(Courtesy of YU) On Sunday March 12, Yeshiva University and its affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) brought together its leading Torah scholars and roshei yeshiva for the second annual Yom HaKahal/Day of Learning, spreading wisdom and insight to an audience of 750 talmidim, alumni and community members.
The event covered a variety of topics, including a shiur kelali with Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter; a community address from Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, rosh yeshiva and president of YU and RIETS, titled Covenantal Leadership in an Age of Consumerism; a riveting, never-before-seen, 35-minute shiur from Rav Soloveitchik, zt”l titled Pesah: Writing a Story Upon a People in Yiddish with English subtitles; and dozens of unique presentations from esteemed rabbeim and faculty.
“More than just a typical Yom Iyun or day of learning event, Yom Hakahal recreated the atmosphere of our yeshiva by bringing together its current talmidim, alumni and the communities we all serve,” said Rabbi Menachem Penner, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. “It was an opportunity to celebrate the joy and depth of Torah learning, to strengthen our bonds with one another, and connect with the storied legacy of Yeshiva University.”
The event focused on the overall theme of Talmudic Tractate Gittin, which YU students have been studying throughout the year and focuses on halachic divorce. Participants had the opportunity to partake in specialized learning sessions on topics relating to Masechet Gittin, including divorce-related issues but also many larger topics found within the tractate, such as mental incapacity, the writing of a sefer Torah, and kashrut supervision. Breakout shiurim included prenuptial agreements with Rabbi Mordechai Willig, an 18th-century case study of gittin with Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, a demonstration of a siddur haget in conjunction with the Beth Din of America, and several question and answer sessions on a range of practical and technical topics.
Yom HaKahal celebrates the spirit, enthusiasm and scholarship of YU/RIETS students and is a critical fundraising mechanism to support the important work of RIETS. In North America, 80% of all major Modern Orthodox congregations are led by RIETS graduates. The crowdfunding campaign leading up to the Day of Learning raised more than $1 million to support RIETS and its students.