Students continued learning intensely this week, and it was a week packed with learning in the evenings as well. Tuesday and Thursday night saw the continuation of our successful Kollel program, which is now also drawing participation by various members of the community. On Monday night, we had the privilege and honor of hosting a lecture by Rabbi Dr. Yaakov Elman on "Culpability and Negligence in Rabbinic and Sasanian Law". The lecture was given as a memorial lecture commemorating the 10th yahrtzeit of Yitzchak (Irwin) Haut, z"l, and sponsored by his wife, Rivka, and children Sheryl and Tamara. There was a wonderful turn out from the larger community who participated in the lecture together with the YCT students. The lecture is available on audio and video on a special page on our website, and the source materials will be posted soon.
On Thursday we had two guests at the yeshiva. Rabbi Simcha Krauss, a rav in Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi in Jerusalem, and previous rabbi of Young Israel of Hillcrest and past president of the WZO, spoke to students after mincha about the importance of both serving Klal Yisrael and nurturing one's relationship with God. He also spoke about the need to take stands on important issues, but also not to become a one-issue rabbi. It was a wonderful opportunity for students to hear Torah, inspiration, and wisdom from a rav who has done so much for Klal Yisrael.
Also Thursday afternoon students heard from Steven Roth of Ptil Techelet on some of the history of techelet, its modern-day identification, and some of the halakhic issues involved. This shiur will be posted to the internet in the next few days.
We would also like to thank an anonymous donor who donated a fleishig lunch to the students. The lunch took place on Tuesday, which turned out to be a perfect Fall day, and students - together with staff from the yeshiva and the shul - enjoyed a beautiful lunch out on the building's balcony. As Tuesday was also election day, and the HIR's lobby was being used as an voting site, we also invited the staff monitoring the voting booths to join us, and we all shared a lovely lunch together.
Our community suffered two losses this week. Last Thursday night, Rose Ruth Livson bat Avraham and Sarah Drisin, dear grandmother of Simon Livson (YCT 2012) passed away. The funeral and shiva were held in her Finland. And just this Tuesday, the grandfather of Ari Hart (YCT 2011), Sidney Black, Shlomo Nisan ben Tsivya, passed away after a long illness. We wish the families a nechama for their loss. HaMakom yinachem etchem bi'tokh sha'arei Tzion vi'Yerushalayim.
Finally, we have the pleasure this week of a guest parsha piece by a dear friend and colleague of mine, Rabbi Herzl Hefter. Rabbi Herzl Hefter is the Rosh Yeshiva of the newly founded Har'El Yeshiva (www.har-el.org), for men between the ages of 21 and 30 located in the Old City of Jerusalem, affiliated with Isralight. Har'El combines traditional learning with religious seeking and will bring Hasidut, creative writing, Moreh Nevukhim, and great books into the Beit Midrash and into its pursuit of Torah and Godliness .
Apropos of the parsha, I would encourage you to look at the Shma Journal from this last Rosh HaShana, which focuses on the akeida. In particular, there is a write-up of an exchange which I participated in, on the topics of ethics and halakha seen through the lens of the akeida, which I trust you will find it interesting.