Torah Celebration Tempered with Grief at Rabbi Porat's Passing
The network of Bnei Akiva Yeshivas celebrated on Tuesday a Torah Welcoming (“Hachnasat Sefer Torah”), the joyous march carrying a new Torah Scroll under a wedding canopy from the home where its writing has been completed to the Holy Ark where it will be kept.
The Torah scroll was written in honor of two beloved religious Zionist Torah leaders, Rav Avraham Zuckerman, venerable dean of the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva network, and Rav and former MK Chaim Druckman, founder of Or Etzion high school and hesder yeshiva complex and former head of the Organization of Hesder Yeshivas.
The celebration also marked the publication of Rav Zuckerman’s new book. entitled Luchot Even (lit. the stone tablets, an allusion to the Decalogue), a commentary on the weekly parasha (Torah portion).
The celebration had been planned beforehand and took place as the news broke of the passing of respected Torah scholar and charismatic leader of the Gush Emunim movement, who spearheaded the return to Judea and Samaria, former MK Rav Hanan Porat.
The participants' feelings mingled joy at the completion of the new Torah Scroll honoring the two rabbis with grief at the passing of a Torah- true idealist who changed Jewish history in his lifetime.
Rav Porat died on Tuesday at the age of 67 after a brave two year battle with a terminal illness. He continued lecturing and writing his Torah insights until the final stages of his illness.
“Rav Hanan Porat is a great example for the youngsters to what an alumnus of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva can accomplish in his short life,” said Elchanan Glatt, Director of the Center of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva.
“As a young student, he was able to bring the ruach (spirit) of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva and to build a spirit of religious Zionism and the responsibility to rebuild and to continue Rabbi Kook's philosophy of the unity of the Land of Israel, the People of Yisrael, and the Torah of Israel,” added Glatt. "educating future generations and inspiring them to continue this unbelievable idea,” he said.
The Israeli political establishment – from right to left – mourned Rav Porat’s passing on Tuesday, with tributes pouring in from a wide array of political figures, from the Prime Minister on down.