After many months of vigorous studying, pouring over their Yahadus books, students from around the world, took their third qualifying test for the International Chidon Sefer Hamitzvos this morning.
It’s the collective marks of the three tests that will determine which chayolim are eligible to join the international chidon shabbaton and which students will represent their base.
“The chidon used to be limited to very few contestants,” says Rabbi Sholom Ber Baumgarten, Chidon director for twenty-two years. Many chayolim were discouraged by the quota of only two students per grade competing. With the new program, many more chayolim feel encouraged to join—anyone who tries hard has to ability to succeed. With 2,812 children participating in the qualifying tests this year, the results of the new system speak for themselves.
To qualify, the chayolim take a two part test. If they receive a passing average on part one—challenging but straightforward questions, they are invited to join the Shabbaton.
Part two features more difficult questions. Earning a passing average requires determination. The two highest-scoring students in each grade—who received a passing average with the combined scores of part one and two on all three tests—will represent their school on stage at the live Chidon game show.
Once the final qualifying tests are marked by each school, the contestants and school representatives for Chidon Sefer Hamitzvos 5778 will be determined. “We look forward to announcing the names of the children who will be competing and representing their schools,” says Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson, executive director of Tzivos Hashem.
The Chidon is just one part of a larger movement to reawaken a commitment to learning Rambam. Using the Living Lessons materials created by a generous grant from the Rohr Family Foundation, teachers can impart students with a thorough knowledge of all 613 mitzvos over a five-year period, from fourth through eighth grade.
“There is no need to elaborate on how much it means to the Rebbe that every man, woman, and child study the daily portion of Rambam,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. “Our goal with this initiative is that every child have a clear understanding of all 613 mitzvos.”
With hundreds of chayolim around the world taking part, the pressure for Chidon 5778 is on.
If you have any questions about the Chidon or to find out more information, visit Chidon613.com or email Chidon@tzivoshashem.org