Monday, November 28, 2022

On Thursday night, August 18, a group of elite of talmidei chachamim will gather in Amukah to daven for Jewish singles around the world to find success in shidduchim soon.

Amukah, home to the kever of the tanna Yonasan ben Uziel, is famed as a place where tefillos for shidduchim are readily accepted. While the origins of this tradition remain shrouded in mystery, thousands of eligible young men and women make the pilgrimage there each year to ask Hashem to send them their bashert speedily.

Thursday night’s tefillos are sponsored by Kollel Chatzos, the network of kollelim that supports the study of Torah through the night. This ensures that there is at least one place in major Jewish cities where Torah learning goes on around the clock. It also guarantees that the Heavenly protection conferred in the merit of Torah learning will be shared all across our communities.

Kollel Chatzos maintains three branches throughout the Greater New York area, as well as an exclusive fourth Torah center in Meron at the kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. In his Zohar, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai repeatedly extols the practice of rising at midnight to learn Torah—in virtually every sedra of the sefer, in fact—and even records that it was his own habit as well. He further guarantees that anyone who gets up to learn Torah during the second half of the night will have his tefillos accepted graciously on high.

The Talmud (Taanis 26b) teaches that the 15th of Av was celebrated as a tremendous yom tov, a date that was set aside for matching up Jewish couples. The eligible girls of Yerushalayim would gather in the fields on this day to be chosen by suitable young men. Building on this theme, later seforim describe the 15th of Av as a day that bears a special segulah for finding one’s zivug.

But the Talmud (Taanis 31a) has more to say about the 15th of Av. “דמוסיף יוסיף ודלא מוסיף יאסף” — “The one who will add (to his Torah study) will add, the one who does not add (will be collected).” By this date the summer solstice has passed and the short summer nights begin to grow longer. Since the nighttime is meant to be dedicated for Torah, as of the 15th of Av we are all obligated to extend our nighttime Torah study sessions.

No one better appreciates the significance of learning Torah through the night than the elite group of men who occupy the network of Batei Midrashim of Kollel Chatzos at its four branches worldwide. If anyone’s prayer deserves special attention on the 15th of Av, it is that of the devoted scholars of Kollel Chatzos. And that is why they were chosen to represent klal Yisrael in Amukah on Chamisha Asar B’Av.

The significance of the occasion was not lost on the public. Young people from all over the world hoping to see themselves settled quickly, as well as parents of children in shidduchim, called the offices of Kollel Chatzos for weeks in advance to reserve their share in this special event. The representatives who showed up at Amukah came armed with long lists of names of those who are hoping to find their bashert speedily and easily.

May we all hear besoros tovos b’karov!

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