Q and A Interview with Shlomo Gottesman, Chairman of the Torah projects Commission of AIA and the Upcoming Yarchei Kallah

Intro: Agudas Yisroel will be hosting a Yarchei Kallah prior to the Siyum Hashas.

The following interview with R Shlomo Gottesman, describes the program, its goals and structure.

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We have long enjoyed reporting on the Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah.The sights in photos and live feed, and the reporting we have done, have helped bring the beautiful experience alive and underscored the beautiful Kovod Hatorah.

Q: What is your plan for your American program?

A: The genesis of the program arose from all the charges we have been receiving in conjunction with the Siyum Hashas. The quantity and quality of learning among Balley -Battim has increased exponentially in the last decade and we would like to help spur this.

Q: Are there not many such exisiting programs?

A: Absolutely! Literally scores ranging from Daf Hashavouah, BMGs Shivti program and many others. We are not reinventing the wheel ,we are just trying to create high quality hours of learning in the mechitzah of Senior Rabbonim and Poskim

Q: So tell us about the Pre-Siyum Yarchei Kallah-what is the sugya and who are you trying to attract.?

A: The sugya was structured with our potential lomdim in mind.As you know ,bh a large entrepreneurial class of serious Bnei -torah has emerged who are sophisticated in both business and Haalcha.Many spent many years learning seriously in Kollel and are immersed in learning while managing big operations.A large percentage spend hours learning before heading to the office.

Q: Wow! Where are they from?

A: All over ranging from Lakewood to Toronto to Monsey and all points of the compass!

Q: What specifically are you learning?

A: The sugya is entitled Amira L’akum -Managing business on Shabbos according to halacha.

Q: Sounds pretty complex.

A: Let me explain briefly. There are two parts to the program. On Monday we will be learning what we call classical Amira lakum-which is a fascinating and challenging sugya with obvious limayseh issues.What do you do if your oven or air-conditioner  goes down on Shabbos? What if you are hosting a Simcha and a mechanical misfortune happens? What about medical problems ranging from simple to highly complex? The list is long and many interesting issues will arise, every week.

Q: How do you expect to teach this in one day?

A: Good question. We have worked hard on structuring the materiax. However, most importantly we have been fortunate to secure the Torah services of Master expositors-literally some of the most riveting Magidei Shiur in the world.

Q: For example?

A: Rav Asher Weiss ,the author of Minchas Asher, one of the most senior and authoritative decisors in the world today, who is  renowned for his ability to package complex subjects in a concise ,crystal clear and fascinating manner.He will be addressing us several times over the three days.

Q: Anyone else we know?

A: A bit younger but with a style all his own is Rav Nissan Kaplan. He is attending despite the fact it is personally challenging. He said to me” “For this oilam, I will do all I can to be marbitz Torah. We are sure his Talmidim will respond. He too will address real-world situations, grounding them in the sources.

Q: What is the plan and objective of the second part?

A: This is even more challenging. Monday evening we will open with a Shiur and Symposium dealing with real life case studies in the challenges of running business that need to be open 24/7

Q: What are some examples?

A: There are many. In my own experience I was once a principal in a NASD securities firm. which by law was required to be open every day the markets were, which included Friday after the shkia in the winter, and Yom-Tov. This required a solution.

Q: What did you do?

A: You will have to sign up for that story. But the main focus will be on frum Health -Care (nursing home and assisted living and senior and rehab facilities) that need to operate around the clock. There are, as we all know hundreds, if not thousands of such frum business operators.

Q: What do you plan for them?

A: rigorous study of the sugya and case studies presented by Dayanim in the field. Some of our faculty include Dayan Menachem Gelley, Rav Dov Kahan, Rav Daniel Neustadt, Rav Chaim Mayer Roth ,Rav Michoel Frank and Rav Yosef Kushner. All of these seasoned Poskim have years of experience in answering questions and structuring Halachic conformance. They are also superior presenters.

Q: Is this actually a sub-field in halacha?

A: Very much so. Many of the aforementioned Rabbonim are authoring a manual designed specifically for the Health-care industry, a portion of which will be launched at the Yarchei Kallah.

Q: Are there any other industry groups you are targeting.

A: The real -estate industry has many of the same issues and in a way the challenge is more complex becuase the awareness level is not as high. We hope to address this issue.

Q: Sounds fascinating. What are some of the details?

A: The dates are Dec 30-Jan 1 (the morning of the Siyum) and registration and a full program is available on the Siyum.org web-site. Hope to see you and your readers-if even for a portion!

Q: One last question: Why was NJ Zoiche to have all this Torah learned in its boundaries?

A: I heard this from my Rebbe Rav Shneur Kotler ztl: The Medrash Eichah says that when the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed, the holy stones flew through the air. Wherever they landed, a place of Torah and tefiloh was created, all through the ages. The size and importance of the location was determined by the size of the stone! In Sura, Worms and Volozhin, large stones fell. It seems, for reasons known only to the Ribono Shel Olam a very large stone fell in Ocean County, NJ and smaller ones all through the Garden State. who can devine the ways of Hashem!?

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