When Rabbi Yechiel Benari first founded a yeshivah for college students, he knew it had to be warm, it had to be goal oriented, and it needed educators that embraced the path of Torah alongside parnasah. On Tuesday evening, July 2, community members, yeshivah supporters, and students celebrated the fourth year of Yeshivas Toras Halachah reaching those goals.
Dr. and Mrs. Ari Walfish, whose son attends the yeshivah, hosted the evening reception. Dr. Walfish spoke about the importance of students having a solid platform as they attend secular college and pursue a career. Yeshiva Toras Halachah, based in Kew Gardens Hills at Congregation Bais Dovid, provides a place for post-high-school students to develop their Gemara skills and understanding of practical halachah. The yeshivah is known for its specialized curriculum that cultivates the skills necessary for independent Torah learning and the accumulation of practical knowledge.
Rabbi Benari also has an established career as a pharmacist, and his experience in these dual roles inspired him to make sure the talmidim begin their careers in an environment where exposure to the secular world is viewed through a Torah prism. The rebbeim of Yeshiva Toras Halachah help talmidim create a balanced schedule to excel in both their learning sedarim and their college studies. Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff, magid shiur at YTH, is also the rav of the Agudath Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, and he delivers classes at the Young Israel of Woodmere. Also, a magid shiur is Rabbi Simcha Hopkovitz, the rav of the Young Israel of Hewlett.
“Coming into the college situation was overwhelming. The yeshivah gave over Torah so effectively and helped us develop our personal hashkafos. I was privileged to have made amazing friendships with the other talmidim and the rebbeim. I learned a lot about what it means to have a mentor in my life,” said Yishai Kaplan, a talmid of the yeshivah. He echoed the Chazon Ish’s approach that whenever a new yeshivah opened up in his community, he showed support for the importance of Torah learning and encouraged everyone to support the relatively new yeshivah.
Rabbi Benari shared that Korach separated himself from the group. Had he stayed with the people, he would have been influenced by them and would not have contested Moshe Rabbeinu’s status. One’s environment is so important. Whom you surround yourself with is so important for everyone and especially for post-high school students. Many vital choices present themselves at this time like what your schedule will be like and who you will marry. The past four years, Yeshiva Toras Halacha has built a solid s’vivah for Torah-driven bachurim to answer these and many other life questions.
At the event, Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff shared unique aspects of Yeshivas Toras Halachah. They learn the sugya with a halachic spin. After learning the Gemara with the necessary m’farshim, students are encouraged to ask crucial halachic sh’eilos: How do the poskim rule on the sugya being learned? Rabbi Sokoloff shared some of the topics learned this past year, including times for K’rias Sh’ma, and halachos for eating and drinking before t’filah. Students receive a list of mar’ei m’komos and receive guidance towards the end goal of each sugya. During “musar seder,” the students learn Chumash, Navi, and M’silas Y’sharim, in order to continue a well-rounded approach to learning.
The community is so grateful for this wonderful yeshivah in our midst. Hashem should bless this yeshivah and our community.
To experience a shiur in person and to learn more, contact Rabbi Yechiel Benari at 917-600-2486 or visit www.YeshivaTorasHalacha.org.
By Susie Garber