Wednesday, August 23, 2006

O Tempora! O Mores! O Volozhin!

The Volozhiner Yeshiva Building Today

A well known story has it that after Yom Kippur, when everyone would leave to break their fast, the Netziv זצ"ל, would stay behind in the Bet Midrash and learn, despite his advanced age. He did that so that the 'Voice of Torah' should not cease from being heard in the Bes Medrash for even a moment. It was only after the first talmidim started to drift back that the Netziv left to break his fast.

I recalled that story this evening. I decided to go and learn in the Bet Midrash of a yeshiva in the area. It's the first night of Rosh Hodesh Elul. I thought a yeshivishe davenen would be in order and the Gemora I am learning really required concentration. In other words, I needed to sit in a real Bes Medrash for a few hours. So I drove over, parked the car and walked up to the doors. They were locked, as were the side doors. I was really surprised. Yeshivot in terrible sections of New York are never closed.

I asked someone, 'Since when is the Bet Midrash locked at 8 PM?" He answered, 'It's still בין הזמנים. So the Bet Midrash is closed at 3PM. Tomorrow, it's already not בין הזמנים , so it should be open longer then.'

I walked back to the car, a bit saddened. True, I don't often frequent this particular Bet Midrash. However, there is always something comforting that קולה של תורה can be heard 24/7/365. There really should be no בין הזמנים as far as this is concerned.

Lesson for Elul: Visit the local Bate Midrash more often.


Tzemach Atlas said...

My great grandfather studied there. Look how stature of this building is dwarfed by the spiritual significance.

Anonymous said...

I have a strong suspicion that this is the first time that phrase and Volozhin were neighbors.