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OHR HALACHA: TRAINING THE RABBIS OF TOMORROW

By: Pnina Souid



A few months ago, a special “Evening of Recognition of Torah Study” was held in Deal, NJ by Kollel Ohr Halacha, saluting seven students who recently completed their course of study for semichah(ordination), and honoring the distinguished rabbis and generous benefactors who have worked to create such a successful Torah institution.

Kollel Ohr Halacha was founded by Rabbi Hayim Arking with the support and guidance of several prominent community rabbis, including Rabbi Eliezer Harari, Rabbi David Ozeri, and RabbiYosef Galmidi, with the goal of producing competent poskim(halachic decisors). The intensive program combines the rigorous study of halachic texts with exposure to experienced rabbis so that the students emerge with a thorough knowledge of source material and – no less importantly – with the skills for applying this material to real-life situations.

Ohr Halacha also runs numerous community-based programs (see sidebar), and has launched a Sofer Center in Deal to train young men to become sofrim(“scribes” who prepare Torah scrolls, tefillin, and mezuzot).

Gaining Inspiration From Hacham Ovadia, zt”l

The Evening of Recognition was graced by the presence of several distinguished figures, including Rabbi Rahamim Aboud, who presented each young rabbi with a set of sefarimsigned by Hacham Eliezer Harari. Otherprominent guests in attendance were Rabbi Saul Kassin, Rabbi Meyer Yedid, and Rav Shmuel Pinhasi, who delivered a special address to those who
had assembled.

Rav Pinhasi emphasized the unique greatness of those who dedicate themselves to the in-depth, detailed study of halachah so they can provide halachic guidance. He noted the inspiring example of Hacham Ovadia Yosef, zt”l, who invested tireless efforts to not just master the entire corpus of Torah, but to determine the practical halachah. An earlier example is Maran, Rav Yosef Karo, zt”l, author of the Shulhan Aruch. Living in Tzefat, the city of great Kabbalists, Maran wanted to devote his time to the study of Kabbalah, but he was told that his contribution to the Jewish people would be through his elucidation of the practical halachah. He devoted himself to the study of practical halachah, producing the Shulhan Aruch– the halachic code which has guided the Jewish people for centuries.

Rav Pinhasi noted that very often, halachah does not give “one-size-fits-all” answers to questions, and poskim must be trained to be able to determine the correct answer for each individual in each particular circumstance. He gave the young scholars his heartfelt blessing for success in their sacred endeavors.

Awards were presented by Mr. Harry Adjmi, a founding benefactor of Ohr Halacha. He described how touched and inspired he is by the remarkable selflessness of the rabbis of the community, and reflected, “We are one Syrian Community being led by our rabbis.”

A New Home of Torah

Ohr Halacha is proud to announce its new home within Midrash Ohel Abraham, in West Long Branch, NJ. The new location will facilitate greater integration and involvement in the Deal community, thus enabling the kollel to have a far greater impact.

The kollel has opened enrollment for a second semichahstudy cycle beginning after Sukkot. The group will be led by Rabbi Binyamin S. Seruya, rabbi of Torah V’haim in Lakewood, who has previously led a successful learning program in Jerusalem under the auspices of the renowned Rabbi Yaakov Hillel.

For more information about Kollel Ohr Halacha, please contact Rabbi Hayim Arking at 732-331-7002.