The events at the beginning of this week at the yeshiva took place in my absence, as I was participating in a retreat for the Avi Chai Fellows at the Pearlstone Retreat Center, in Maryland. The students were well served in my absence, however, as on Monday we were once again privileged to have with us Rabbi David Bigman, Rosh Yeshiva of Ma'ale Gilboa. Rabbi Bigman gave a sicha on the thought of Rav Yitzchak Hutner and then a shiur on the Gemara in Shabbat on Chanukkah, analyzing it through the lens of his historical source-critical methodology. We were also happy to welcome the students of the Maharat Yeshiva, to participate in the sicha and the shiur.
Students continued their regular learning throughout the week. Those students learning Niddah took their Fall final on Monday and on Tuesday began to study harchakot, the separation practices in effect during the Niddah period. In my Modern Orthodoxy class, first year students delivered their semester-end presentations, looking a primary text relevant to a Modern Orthodox theme, and analyzing it through a critical lens. First-year students also spent Tuesday afternoon at the Atria, an assisted living facility, as an in-service clinical day. As the week draws to a close, students can look to an intense week next week devoted to chazara and preparing for their semester-end finals. As Niddah students have already taken their final, they will be beginning the study of, and the apprenticeship in, the inspection of marot - a challenging but critically necessary role for any rabbi who will pasken in Niddah.
On a sadder note, the father-in-law of Allison Batalion, our Academic Coordinator, suffered a massive heart-attack last Friday. He remains in stable but critical condition. Please keep him - Yaakov Mordechai ben Eta - in your tefilot. May the Ribono Shel Olam send him a refuah shleima bi'meheira biyamenu.