On Tuesday night, January 5th, members of the Los Angeles Jewish community filled Kanner Hall at a historic event introducing a new program, Share in Torah, which is intended to support Torah learning in Eretz Yisrael. Two prominent Torah leaders, Rav Berel Povarsky, shlit”a, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, and Rav Asher Weiss, shlit”a, a renowned posek and Rosh Yeshiva of the Darchei Torah Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, addressed the crowd, inspiring the listeners to support Share in Torah.
The idea of Share in Torah is simple. Instead of each Kollel securing its own fundraising, the money will be raised through Share in Torah and then distributed among the kollelim included in the network, proportionate to the number of Torah learners in each kollel. Currently, Share in Torah supports 327 institutions, with about 30, 000 students.
Rabbi Shloime Klein, Rav of Congregation Ohr Hachaim, introduced the program and the guest speakers. He emphasized the significance of even the smallest contribution to Share in Torah. He quoted the Chafetz Chaim, who said that when the community came together to raise money for a loan for a community member in need, each contributor to the loan, even if he was only able to give a small sum, was credited with lending the entire sum needed, since without his contribution the needed amount wouldn’t have been raised. “We all make a difference,” said Rabbi Klein.
Then Rav Povarsky addressed the audience in Hebrew. He continued the theme of the significance of each individual Jew, explaining that if even one Jew was absent at Har Sinai, the Torah would not have been given to the Jewish people. He emphasized that the whole world exists in the merit of the Torah, which contains the hidden light Hashem created on the first day of creation.
Rav Povarsky spoke about the Greeks in the times of Chanuka, who wanted to turn the world into darkness by destroying the Jews’ personal connection to Torah. “There is no greater mitzvah than strengthening the Torah,” he said, pointing out that those who support talmidei chachamim in this world in a Zevulun/Yissachar partnership are considered Bnei Torah in the World to Come. While not everyone will merit to become a talmid chacham, “Everyone can be Zevulun,” Rav Povarsky said.
Rav Weiss spoke in English, telling the audience about his father, Rav Moshe Weiss, z”l, who had passed away just three week earlier. The listeners were spellbound as Rav Weiss related his father’s life story, and particularly, the tale of his meeting and subsequent life-long relationship with the Klausenberger Rebbe, ztz”l. After the Holocaust, Rav Moshe Weiss spent many years rebuilding Jewish institutions. Later in life, he told the Klausenberger Rebbe that he was ready to retire and just sit and learn. “You know nothing about mesiras nefesh!” the Rebbe replied. Giving up physical comforts for the sake of the Jewish people is not mesiras nefesh, but mesiras guf, the Rebbe explained. “Putting aside your gemara – that is mesiras nefesh!” Rav Weiss commented that true giants of mesiras nefesh “understood that the oxygen we breathe and the blood coursing through our veins is Torah.” But we are also responsible for each other, emphasized Rav Weiss.
In the recent wave of terror in Eretz Yisrael, many of the victims were talmidei chachamim, said Rav Weiss. What can we do in response? We can come together in “an endeavor where everyone can be a partner, in a fund that unites the entire Olam Hatorah.” Unlike any other investment, investing in the Torah guarantees a return on one’s money, said Rav Weiss.
For more information, or to contribute to Share in Torah, call 1 844 48 TORAH