by Noam Putterman (’18)

We have all heard of the phrase from the Gemara “Talmud Torah keneged kulam,” usually translated as “Learning Torah is equal to all of [the other mitzvos].” But what practical relevance does this teaching have in how we live our lives?

During vacation periods, Rabbi Danto has coordinated special learning incentive programs for students that take on extra learning. This past break, over 75 students participated and combined for over 500 hours of learning!

At the annual Bein Hasedarim Raffle last week, where pizza was served and winners were selected from the raffle tickets acquired by learning Torah outside of Yeshiva, Rabbi Taubes addressed the previous question. He gave a different explanation of Talmud Torah keneged kulam, one with great bearing to each and every one of us. The word keneged, explained Rabbi Taubes, does mean “is equal to,” but it carries the additional meaning of “opposite” or “corresponding to.” Perhaps what the Gemara means to tell us is that keneged kulam, corresponding to every thing we do in life, including the secular and mundane, is Torah. Torah should be the backdrop to all our other activities. What this means is that even though we cannot spend all of our time engaging in Torah study- even the biggest masmid needs to take care of personal needs and obligations- Talmud Torah needs to be our “default activity,” the thing we do whenever we have a spare moment. By spending time learning outside of Yeshiva, continued Rabbi Taubes, the participants of the Bein Hasedarim learning program have given an example of Talmud Torah keneged kulam. Rabbi Taubes concluded with a beracha that we should all be zocheh to make our commitment to Talmud Torah keneged kulam an essential part of our lives.

Then, Rabbi Taubes drew the winning raffle tickets. Eli Fink (’17) won the $100 prize, continuing his winning streak from last year’s raffle! Kovi Pahmer (’20) and Avi Katanov (’20) won the two $150 prizes. Finally, the winner of the grand prize of $1000 was Nate Rappaport (’20). Mazel Tov to all raffle winners and all participants-get ready for next year’s learning program!


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