Thursday, Jul 18, 2024

Standing Among the Cedars: Adirei HaTorah


Eini dar ella bimkom Torah.

I only want to live in a place of Torah.

And for one unforgettable night, I did.

I felt like I was standing at the foot of Har Sinai.

Maybe there is more to the magic of the Adirei HaTorah event than I thought.

Adirei celebrates the warriors, the champions of Torah — the kollel yungerleit, their heroic wives, and their beautiful families.

The Adirei HaTorah.

The Arzei HaLevanon, the Cedars of Lebanon.

They live without the luxuries of this world and bypass the menuchas hanefesh of having a few extra dollars in the bank.

For they live with the menuchas hanefesh and joy that only Torah can bring. The sweetness that brims from a Rashba, a Ketzos, a Rav Chaim.

When walking among the giant cedars, it’s impossible not to be awed by their majesty. The crown jewels of the crowded forest, the cedars tower above the rest of the trees.

In a world that is, boruch Hashem, pulsating with all types of wonderful learning programs, it is important to step back and take stock of what mesirus nefesh for Torah means. Of what it means to toil in Torah, to learn ten or twelve hours a day, while juggling the responsibility of a growing family.

Of how filled with joy they are!

Of how far removed we are from it, and how much more we can and should be doing. Yes, of course, we must pat ourselves on the back and feel proud of what we do, and of every moment or forty-five minutes that we learn.

But “solu solu panu derech.”

Clear the way, pave the path for true Torah royalty.

So as we stand in awe and admiration of the Adirei HaTorah, we may also discover a new meaning hidden in that awesome expression.

Ani dar.

Adirei may be also seen as an expression of those who wish to live among the Arzei HaLevanon.

Dovid Hamelech famously requested, “Achas sha’alti…osah avakeish.”

One thing I want. That I seek.

The repetition leads us to find deeper meaning.

One thing I want.

To want.

And for one magical and memorable evening, I stood at the foot of Har Sinai among the cedars of the world. I cried tears of joy along with the rest of those who stood in awe and admiration, miniatures among the cedars.


Ani dar.

I live.

I live among the Cedars of Lebanon.

The Adirei HaTorah event was comprised of gedolei olam, both from here and abroad, 7,000 yungerleit, hundreds of rabbonim and roshei yeshiva. And then there were those like me, who, for a moment, caught a glimpse of what the unbridled joy of Torah is all about.

I went last year and feared that I would not feel the same amount of inspiration this time around. I was wrong. For there were moments I would never forget.

Rav Dov Landau, the Slabodka rosh yeshiva, traveling across the globe just to give kvod haTorah.

The love and appreciation for Rav Malkiel and the goosebump-inducing dancing that accompanied his introduction.

(Is it me or did the dancing of warriors appear to be cedars swaying?)

And of course, there were the other hallmark moments indelibly etched in my neshomah.

Rav Meir Tzvi Bergman, losing a child and getting up in middle of shiva to be mechazek the olam haTorah. The gadlus of speaking in English so he could properly articulate the pain he feels for the struggling older singles, and the powerful suggestion he made to recite Bircas  Hamazon from a bentcher.

Rav Yisroel Neuman, one of the masmidei hador, and his spontaneous cry upon being mesayem Bavli and Yerushalmi.

The impassioned plea of Rav Dovid Schustal prior to the Kaddish de’Rabbanan and the pride that we continue to carry on the mesorah, while yearning for techiyas hameisim.

Rav Elya Chaim’s brilliant oratory followed by Rav Yeruchom Olshin’s awe-inspiring Kabolas Ol Malchus Shomayim, capped off the majestic evening.

And of course, the otherworldly dancing of a Simchas Torah on the heels of Shavuos. The swaying of the 7,000 Cedars of Lebanon.

Throughout the evening, I bumped into many others like me. Some were those who are privileged to be supporting the yungerleit. They are part of the transformative movement.

Ashrei chelkam.

We live at a blessed time of our history. Hashem has showered upon us unprecedented shefa of wealth. And it’s being used in a myriad of wonderful ways.

But there’s an altogether different shefa, something far more special, priceless actually, and the heilege yungerleit are cherishing it every moment of their lives.

The unparalleled and unbridled joy of Torah learning. Yomam vo’laylah.

If only we could do that…

Only we can’t.

For we are not the warriors. We are not the cedars.

But for one magical evening, I stood among them.

At the foot of Har Sinai.




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