Agudas Yisroel of America’s 15th Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah began this morning in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh with more than 300 participants, a significant increase over past years leading to the opening of a second banquet hall to accommodate the large overflow.
The first shiur given was a wide-ranging Hakdama Shiur from HaRav Asher Weiss, Shlita, Av Beis Din, Darchei Hora’ah, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva Darchei Torah; who has the distinction of speaking every year at the Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah. HaRav Weiss discussed the Halachic implications of Birchas Hamazon, being the only Brocha that is M’Deoraysa. He delineated the difference between the words Achila and Seviah as they relate to the Pasuk, Veachalta Vesavata and focused on the resulting practical Halachic implications.
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He was followed by HaRav Pinchos Friedman, Shlita, Rosh Hakollelim, Belz who carefully analyzed the importance of the fourth brocha of Birchas Hamazon. He spoke about the well-known historical background of this brocha which acknowledges the great Chesed of the Ribono Shel Olem in allowing the Harugei Beitar to be brought to proper Jewish burial.
The Yerushalmi relates, that the residents of Beitar were massacred by the Roman Emperor Hadrian sixty years following the Churban because of their participation in the Bar Kochba revolt against Roman rule. The Emperor, did not allow their bodies to buried, rather he cruelly desecrated them by utilizing them as a fence for his vineyard. A miracle occurred and for a period of seven years the bodies did not decay! This was despite their exposure to the elements, including periods of rain, frost and snow.
After this seven year period they were finally allowed to be buried. It is for this reason that we make the fourth brocha in Birchas Hamazon; to thank HaShem for his kindness in this great miracle which followed so closely to the Churban HaBayis. Hence, the segue between Bonei Yerushalayim and HaTov V’Hameitiv. He continued by quoting the Rosh who states we should utilize the opportunity of saying Birchas Hamazon to remember and instill in ourselves the impact of the Churban on our lives and ensure that all the trappings of materialism that surround us do not challenge our focus on Avodas HaShem.
HaRav Friedman implored the participants to renew their efforts to have proper Kavannah during Birchas Hamazon, thereby bringing upon themselves and their families the multiple Brachos that are promised to those who accord Birchas Hamazon with proper respect.
The evening closed with warm words of Hisorerus from the Viznitzer Rebbe, HaRav Yisroel Hager Shlita of Bnei Brak. He praised Agudas Yisroel for bringing together such a large group of people for intense Limud Torah Lshmah for an entire week in Eretz Yisroel. All the participants appreciated his warm Divrei Chizuk, including his emphasis on maintaining Emunah and Bitachon not just when things are going well but also during challenging times. Following his remarks the participants eagerly approached the Rebbe for his Brocha.
In the words of one of the participants, the Yerushalayim Yarchei Kalla is something that we look forward to the entire year. This year it has not failed to live up to expectations both in terms of the quality of the presentations but also in the thrill of being in the company of so many people learning Torah with such excitement and dedication.
(Photo credits: Shmuelheinemannphoto.com)