The Morning Kollel of the Young Israel of Midwood Celebrates a Siyum on Sifrei Yirmiyah and Yechezkel and Conducts a Seudas Preidah in Honor of R’ Nechemia Crystal
On Erev Shabbos, Parshas Vayakel-Pekudei, Shushan Purim 5778, Friday, March 9, 2018, as New York City was battered with a nor’easter, the Morning Kollel of the Young Israel of Midwood celebrated a magnificent siyum of the study of sifrei Yirmiyah and Yechezkel. The event marked the culmination of two years of learning. The siyum also served as a seudas preida for R’ Nechemia Crystal, a devoted member of the Kollel, who is moving to Bergenfield, New Jersey. Rabbi and Mrs. Nechemia Crystal are active members of the Young Israel of Midwood and have been part of the Flatbush community for over forty years.
R’ Michoel Miller, a founder and devoted member of the Kollel, opened the program by recounting the accomplishments of the Kollel, noting that this latest siyum was the fifth major siyum that the Kollel has celebrated in the six years since its establishment. He expressed the desire and will of the chabura that Hashem give them the ability to continue to learn together and achieve greater heights in Torah v’avodah.
Rabbi Eli Baruch Shulman, the Mara D’asra of the Young Israel of Midwood, quoted the dictum of chazal that when one takes leave of his friend, the parting should be accompanied by a matter of halacha. He explained that the only way to truly create a bond of friendship is through the study of Torah. This dictum, according to Rabbi Shulman, can thus be understood to mean that when we take leave of a friend, we should cement our relationship with him through the study of Torah. Rabbi Shulman noted that this idea is particularly relevant to R’ Nechemia, who formed a special bond with the members of the Kollel through the study of Torah for so many years.
Rabbi Shmuel Mayefsky, the Mara D’asra of Congregation B’nai Israel of Midwood, and a maggid shiur and participant in the Kollel, thanked the wives of the Kollel members who encouraged and enabled their husbands to spend a significant amount of time in the Kollel to study Torah. He then praised the members of the Kollel and the maggidei shiur who through their learning, have become imbued with a desire to learn Torah at every opportunity. As a testament to that accomplishment, he relayed that he had personally witnessed a palpable sense of disappointment on the rare occasions when sessions of the Kollel were canceled as a result of unforeseen circumstances. Rabbi Mayefsky also mentioned that many members of the Kollel who are retired take great pride in telling their friends and family that they are now learning in Kollel.
Rabbi Levine, a maggid shiur in the Kollel, mentioned that Yirmiyah and Yechezkel were contemporaries and lived during the most tumultuous and painful time in Jewish history, the churban Beis Hamikdash. Yirmiyah witnessed the churban from within Yerushalayim, while Yechezkel experienced the effects of the churban from without, in Bavel, together with a group of people who had been exiled eleven years earlier.
Rabbi Levine noted that the celebration of the siyum was taking place against the backdrop of Shushan Purim. When chazal established that the residents of Shushan Habirah celebrate Purim on the fifteenth day of Adar, they also instituted that every city that had a wall from the time of Yehoshua bin Nun also celebrate on that day. This halacha was enacted for the honor of Yerushalayim, so that Yerushalayim should not be treated any less than Shushan Habirah. Indeed, today the celebration of Shushan Purim takes place primarily in Yerushalayim. The celebration of Shushan Purim is in essence a holiday that was crafted by chazal to give honor to the city of Yerushalayim.
It is very fitting that the celebration of the completion of the study of the prophecies of Yermiyah and Yechezkel, which describe the events, causes and lessons of the churban Beis Hamikdash, and express the immense pain and suffering of Yerushalayim and its inhabitants, take place on a day that was established to give honor and joy to the citizens of Yerushalayim. There could be no better tribute to such an accomplishment. In that connection, Rabbi Levine noted that the although the siyum was not originally planned for Shushan Purim, it ultimately was held on that day, which could be seen as a clear act of Divine Providence.
Rabbi Levine noted that his relationship with R Nechemia dates back to the time of Rabbi Levine’s maternal grandfather, HaRav Shmuel Dovid Warshavchik zt”l. R’ Nechemia was a talmid of Rabbi Warshavchik in the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where he received Semicha. R’ Nechemia was also a chavrusa and friend of Rabbi Dr. Moshe Krasner z”l, a close member of Rabbi Levine’s family.
R’ Dovid Grosser, a dear friend and neighbor of R’ Nechemia, focused on the theme of mishloach manos. This mitzvah was established by chazal to create achdus and camaraderie. This concept is certainly true of the chabura of which R’ Nechemia is a part, as well as in R’ Grosser’s own personal relationship with him. R’ Grosser then presented R’ Nechemia with a mezuzah in honor of his move to Bergenfield.
The siyum continued with the presentation of the new beautiful Czuker Edition Hebrew Chamisha Chumshei Torah Mikraos Gedolos inscribed with words of bracha and sentiments of appreciation for the advancements in Torah learning and fellowship that have been achieved and nurtured during the time spent together at the Kollel.
The siyum concluded with a gracious response by R’ Nechemia to the Rabbanim, members of the Kollel, friends, and members of the community.
The Morning Kollel meets Monday through Friday in the Beis Midrash of the Young Israel of Midwood on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Avenue L from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The program includes shiurim on nach, parsha, halacha and inyanei diyoma. Admission is free, and men of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to attend.