In an extraordinary event organized by Ichud Mosdos Gur, about 200 people were tested on entire masechtos or perakim of Gemara by heart. This is hardly earth shattering, considering that these tests are regularly administered. What was unique was the fact that those taking them are men who work the entire day and utilize their morning and evening hours to study. Yet, the knowledge they evinced was flawless.
It is no secret that the Gerrer Rebbe shlita strongly encourages his chassidim to study the entirety of Shas, setting a personal goal for each man in his vast network of mosdos according to their ability. He established the organization “Mezumanim” to push them to attain a clear knowledge of dafim, perakim or masechtos.
After a series of public events in recent years, during which hundreds of exceptional yungeleit and bochurim were tested on all or part of Shas, it is now the turn of the “baalei batim,” as they are called in Gur. For this purpose, a special kollel network called Chedvasa was established. Founded as a private initiative by a group of chassidim, at the order of the Rebbe, Rav Yonasan Bornstein, the menahel of the Ichud, was directed to promote it by merging it with Ichud Mosdos Gur.
Chedvasa unites close to 2,000 Gerrer chassidim who work for most of the day. But for two hours a day, they disconnect from everything around them, turn off their cell phones, and concentrate on one goal: to learn an additional daf of Gemara.
This enterprise has about sixty branches across Eretz Yisroel, the United States and Europe, and is headed by the rebbe’s son, Rav Nechemiah Alter shlita.
Last week, Chedvasa witnessed a major highlight when participants from all over the world converged for a testing marathon, led by the Gerrer Rebbe and in the presence of thousands of chassidim — not including kollel yungeleit and bochurim who were not invited to the event. They answered with a latent clarity to hundreds of questions asked by gedolim such as Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, the rav of Ramat Elchanan; Rav Yaakov Meir Stern, a world renowned posek; and Rav Yosef Zhaler, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Sadiger yeshiva.
Attendees included a fascinating variety of manual workers, programmers, accountants, therapists, and professionals in about 70 other fields. What united them is the two hours of Torah study which for them is the mainstay of the day. It is obvious that these men have attained great levels.
At the event, held under the auspices of, and funded by, the Yerushalayim Municipality, was sponsored in memory of the late Rav Avraham Noach Klein zt”l, a special and unique example of a businessman who attained great Torah knowledge simultaneous to his successful business career. His son, Rav Yaakov Klein from the United States, recited Kaddish after the siyum in his memory, and his son-in-law, Rav Pinchas Traube, one of the most respected marbitzei Torah at the Gerrer kollel in Yerushalayim, spoke about his father-in-law.
Rav Ephraim Green, a grandson of Rav Avraham Noach’s, made a siyum during the program.
At the event’s conclusion, attendees participated in a sumptuous seudas mitzvah, with close to 2,000 men dancing for an hour in joy.
The siyum was enhanced by the singer, Reb Dov Friedman and the Yedidim International Choir, along with other musicians from the Gerrer kehilla.