assembly where he addressed the girls on the importance of chesed (kindness) and approaching it with eagerness and positivity.
Year 3 Beth Rivkah students then took to the stage at the Beth Rivkah Primary campus to recite a delightful poem expressing to Rav Lau “may all your work continue with great success and all your efforts should be blessed!”
Rabbi Lau espoused the idea to the Primary girls that Hashem wants our prayers and he waits for our prayers before he provides us with what we want. He explained this concept in terms of our foremothers – Sara, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah – who were only blessed after a long time and a lot of prayer. Similarly, he commented that although “Hashem created the world with rain in the clouds, the rain waited until Adam and Chava prayed.” Rav Lau requested that the students “remember [that] all the blessings of the world depend on our prayers.”
A visit to Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Pre-School – the Gurewicz Early Learning Centre (GELC) – followed where Rabbi Lau was greeted by a sea of smiling kinder children, seated in the playground and eager to hear from the esteemed guest!
The GELC children enthusiastically presented a number of songs to Rav Lau – after which he stated that in the same way he heard the children’s singing voices Hashem wants to hear their voices in prayer. The students joined in to sing “osei shalom” and Rav Lau expressed that “when we pray for peace our united tefillot go to Hashem and He will give us health and yeshua (salvation)”. The Rav then moved on to a morning tea with the school senior management team who were fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Rav Lau’s advice on educational matters.
At Yeshivah Primary and Secondary campuses Rav Lau spurred on an animated interaction with the students, quizzing them and challenging them to recall what they are currently learning. To the Yeshivah Secondary students he conveyed the importance of students being able to recall what they are learning “quickly and with confidence” as each and every person is a shomer (guard) who “has a duty to Hashem for all the things he does”. He highlighted that we play an integral role in “keeping the continuity of learning” and ensuring that Torah permeates the world constantly. Rav Lau implored students to “utilise your time to learn Torah… your goal is to be happy with Torah” and he blessed the students to be talmudei chachamim.
Yeshivah Primary students confidently recited Perek alef Tanya b’al peh (by heart) and Rav Lau commented on the enthusiasm of the Yeshivah Primary students in their discussion about their learning. His address to the Primary boys reminded them that they “must know all the Torah” and to discuss Torah in all their interactions. He noted that praying and learning should be a fundamental part of their lives so that they can “continue in this way to become talmudei chachamim.”