Visiting Eretz Bereishit
A Fourth Grader, Yeshivat Yavneh Hebrew Academy, Los Angeles, California
Recently, students at Yavneh participated in an innovative program. Yavneh’s headmaster, Rabbi Dear, summarizes the program as follows: “Our students were transported to biblical times, coming face-to-face with Avraham, Sarah, Yitzchak and the other patriarchs and matriarchs of the Torah! This wasn’t just ‘hands on’—it was ‘all in,’ a unique and complete multi-dimensional experience.” Below is a fourth-grader’s perspective of the program.
Last week, my mom showed me a surprising email she’d received from Avraham Avinu himself. Our forefather, Avraham, invited me and my friends at Yeshivat Yavneh for a playdate to his and Sarah’s tent, located in Elonai Mamrei!
Excitement overwhelmed all of us, and we were barely able to concentrate during math class.
Rabbi Einhorn, Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh and author of Judaism Alive, prepped us for the program saying, “We live in a generation where Judaism needs to be experienced, the Torah needs to come alive, and children need to see and experience how relevant Torah is in their lives. “Bereishit Land” is about driving home the message of what Torah has to offer you.”
I was now ready for the journey. I was ready for Judaism to come alive.
Soon enough, our turn came to head out to the yard, where Eliezer, Avraham’s servant, was waiting to greet us. It was an incredible feeling, taking a step into Eretz Bereishit and seeing exactly what we were learning in class come to life right before our eyes. The next 30 minutes had our imaginations soaring while we experienced lessons we will never forget. As Eliezer told us, as we were getting our travelers apparel on, “What you are about to see is the story of the Jewish people. What our forefathers did in their lifetimes is a sign for us.”
In fact, it was more than a sign; they showed us how to live our lives. We were present to witness Avraham greeting the three angels on their camels and participated in breaking bread in his famous tent, taking part of his family’s tremendous hachnossat orchim. We watched as Avraham helped his guests thank Hashem with love and how Sarah laughed when she heard the prophecy of her impossible pregnancy. I learned from Avraham and Sarah that we too can fill the world with kindness and love.
Then, we observed Yitzchak’s incredible commitment to Hashem, constantly working on his yirat shamayim—fear of heaven. We saw how Rivkah rose up from a negative place with sincerity and gave birth to twins, two powerful nations to come. From Yitzchak and Rivkah, I learned that I must recommit myself to Hashem and be the best Jew possible.
Finally, we met Yaakov and this two wives, Rachel and Leah, who told over their prophecy of Hashem’s promise of the land of Israel. Yaakov and his wives personified truth, withstanding all of their struggles and tribulations and never loosing focus of their parents’ and grandparents’ attributes. I learned that I too can show the world the truth and rise above Esav’s hate.
The memorable and moving program concluded with the sounds of the harp, played by Serach, the daughter of Asher, who told over to Yaakov the news that Yosef was still alive.
Today, I feel empowered to continue walking in the footsteps of my bubbies, zaydies, and ancestors who preceded us and to try to emulate them as an upright, kind, and committed Torah Jew.