April 29th marked the first annual day of learning in merit of the singles in our community at the Yad Yosef Torah Center.
The flyer invitation read, “Your Torah learning will be a zechut of the singles of our community to find their zivugim, B’H.”. But don’t be mistaken. It was much more than just a day of learning. It was also an event that brought awareness of the struggles of our community’s singles and their special sensitivities revolving around being single, often difficult for others to really understand.
“After a conversation with my friend about a powerful speech she heard by a guest speaker at the Shas-a-thon, (a fundraising program that raises awareness and helps support childless couples), we began to think: there is so much awareness and education for the couples without children, but what about those singles who are aren’t married altogether?” said Mrs. Zayat, who, together with her husband Yossef, coordinated the event.
Mrs. Zayat contacted Rabbi David Ozeri with her idea. Rabbi Ozeri, who is quite familiar with the shidduchim situation in the community, immediately saw the importance of such an event, and readily agreed that Yad Yosef Torah Center would host the event. Masechet Kiddushin was to be divided between the male participants. In less than a week all of the dapim of Masechet Kiddushin were taken and Masechet Gittinwas then added.
The program began with the men learning the dapim of Gemara they committed tofollowed by ma’ariv. The women’s program included the recitation of Tehillim threetimes, followed by a mesmerizing speech from Rabbi David Maslaton.
Rabbi Maslaton quotedthe famous Gemara in Masechet Sotah 2a, “To match couples together is as difficult as the splitting of the sea.” He explained why the Gemara compared a person’s zivug to the splitting of the sea. He said that just like by the sea it would take longer for the outer tribes to get across, even so, they still made it through. So too by zivugim, it may take longer and require more effort for some people to find their zivug than others, but everyone has theirmate awaiting them. As the midrash says: forty days before a soul comes down to this world its soulmate is announced. “Everyone has a zivug.”
The siyum began with a strolling reception dinner catered by Charles Zami, who did an amazing job. Speeches then followed, from Rabbi David Ozeri, Rabbi Meyer Yedid, Rabbi Nathan Escava, Mr. Mal Cohen, and Mr. Yossef Zayat.
After a warm introduction from Mr. Yossef Zayat, the evening speakers addressed the crowd. The speeches left the attendees inspired and motivated. Some topics also included the importance of supporting our singles as a community. The uniting together and praying for a zivug is aresponsibility shared by everyone.
Rabbi David Ozeri addressed the topic of making a shidduch and supporting a bride. The question one is asked after his passing, “Did you engage in having children?” does not only refer to one’s actual children, but can also mean: did he help and support others in getting married? It is very important for one to be involved in making a shidduch and to support brides. “You don’t need to be a shadchan,” Rabbi Ozeri told the crowd.
Rabbi Meyer Yedid spoke about unity. He also quoted Gemara Sota 2a: “To match couples together is as difficult as the splitting of the sea.”Rabbi Yedid explained why the Gemara compared making a zivug to the splitting of the sea. Some explain that the sea only split when Yosef’s bones were present and all the tribes were united, teaching us that unity is what brought about the splitting of the sea. So too in making a zivug; when people unite for its cause, it will bring about many more zivugim.
Rabbi Nathan Escava spoke about prayer. Every single person in this world has a zivugawaiting him, and praying is sometimes what is needed to make the connection happen. Rabbi Escava asked the married people in the crowd to recall how they prayed with extreme clarity and devotion when they were single.He explained,“If you take those feelings and pray every single day for two singles you know until they get married,imagine the effect it will have!”
At the end of the evening “I can’t wait for next year!” was expressed by all those attending. “Next year, B”H, we will complete six masechtot!” exclaimed Rabbi Ozeri.