Some thousand participants gathered on Sunday morning at the International Convention Center (ICC) in Jerusalem in honor of the unique event of completing the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud). The event was led by the Association of Yeshivot Hesder and leading rabbinical figures of religious Zionism. The event, named “Yachad Be’Kedushah” is a non-stop studying marathon whereby hundreds of studying couples (Hevrutah) undertake the task of completing eight Gemara pages for each couple. The goal is starting and completing the entire Talmud Bavli - no less than 37 Masechtot (tractates) - 2,711 pages - all on the same day.
The learning marathon began at 9:00 a.m., with many Heads of Yeshivot, graduates of Hesder yeshivas, Ministers and Members of Knesset. Professor Simcha Goldin, father of fallen soldier Hadar Goldin of blessed memory, shoes body is still held by Hamas, opened the event which lasted through 6:00 p.m. Upon completing the Talmud Bavli, Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal delivered the traditional Hadran. Rabbi Neventzal has been teaching Gemara for 50 years at the Kotel Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Grandfathers of baby Amiad Israel Ish-Ran, may god avenge his blood, who was murdered in the horrific terror attack in Ofra several weeks ago, recited the Kaddish prayer. A mass Arvit prayer and uplifting dancing circles of rabbis and their students concluded the unique gathering.
Members of the Jewish Home party referred to recent declarations delivered by Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked who quit the party and announced the launching of a new political platform called “Hayamin Hachadash” (The New Right).
MK Betzalel Smotrich (National Union) commented that “I learned about Bennett and Shaked’s decision together with the rest of the people in Israel. I must say I was taken by surprise by the timing of the announcement, not by the substance of it, regretfully. It was obvious that such a decision would eventually materialize since neither of them intended to join the party as a leader of the religious Zionism, and aspired, instead, to become Prime Minister. Nevertheless, religious Zionism is alive and kicking. We have good people among us and solid foundations of ideological movements, values and operations in the field. The religious public will remain loyal to a large religious-national political home, united and attractive. This public will continue to influence and lead in shaping the public agenda in Israel.”
With regard to the event, MK Smotrich commented excitingly that “anyone who wishes to understand what exactly is religious Zionism should come here and understand that it all starts in Beit Hamidrash, in studying Torah and Gemara. The fundamentals for Torah are here. This is the nuclear reactor of our perception. Torah is our flag from which we inherit the immense energies driving us in the state of Israel at the dawn of our redemption.”
MK Motti Yogev commented that “the religious Zionist public has a very broad common ground. There’s room for everyone in the Jewish Home and we will do our best to make everybody comfortable there - men and women, center and periphery, orthodox religious people and liberal religious people; all share common values while holding diverse set of opinions. That was the spirit of MAFDAL and this is how we intend to move forward with the Jewish Home, as broad, as large and as inclusive as we can.”
Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan added that “Torah is inseparable from the people of Israel and the land of Israel. For me, studying today, with thousands of Hesder students, virtually holding the book in one hand and the sword in the other symbolizes more than anything else the power and central role of religious Zionism in the leadership of the state of Israel.”
During the event, rabbis from various Yeshivot Hesder and Rabbis of the Council of Yeshivot Hesder took part in the learning marathon, among them were: Rabbi Haim Druckman, Rabbi Yehshoua Weisman, Rabbi Tzvi Kostiner, Rabbi Yoel Manowitz, Rabbi Shmuel Habber, Rabbi Shlomo Rosenfeld, Rabbi David Pendel, Rabbi Itzhak Ben Pazi and Rabbi Eyal Greyner.
In Addition, many Hesder students took part in the event: platoons of soldiers serving in Givati and Kfir infantry brigades and more than 50 students from high school Yeshivot like Darchey Noam, Petach Tikva and Bnei Akiva Yeshiva, Raanana and Givat Shmuel.
The project was very successful in bringing together various sectors and religious movements, including prominent rabbis of religious Zionism alongside leading Haredi rabbinical figures, among them: Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal, Rabbi Nechemia Goldberg, Rabbi Shlomo Dyechovsky, Rabbi Dov Landau, Chief Rabbi David Lau, Chief Rabbis of Jerusalem - Rabbi Arie Stern and Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Rabbi Ben Zion Hacohen Cook, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Asher Weiss, Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Rabbi Eyal Krim, and many more.
Chief of staff of the Association of Yeshivot Hesder, who also took part in the study throughout the entire day and studied the first eight pages of Masechet Ktubot, commented that “in celebrating 70 years of independence of the state of Israel, the presidents of the Yeshivot chose to hold an extraordinary and unique event. So far, religious Zionism has never witnessed such an event of unity and power around the world of religious Zionist world of Torah. It is a historic event for people who love and cherish Torah can actively participate; The study of Gemara has been the cornerstone of any Yeshiva for thousands of years. We are taking responsibility for learning Torah while developing the state in various social and national aspects. Our goal is to make Torah greater and expand its outreach.”
Donations and incomes gathered for the events will be dedicated to more than 24 different projects, categorized under three key fields related to the religious Zionist world of Yeshivot: Torah, IDF and the Israeli society. Among those projects, there are plans to build a mobile Beit Midrash which will be available for soldiers in the field; first responders team that will assist municipal authorities and elderly people in emergency situations; integration of students with special needs in Yeshivot Hesder, funding scholarships for students in need, funding scholarships for volunteers from abroad while serving in the IDF and additional welfare and social projects. All projects will be led by the Association of Yeshivot Hesder together with all the Yeshivot.