On Sunday, April 7, hundreds of men of all ages and backgrounds attended Agra D’Pirka’s Nissan pre-Pesach learning programs held in Flatbush, Monsey, and Queens, for its first-ever evening Yarchei Kallah. Joining the Flatbush participants in Knesses Bais Avigdor, from afar, were over 6000 online viewers from locales across the U.S. and as far away as Israel, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Italy, Mexico, Panama, South Africa, Spain, and the UK.
The Flatbush program, sponsored by Ralph Hertzka of Meridian Capital in memory of his parents, Esther Raasha bas Refoel and Harav Yaakov Yitzchok ben Nosson, featured Rav Lipa Geldwerth who spoke about, “Nisei Nissan”; Agra D’Pirka’s Morah D’asra Rav Aharon Kahn, who discussed, “The Arba’ah Bonim”; and, Rav Yisroel Ephrati, who presented, “Kitniyos: An Agricultural Perspective”.
Discussing miracles, Rav Geldwerth, challenged those who do not see nissim in everyday living, but only in dramatic occurrences, by rhetorically asking, “A person sees Hakadosh Baruch Hu in what he thinks is supernatural? You don’t see Hakadosh Baruch Hu every single morning when you wake up? In all the Birkas Hashachar? You don’t understand what it means when a command from your brain moves your hand --the minimum of how your body works, and chalila when it doesn’t work? That’s all Yad Hashem! You don’t think back on the shidduchim of your children—how it happened that that person mentioned that person? You don’t see the Abishter in that?”
In mentioning Chazal’s yesod particular to the seder night – our obligation to teach, train, develop, inspire, and present the story of Yitzias Mitzrayim to those around us, according to their level of comprehension –Rav Kahn parenthetically suggested that there is almost no such rasha in our time, in our daled amos. “The kids today who are off-the-derech certainly do not qualify for this title of rasha…In the end, deep down, they are actually great ma’aminim. They give up the Torah and mitzvos and stop learning and davening and maybe even stop keeping Shabbos. It’s some form of pain and suffering that they have inside of them that they can’t figure out. They just need a lot of love. That’s the emes!”
Rav Kahn continued, “The real rasha is not interested in anything other than completely undermining and wiping out the whole ocean of freedom that the Ribono shel Olam planted in us, the whole inyan of Yitzias Mitzrayim, and he wants to replace it with his understanding of freedom – a very basic, simple, and low-level concept to do whatever you want, throwing off the yoke of the oppressor so you are free to determine your own destiny….We have the exact opposite understanding of freedom of the bein harasha, and, in fact, our celebration of freedom is a moment, on the night of the seder, that indicates in no uncertain terms, that our freedom is davka listening to HaKadosh Baruch Hu to a fault.”
Lastly, Rav Ephrati historically traced and enumerated various Ashkenazic and Sephardic homeland farming issues, explaining that legumes are permitted for some Sephardic Jews who, for various historical reasons, did not adopt this custom of refraining from kitniyos consumption on Pesach. The Rav concluded, “Chas v’shalom to say that they [Sephardim] are lenient and we [Ashkenazim] are machmir! It pashut has to do with the reality in which the Rishonim lived. Those Rishonim that lived in places where at that time, two or three centuries earlier, this major technological breakthrough happened, they were gozer on kitniyus, and Sefardim not.”
In Kew Gardens Hills, at Khal Nachlas Yitzchak, Rav Noach Oelbaum spoke about, “The Chiyuv of Havdalah for Women Beleil Haseder”, the obligation of women to hear havdalah on the second Seder night. In Monsey, Rav Daniel Glatstein spoke in the Fountainview shul on: “The Pesach Seder: Creating the Geulah Sheleima”. Rav Matis Stern followed with a shiur that discussed the Seder night, entitled, “Matza: Lechem Oni or Zecher Lecheirus?” The Monsey program was co-sponsored by the Monsey Night Seder Bais Hamedrash.
Founder & Rosh HaKollelim, Ezra Klein, notes, “Our speakers are fabulous and the first of our evening shiurim for the major Yomim Tovim--Pesach, the Yomim Naroim, and Succos—was a pretty amazing success. The massive attendance online is something that shows the public’s thirst for Torah in any form and in every part of the world.
“Agra D’Pirka wishes to thank Torah Anytime for the technical expertise and major investment in seeing the livestream to fruition,” continues Mr. Klein. “Without their expertise, the program would not have been able to be seen by over 6000 people. Special mention should be made of Moshe Sofer and Ephraim Levine.”
“Agra D’Pirka is now venturing into new territory with a night program,” adds Agra D’Pirka Administrator Chaim Fuhrer. “Until now, it has been a strictly morning Kollel. The purpose of doing this is, primarily, to give people who haven’t had the opportunity to participate because they were working or otherwise occupied during the daytime. They have now had a taste of the beauty of Agra D’Pirka…Our primary goal was to get as many people exposed to it as possible, so when they do have the time, they will be able to participate in it.”
Rav Daniel Glatstein remarks, “Since I have had the privilege of teaching in the Queens branch of Agra D’Pirka, the group has steadily grown. I am very inspired to see the growth of Agra D’Pirka not only in Queens but across the United States and the world. I know my Agra D’Pirka classes on Torah Anytime are heard by listeners even in Gibraltar and Turkey. It’s really a testament to the dedication of Reb Ezra Klein to spread the program through marbitz Torah to help men of all ages grow in their learning. I wish Agra D’Pirka much success until the coming of Moshiach, spreading to every community around the world!”
Concludes Rav Aharon Kahn, “Agra D’Pirka is nothing less than a revolution. It is one of those incredible developments which comes out of the siyata diShmaya that HaShem gives special individuals when a great need arises in klal Yisroel. With single-minded commitment and much hard work, they have created a phenomenon. And it continues to grow. I am fortunate to have been there from the very beginning. Ashrei ayin ro’aso zos!”
To access the Flatbush Yarchei Kallah shiurim, visit torahanytime.com/#/org?id=21. Agra D’Pirka is a year-round organized morning kollel program for local professionals, business owners, college students, retirees, or anyone who wishes to increase his limud haTorah. There are currently Agra D’Pirka programs in many communities across four different States. For more information about Agra D’Pirka, call: 347-943-6240.
By Margie Pensak