Last Shabbos, close to 100 talmidim in MTA’s Yeshiva Fellowship gathered at the Clinton Inn in Tenafly for their annual shabbaton. The Yeshiva Fellowship, spearheaded by Rabbi Netanel Danto, is a special program offering increased encouragement and opportunities for talmidim to be more ambitious in their limud haTorah. Talmidim in the Fellowship hear weekly chaburos from YU roshei yeshiva, attend night seder regularly and get together for two learning-focused shabbatonim each year.
At this most recent shabbaton, in addition to several MTA rebbeim, the talmidim were honored by the presence of HaGaon Rav Hershel Schachter, shlita, rosh yeshiva and rosh kollel at YU, who, along with his wife, joined them for Shabbos and presented guidance and wisdom several times over the course of Shabbos, on both a public and individual basis. After Friday night davening and a short learning seder, the dining room filled with the sounds of talmidim and rebbeim (and the rebbeim’s families) enjoying each other’s company at the first seuda, engaging in conversation, partaking in thunderous zemiros led by Rabbi Akiva Ackerman and hearing divrei Torah from their peers. The learning continued with student-led chaburos.
Following a spirited oneg highlighted by divrei chizuk from Rabbi Baruch Pesach Mendelson, the talmidim had the immense pleasure of participating in an open Q &A session with Rav Schachter, who spoke passionately about several subjects and reflected emotionally upon his own days as an MTA student, encouraging everyone to strive to reach his potential.
Shabbos morning featured more of the same: Meaningful davening, which included a morning drasha from Rabbi Shimon Schenker, a lively learning seder and plenty of good conversation, food, song and divrei Torah at the seuda. This was followed by a special shiur from Rav Schachter on the nature of “eilu ve’eilu divrei Elokim chaim,” which included fundamental explanations of how there can be multiple valid halachic views.
Later in the afternoon, after another learning seder and davening, the talmidim enjoyed an inspiring seuda shelishis, with zemiros and divrei Torah from Rabbi Rafi Pearl, as Shabbos drew to a close. Shabbos concluded with a moving, student-led musical Havdala, followed by an inspiring melave malka, where the energetic dancing of the talmidim, along with their rebbeim, was something to behold.
Throughout the shabbaton, there was an almost constant kol Torah, tefillah and shira coming from the Yeshiva Fellowship talmidim. This fantastic shabbaton, with its positively charged atmosphere, served to amplify the kedushas haShabbos and empower the talmidim, helping them to learn and grow—showing them just how much they are capable of accomplishing. Everyone who attended is deeply grateful to Rav Schachter for honoring the shabbaton with his presence and his shiurim and for enhancing a truly wonderful Shabbos for all.