It took us a bit over two years but the vision of creating a unique yeshiva program for Olim is materializing!
As we speak, we have three guys learning Torah in our Beit Midrash and a fourth making Aliyah from PHILADELPHIA to our dorms this coming week. Zev Hoffman, an Oleh from LA (we like LA guys!), attended our Shabbatone a year and half ago. He called me up a few months ago and told me that his lease was up in November and wanted to know if he could join. Zev is completing his Masters in English Literature at Bar Illan University and tutors students in English when he is not studying. We had a good first week of Torah learning together. We are studying Massechet Megilla in chavura style learning.
What is this vision that is being actualized?
In my first or second year learning at Yeshivat Hakotel, Rav Moshe Taragin taught me a powerful idea which has stayed with me since. Midrash Raba (64:3) tells us that Hashem instructs Yitzchak to live in the Land with two different words. Hashem says in Parshat Toldot, “שכון בארץ” and then “גור בארץ הזאת”. Why does Hashem use two different phrases when commanding Yitzchak to dwell in the Land?
The Midrash teaches us that there are two different aspects to living in the Land of Israel. גור has the connotation of mundane living, מגורי ארעי. ,מלשון שכינה ,שכוןcarries with it the value of an elevated, spiritual existence. Hashem instructs Yitzchak that he must remain in Eretz Yisrael because there and only there is it possible to achieve an ideal existence. Only in Eretz Yisrael will a Jew find the optimal combination of the physical and the spiritual.
Even with this blessing, it is a challenge for many to achieve the right balance. On the one hand, it can be so difficult to make a living here that one neglects to give the soul its nourishment. On the other hand, the spiritual currents here are so strong that one can forget the practical importance of supporting a family and building a healthy, functioning society.
Yeshivat Oro Shel Adam was created to blend together these two values for Olim. Without Torah and concentrated spiritual growth we are not worthy of residing in God’s Chosen Land. For this reason in the yeshiva we spend a couple of hours a day Learning and cultivating a path in Avoda. At the same time, we reinforce to our participants the value of working and contributing to the work-force in Israel. We help and guide them toward successful careers and professional life.
In this way we will follow the path of Yitzchak Avinu and indeed find the bountiful blessing in our Land!