Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rav Erez on Parashat Vayigash

Parashat Vayigash marks the beginning of the Galut, the exile, Ya'akov and all of his family descend to Egypt.
The Egyptian exile is the prototype of all exiles, therefore, understanding and analyzing it, will teach us about the exile we are in nowadays, on the eve of the final redemption.

One of the things which sticks out is that the Egyptian exile began with dreams, the dreams of Yosef, Pharaoh's ministers dreams, and those of Pharaoh himself. Also concerning the final exile it is written"בשוב ה' את שיבת ציון - היינו כחולמים"  when Hashem returns the returnees of Zion, we were like dreamers.

What is the common denominator between exiles and dreams?

The answer is, that in both the impossible and the unrealistic IS possible and realistic. In a dream one can see anything, even as the Gemara says, an elephant passing through the eye of a needle, so too is the Galut, the exile. Even though it is impossible for Am Yisrael not to be in their land, in the exile it does happen.

Also Man, ever since he was banished from Gan-Eden is in a constant state of spiritual exile, he is distant from his creator. Often it feels as if we are close to him, but it is an illusion of the moment. There is no true opportunity to cling to the creator as long as we are in a state of Galut.

However, just like in a dream, in one moment a person awakens and the dream fizzles away, so too, we are waiting for the day of which it's written  "היינו כחולמים" we were like dreamers, and immediately the Galut will fizzle away and the gates of redemption will in our days, speedily open, Amen!  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chodesh Tov! Kislev 5772

Chodesh Tov!!!
Here's some of the recent Mechina news which should hopefully add to what your son has
been sharing with you from the past few weeks.

Bet Midrash!
Learning has been going strong b"h, as the guys have found their spots in the different
morning tracks, choosing between in-depth Jewish theology, and in-depth Gemara.
A few days ago we had a siyum on the books of Yehoshua and Shoftim which we have
completed by learning a chapter or two every day. We had a quiz at the Siyum and bli
ayin hara, many of the students showed a basic fluency in the various figures, stories and
events, described in the two Sefarim.
In addition to all the shiurim we've been having, we also had a special class dedicated
to the subject of celebrating thanksgiving from a Halachic standpoint. We saw
some interesting and perhaps less known facts about the "birth" and background of
Thanksgiving and the different Halachic approaches as to celebrating it or not.
Additionally, we have recently begun optional studying at 5:30 in the morning (!) for
students who wish to start the day nice and early, learning "secrets of the Torah" with Rav
Erez. So far a nice number of guys have been attending.

A little over a week ago the Mechina traveled to Yerushalayim for an intensive four days
of educational touring.
*On the first day we focused on the First Beit Hamikdash period.
We toured the City Of David (make sure to go there when you visit, it is truly amazing,
as every few weeks they discover new artifacts and archeological finds!) including the
underground water tunnel which the guys eagerly and joyously hiked through in the dark
and almost waist high water.
We had a tour of the Old City with a strong emphasis on the Jewish homes, Synagogues
and Yeshivot, in what is called the Muslim quarter. We also had the opportunity to have
a truly breathtaking view of Har-HaBayit (temple mount) from very high up, where we
could actually feel that we were almost standing on the mount itself.
We davened all the teffilot at the Kotel which were often accompanied by singing and
dancing, a short shiur or two, and sometimes a brief lecture from people who spend much
of their time there.
*On the second day we focused on the Second Beit Hamikdash period as well as the
beginning of the galut.
After Shacharit, a Shiur, and some breakfast we started the day with a visit to the Ariel
institute where we enjoyed a light and sound show describing the second temple period
and its destruction.
We heard a captivating story about the importance of Yerushalayim as portrayed by a
(fictional) worldwide conflict with Tokyo, N.Y, and Yerushalyim.
We visited the Machon HaMikdash-the Temple Institute where the students partook in
a fascinating tour of new and old Temple Vessels, and got to see and touch clothing and
vessels that were built and are waiting for the third Beit Hamikdash.
After that we had the privilege to hear a talk from Rav Nachman Kahana, a profound
Talmid Chacham who is currently finishing his explanations and commentary on the
Tosafots Gemara commentary, called Mei-Menuchot. He is also the rabbi of the Young
Israel Beit Knesset of the Muslim quarter, and had many fascinating stories to share in
conjunction with his Torah insights on the book of Bereishit, and its relevance to us today.

Later that day we had a meeting with Rav Mordechai Sheinberger, a very unique scholar
and Kabbalist who shared his thoughts about our goal and purpose in this world.
We also had a tour of the Kotel Tunnels, and Davened Tikkun Chatzot in the bet Knesset
of the kabbalist Rav Yehudah Getz tz"l, the former Rabbi of the Kotel.
Also during that day, we toured the "Burnt House," and held a discussion regarding the
different factions and divisions amongst Am Yisrael at the end of the second temple

*On the Third day we focused on the Galut.
We had a captivating tour of Yad Vashem led by the grandmother of one of our
students, Ari Shachar. She has a vast knowledge of the holocaust period and shared that
information in a very interesting and attention-grabbing way.
This was followed by a tour of Mt. Hertzel where we visited the graves of some of
the "founding fathers" (and mothers) such as Hertzel, Jabotinsky, Channa Senesh, and
various prime ministers.

*The fourth day was dedicated to the present, the rebirth of am Yisrael.
After discussing our feelings and thoughts about the previous three days, we had a tour of
the Knesset, watched a session taking place, and had a personal talk from a young Knesset
Member Uri Orbach, a member of "HaBayit HaYehudi" party, who also answered
questions any of the students had.
Later that evening we headed back home to Avnei Eitan.
All in all it was very informative and fun, and from the feedback we received from the
students they all enjoyed.

The grape harvesting is over and the olive season has begun!
This past week we took about 4 hours to help a local olive grower in Avnei Eitan, an
adoptive father of one of our students, harvest his trees.
This helped clarify for many students the importance of farming in Israel and gave them a
chance to appreciate how hard of a job it is, and how much works goes in to it.

A few weeks ago we started having our academic courses about Middle East Politics
through Bar-Ilan University.
The professor’s name is Dr. Gidi Netzer. He's an IDF Colonel and an international expert
in counter-terrorism and conflict crisis management and is a member of the International
Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
The students enjoy his lectures and each student received homework and projects to do
concerning the Middle East.

Among other interesting meetings we have had were, a lecture by an English speaking
Psychologist from the Golan, as well as the beginning of a series of classes where the
students learn how to navigate and find their way in the wilderness based upon stars,
maps, topography, the scenery, and more.

That's basically it, the students are on a laid back easy Tiyul right now here in the Golan,
hiking the beautiful green trials of the southern Golan, and I promise Bli Neder to send
you some pictures soon. Once again if you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to
share, please do so.

Kol Tuv!
R' Asher

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rav Erez on Parshat Vayera

Parashat Vayera introduces us to the differences between Avraham and Sodom.
The differences that eventually the Chachamim of the Mishna, in Pirkei Avot, would name and define for generations as to who is considered a descendant of Avraham, and what are the characteristics of Sodom.
Already in the opening of the Parasha we find Avraham's tent wide open for guests and Sara in her ripe old age, rushing to prepare cakes.
In Sodom, on the other hand, the fists are clenched, as tzedaka is prohibited by law. There were many other wicked cities and kingdoms in the world, but Sodom was the only one where the wickedness was legal.
This factor makes Sodom the exact opposite of Yerushalayim, which was called  the city of justice, "She was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her." Sodom is punished with salt and brimstone, and this was an eye for an eye. Just like the people of Sodom were taught to only take and receive, so too they were punished by salt whose quality is to absorb everything in to itself.
This will cause the Prophet Yishayahu to compare Zion to Sodom, "we have become like Sodom, we are similar to Gomorrah."
Also the children of Avraham upon who it's written in our Parasha that "he'll command his children to follow the path of Hashem, to do righteousness and justice," might fall in to the pit of selfishness.
We therefore must cling to the ways of our fathers, to teach righteousness and justice and only place a little bit of salt on our tables.
Salt on our tables comes from the commandment in the Torah of "you shall salt all your offerings with salt."
A custom which is supposed to remind us while offering a Korban, that we are not, heaven forbid, giving something to Hashem, who possesses the whole world, rather are receiving, and therefore we add salt, the symbol of any giving.

Monday, November 7, 2011

LYA at the IDF fair

Today LYA went to a number of military exhibitions in the Golan, first up was a presentation from Avigdor Kahalani telling his amazing story. Then we went to a presentation and drill at Tel-Fachar by the Golani brigade, where we learned about the history of Golani, its importance and the battles that happened at Tel-Fachar. After that we went to a military fair where we toured around and looked at a number of different units, including Golani, Shayettet Sholsh-Esrai, Shiryon, Mishteret G'vul and many others. At the fair we got to play with the units various toys (read guns, tanks, rocket launchers) talk to soldiers, and finally see a live fire demonstration with a number of tanks and a rocket launcher, video to follow. For some cool pictures check out our facebook group.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shabbat Bogrim

This Shabat we had an alumni Shabbat, many alumni attended with a great showing from machzor zayin, many of whom are drafting the the IDF in a few weeks. Also in attendance was LYA's highest ranking officer, Ya'akov Sullivan. We had a very beautiful Shabbat with everyone eating together Friday night dinner and then an oneg where we sang the night away. The next day we had Rav Asher's class at 7:30am before shacharit where we had the usual and much beloved Ice Coffee and ruggalech. We davened shacharit all together and then went to our adopted families for lunch. After lunch we had a restful Shabbat afternoon. After mincha we ate sudat shlishit in the beit midrash with Rav Erez. During sudat shlishit Rav Erez told us a story about a great Rabbi from Warsaw, Poland who's yartziet is today and about recognizing miracles and your personal signs from G-d.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tiyul to Tzemach

On Thursday the mechina journeyed down to the Tzemach junction and Kineret college. There we attend a class about the political situation, physical situation and historical context to Arab/Israeli relationships. Gidi, an interesting man who, in his own words is a, "nothing, and I have no time." Gidi, who was an elite soldier in the IDF and now does defense contracting internationally, really has no time. We had class with him all day on thursday and then it was time for our off shabbat effective immediately after Gidi's class, shabbat shalom and shavuah tov from the Golan.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rabbi Smith on Parshat Noach

"ויקרא את שמו נח לאמר זֶה יְנַחֲמֵנוּ מִמַּעֲשֵׂנוּ וּמֵעִצְּבוֹן יָדֵינוּ מִן הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר אֵרֲרָהּ ה'"
"And he called his name Noach, saying: 'This shall comfort us from our work and from the sadness of our hands, from the ground which Hashem has cursed." (Bereishit 5:29)

What was the consolation to the world with the birth of Noach? 
Rashi explains that Noach was a remarkable inventor and one of his inventions was the plow. Until his time, people would plow their fields with their very own hands and the powerful curse that humanity received from Hashem, as a result of the sin of eating from the forbidden tree, was strongly felt. Therefore, when Noach invented the plow, a certain degree of consolation came in to the world, people had more available time, technology advanced humanity.

However, it's not so clear that this new available time at people's disposal was used in a positive fashion. "they saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took wives from whomever they chose" (6:2). From this point on humanity started to deteriorate more and more until it deserved annihilation.
Also today, technology affords us more and more free time, computers and communication nowadays save valuable time. The question is what do we do with all this available time, are people less busy today with "plowing their field?" are the hours of darkness, which were once dedicated to spending quality time with one's family and for rest, filled with even more work and meetings or do we truly keep clear boundaries, so that we don't get swallowed by technology in to times when the creations rose against their creator.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Parashat Hashavua - Vayikrah

This week we start reading Sefer Vayikrah, which is also called "Torat Kohanim". The first two parshiyot of the Sefer deal with the korbanot- animal offerings. The korbanot are an integral part of Judaism, they are the central part of the service in the Beit Hamikdash, the holiest place in the world.
Why does the Torah command us to bring korbanot? The Rambam explains that Am Yisrael were sunken in Avodah Zarah – idol worship, and were used to bringing korbanot as part of worshiping Avodah Zarah, for that reason, Hashem commanded us to bring korbanot to the Mikdash to help us overcome the desire for Avodah Zarah.
According to this opinion this is a Mitzah Bediavad – post factum. The Ramban questions this since Noach and the Patriarchs also brought Korbanot. Therefore, he explains that a person who brings a korban must feel as if the korban is taking his place.
The person himself was supposed to ascend like the korban (i.e. die), yet instead of this he uses money and brings a korban in his place. Nowadays, since we do not have korbanot, it is difficult for us to understand their meaning. May the Beit Hamikdash be rebuild speedily in our days and may we be able to offer Korbanot once more.
השבת אנחנו מתחילים לקרוא את ספר ויקרא, הנקרא גם "תןרת כהנים". שתי הפרשות הראשונות עוסקות בקרבנות. הקרבנות הם דבר מרכזי ביהדות, העבודה העיקרית בבית המקדש המקום הקדוש ביותר בעולם. מה הענין ? למה התורה צוותה עלינו להביא קרבן? הרמב"ם מסביר שעם ישראל היו שקועים בע"ז והיו רגילים להביא קרבן לע"ז, ולכן הקב"ה צוה עלינו להביא קרבן למקדש כדי לעזור לנו להתגבר על הע"ז לפי הרמב"ם זו נראית כמצוה דיעבד. הרמב"ן מקשה עליו הרי גם נח והאבות הקריבו קרבנות לא יכול להיות שזו הסיבה. ולכן הוא מסביר שאדם שמביא קרבן צריך להרגיש כאילו הקרבן הוא במקומו. ה אדם עצמו היה צריך "לעלות כקרבן" אך במקום זה הוא מוציא מכספו, ומביא קרבן במקומו. היום אין לנו קרבנות ולכן קשה לנו להבין את המשמעות של הקרבנות. יהי רצון שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו ותחזור העבודה לציון.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mechinat Avnei Eitan - LYA

Mechinat Avnei Eitan - LYA
Parashat Vayakhel 2011 - פרשת ויקהל תשע"א

Dvar Torah

By Rabbi Amiad Seltzer

(ויעש את הכיור נחושת ואת כנו נחושת במראות הצובאות אשר צבאו פתח אוהל מועד" (שמות לח,ח
And he made the washbasin of copper and its base of copper from the mirrors of the women, who congregated at the entrance of the appointed tent." (Shemot 38:8)

Rashi explains: "The daughters of Israel possessed mirrors into which they would look when adorning themselves and even those mirrors they did not withhold from bringing as a contribution for the mishkan. However, Moshe found them repulsive since their purpose was to incite the Yetzer-HaRah. Hashem said to him: Accept them, for these are dearer to me than everything else because through them the women raised huge multitudes in Egypt. When their husbands were exhausted from their crushing labor, the women would go and bring them food and drink and feed them. They would then take the mirrors and each one would look at herself and her husband in the mirror, and entice him with words, saying, "See! I am more beautiful than you," thereby awakening their husbands' desire and they would cohabit with them. They conceived and gave birth there… The wash-basin was made out of them for it served to bring about peace between a man and his wife"
There is not much more to add to this wonderful explanation of Rashi. Yet, I  would just like to emphasize how wonderful Am Israel are that they brought all what they had as a contribution to the Mishkan. We also need to realize how important it is in Hashem's eyes to bring children in to the world and to have healthy Shalom Bayit. Furthermore, we should delve deeper into this teaching that the Yetzer HaRah can, and should be used for Avodat Hashem, thus expressing its positive role in the world.

Mechina News

This month the students celebrated Tu Beshvat, learned the basics of navigation in preparation for survival week, and, finally, experienced a week living on the edge as part Survival Week

To continue reading click here
To see pictures of Survival Week click here

Check out this fascinating article about battle ethics in the IDF which includes an interview with one of our alumni. Click here

Alon Moreshet is currently in the States, if you wish to contact him email him at or call him at 516-849-7269

Alumni Updates

Yair Klyman and Moshe Feldman had the swearing ceremony at the Kotel/ Mazal Tov!

Stanley Dayan and Uriya Kenigsberg enlisted in the army. Mazal Tov!

A warm Mazal-Tov goes to our Rosh Mechina, Rav Erez and his wife Ester on the recent engagement of their daughter Shani to Ido. There was a lively and large engagement party in the Moshav that many people as well as the students attended, celebrating together this great Simcha.

A hearty Mazal-Tov to Rav Amiad, whose younger sister Cherut got married last week.
May both of them merit to build a proud Jewish family rooted in Torah and Mitzvot out of love, caring, and respect for each other, in Eretz Yisrael! Mazal Tov

Sefer Torah

We are proud to announce that the Hachnasat Sefer Torah will take place IY"H on March 31st. The final letters will be written at 4:30 pm followed by Mincha at 5:00 pm. The celebration will start after Mincha.

We are close to collecting all the necesary funds, however, we still need some final donations. Please contact us if you are interested in donating.

For more details click here

Make sure to check us out on Facebook Mechinat Avnei Eitan, for more photos and updates.

Join our mission creating future Jewish leaders by making a secure, direct donation via our website using your credit card. Click here for more info

ADVERTISEMENT: Kitron Galilee Resorts provides the perfect escape from your everyday routine. In the heart of the lower Galilee, overlooking the ancient city of Zippori (Sepphoris) you’ll be surrounded by the breath-taking sights and smells of Israel’s green northern countryside. Special Pesach deal available, book now and Kitron will donate 10% to LYA. Click here for more information.

ADVERTISEMENT: A new hotel is looking to open in the south of the Golan and is looking for investors. Click here for more information

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dear Parents, Rabbis, and Friends,

Dear Parents, Rabbis, and Friends,

I’m sure that by now you have heard in great detail all about our few days we spent in the Negev, surviving on nuts, water, and each other’s company, but in case you haven’t, here are a few more details about it.

The students did a great job in preparing for Survival. They studied maps of the terrain (of the “small” Ramon crater) so they ‘d be able to navigate the trails with ease, prepared their bags with the bare essentials - clothes, sleeping bag, water, and Teffilin, and most importantly looked forward to it with great anticipation.

We started survival week in our backyard on Sunday evening a week ago, after having a stretcher hike in mud up to our knees to the nearby Moshav of Eliad. We then left for the Negev, arriving just in time to set up camp for the night, which happened to be about a thousand degrees below zero; it was quite cold, thus adding another interesting element to the term ‘survival week.’
The students had guard duty and had to keep the stretcher up in the air throughout the night, which they amazingly did.

The next morning after Shacharit Vatikin, all students were divided in to their groups and given their daily food portion, which basically consisted of some dried fruit, nuts, flour, oil, and a vegetable or two. After the initial shock concerning their food rations set in and after making sure no students brought any extra nosh with them we set out on our way, hiking through the dessert and climbing extremely challenging mountains, it was no stroll in the park.

The student pushed themselves even when it was very rough, beyond what they thought were their limits and realized that be’ezrat hashem (almost) nothing is impossible if you really set your heart and mind to it. Their was a natural Mikva opportunity during the hike for those interested and throughout the trip Rav Erez explained the various flora which grows in the Negev and in the small crater, its characteristics and healing and nutritional value, as well as its connection to the Tanach and our history.
On the second night after the students had a chance to seclude themselves in nature for a while, they used their basic ingredients, and imagination, to make some dinner. Some were very successful and managed to make some very tasty pitot and soup with just the few simple ingredients.
On the third day we hiked through a sand storm, which left us all covered head to toe in sand. It was quite an experience.
That night one sleeping bag was given to every four students and they had to decide what was the best way to use it, taking each other in to consideration.
One of the groups got "lost" for a few minutes, but thanks to their navigational skills, Teffilat HaDerech, and fast thinking they got back on the trail and all was good.

Throughout the three days of survival students got to really know themselves, their weaknesses, their strengths, and those of their friends. We saw many situations in which students ignored their own discomfort in order to help someone else who had it harder, cases in which students kept their word even when they thought they were alone and no staff was around.
I must point out that this is the first year where all who started the survival week, ended it as well. In previous years, due to the extreme physical conditions there were always one or two students who would drop out and could not continue, but this year everybody started and everybody finished! From the very beginning till the very end! Kol HaKavod!!!
One more thing I’d like to point out is that how every so often during the difficult hiking, the students of their own volition would ask the rabbis for a dvar-torah to keep them going strong and in high spirits.
At the end of survival week we surprised the students by taking them to a fancy restaurant where they were able to order anything on the menu such as steak, liver, chicken, shishlik and more, all with unlimited French fries, salads, freshly baked Lafot (a very large flat kind of pita) and drinks. For dessert we had ice cream and coffee.
Needless to say, after a few days of just surviving on some dried fruit and some canned corn they were extremely hungry, excited, and grateful. No food went to waste.
Make sure to check us out on facebook for more details and pictures of survival Week.

That’s about it for now, we’re back in the Beit Midrash now, warming the winter with some good Torah studying, especially focusing on preparing our minds and hearts for Purim and Pesach.

Kol Tuv!
R’ Asher
Rav Asher Smith
Rav & Overseas Relations Director
Leadership Yeshiva Academy
Golan Heights 12925 Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6000-618
Office:   +972-4-6763088
Fax:     +972-4-6600142

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy belated Tu beShvat!

Happy belated Tu beShvat!

We hope you all had a special and meaningful Tu beShvat Chag.

Here in the Mechina we studied about the basic elements and fundamentals of Tu beShvat, learned as well some of the deeper and hidden messages which it contains and of course held a beautiful Seder full of a variety of fruits and nuts, the seven species that Israel is blessed with, and lots of  Torah sharing and singing.

A great opportunity to connect to Eretz Yisrael!!!

עוד ישמע בערי יהודה ובחוצות ירושלים...
Before anything else, a warm Mazal-Tov goes to our Rosh Mechina, Rav Erez and his wife Ester on the recent engagement of their first child, (!) Shani, to her Chattan Ido. There was a lively and large engagement party in the Moshav that many people as well as the students attended, celebrating together this great Simcha.
A hearty Mazal-Tov also goes to Rav Amiad, who's younger sister Cherut, got married last week.
May both of them merit to build a proud Jewish family rooted in Torah and Mitzvot out of love, caring, and respect for each other, in Eretz Yisrael! Mazal Tov!!!

On a different note, about a week ago the students had their first hands on experience with navigation. Their skills were tested after they were dropped of in the middle of "nowhere" in the Galill, about an hour away and had to navigate back to the pickup point (there were of course staff members supervising everything behind the scenes). Using compasses, their knowledge, and maps, they all succeeded in eventually making it back. It was a very satisfying and rewarding experience using what they learned in actuality and truly having it work.

This past Thursday the students had to hand in a project about a specific country in the Middle East on which they’ll be graded, for the past semester in their Bar-Ilan College courses. We hope they all did a good job and pass with a high grade!
That’s about it for now.
This Shabbat we will all be going to Chevron. We look forward to spending the Teffilot, meals, shiurim, and activities all together with a true sense of kedusha while strengthening our connection to our grandparents, Avraham, and Sara, Yitzchak, Rivkah, Ya'akov, and Leah.

Kol Tuv,

R’ Asher
Alon N. serves as role model for past, present and future LYA grads as he does his miluim (reserves) service…on his training base he ran into Gershon, also a LYA grad, doing his Officer’s Training Course  -  LYA grads are making an IMPACT!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dvar Torah - Parashat Yitro - Rav Amiad

Dvar Torah - Parashat Yitro - Rav Amiad

Our Parasha is perhaps the most important Parasha in the Torah – the giving of the Torah. However, the Parasha is named Yitro, after a non-Jew who may indeed be important, but he doesn't seem to be important enough to merit such a part of the Torah.

What can we learn from this?

1. : דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה Derech Eretz comes before the Torah: Before the Torah which belonges to the Jews, a non-Jew comes and teaches Moshe about how to be properly organized, and how to judge the nation more efficiently. This is not the Torah yet; rather an external structural order. However, this shows us that this is something which we can, and should, learn from other nations.

2. Despite the fact that the Torah was given to Am Israel and it is suitable for Am Israel, it needs to pass through us to the entire world. The Torah cannot remain isolated within Am Israel, separated from the rest of the world. We need to fix the world with the royalty of Hashem.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


We are proud that two LYA graduates,
MOSHE FELDMAN from Washington DC and YAIR KLYMAN from NJ, were sworn in last night at the IDF ceremony for their combat units at the Kotel  and both received special recognition for EXCELLENCE!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

LYA Orienteering (Nivut) field exercise!

Yonatan’s group arrived first, Moshe’s group arrived at the point second and Kevin’s group made a great effort and arrived third.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Israeli Way of War

The Israeli Way of War

Sefer Torah

Sefer Torah

A few months ago we started a new exciting project at Mechinat Avnei Eitan – LYA: the writing of a new Sefer Torah for the benefit of our students and alumni.

We are pleased to inform you that the Sefer Torah project is advancing rapidly.
The costs of writing a new Sefer Torah are very high, about $50,000. We have raised most of the money but we are still short. We want to invite you to assist us in this grand project.

The cost of one column of the Sefer Torah is $400
The cost of one Parasha is $1,000

On behalf of the staff and students of Mechinat Avnei Eitan, I would like to thank you in advance for your consideration and support of our Yeshiva, and in particular this incredible mission to give our students their own Sefer Torah.

To support this project please go to:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parashat Hashavua - Beshalach


One of the topics that appear in this week's Parasha is the Mann, bread that comes down from heaven for Am Yisrael every morning in the desert. Let's focus on food for a moment

The most basic food is bread. Bread in Hebrew is called לחם, the same root as the word הלחמה - welding. Bread "welds" the body with the soul. Without food a person cannot live, and to live means a soul in the body. Therefore we must realize that food has a side which is connected to the body and a side which is connected to the soul, a physical and a spiritual part.

The physical part is the health aspects of the food, whether it is healthy or not, and how it affects the body. The spiritual aspects are the laws of Kashrut. Therefore, when a person chooses what to eat, he is choosing how to connect and "meld" his body to his soul.

To live longer one has to choose healthy kosher food.

אחד הנושאים שמופיעים בפרשתנו הוא ה "מן", לחם שירד מהשמיים לעם ישראל כל בוקר במדבר. רציתי דרכו קצת לדבר על אוכל. האוכל הבסיסי הוא לחם ונקרא כך כי הוא מלחים, מחבר בין הגוף לנשמה. בלי אוכל אדם לא יכול לחיות, וחיים פירושם נשמה בגוף. לכן צריך להבין שלאוכל יש צד שמחובר לגוף וצד שמחובר לנשמה, בחינה גופנית ובחינה רוחנית. הצד של הגוף זה החלק הבריאותי של האוכל, האם הוא בריא או לא, כיצד הוא משפיע על הגוף והצד של הנשמה זה החלק של הלכות כשרות. לכן כשאדם בוחר מה לאכול כדי לחבר נכון בין הגוף לנשמה, לחיות יותר צריך לבחור אוכל בריא וכשר.

Mechinat Avnei Eitan, LYA - Gibush video

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sea-to-Sea Trek

As you probably know by now, we have done our Yam-Leyam (coast top coast trip), which was a great success. I’m sure your son has told you all about it, so I’ll just add some a few more details.

After many preparations we left (by bus) the Moshav early Tuesday morning December 28th.
We were dropped off at the beginning of our route at the Chziv River, which is about 6 kilometers inland from the Mediterranean Sea, and from that point on it was all by foot.
We got there just in time for Vatikin Shacharit, had a great Tefilah and then had some breakfast.
I’d like to point out that many of the responsibilities for the trip were taken care of by the students themselves. They were responsible for the meals, what kind of food we’d be eating, when, how much, cooking/barbecuing it, and so on. They were the navigators for the trails (and thank G-D we didn’t get lost) and a number of students were responsible for teaching everybody else about the many fascinating places in which we stopped during our three days of hiking.
On the first day we hiked through beautiful warm weather, explored ruins of an old crusader castle, went swimming/Mikvah in the nearby river, had lunch on the riverbank, and about twenty kilometers later reached the camping ground where we set up tents, a bonfire, and prepared dinner.

After Arvit, a meditation activity, and a delicious dinner of meat stew slowly cooked over the bonfire, known in Israel as a Poyke dish, which was eagerly polished off by all, we went to sleep, exhausted yet happy and content.

Early next morning we davened Shacharit, folded up the tents and gear, had breakfast, and were off on our way.
We stopped during the day a few times, dipped in an ancient natural spring Mikvah, admired the cows grazing in beautiful green valleys, had lunch and davened Mincha at the foot of Mt. Meron, and then we climbed up Mount Nerya (Mt. Meron itself cannot be climbed because there’s a “secret” army base at top).

On the top, 1050 meters high above, we had a beautiful view of the upper Gallil and Lebanon.
We climbed down the other side, got dinner cooking over the fire and then went to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s gravesite to daven Arvit, sing some songs, and say Tehilllim.
We all hit the sack after a delicious barbecue dinner.

We woke up once again with the sun, davened Vatikin in the nearby Beit Knesset at the gravesite, had some cake and coffee, some guys went and dunked in the local heated Mikva, then we all had some breakfast, packed the gear and got on the move once again for another twenty kilometer hike mostly in the Amud river nature reserve.
We had lunch, “helped” rescue a horse who had fallen in to a pit, davened mincha, and kept on walking till we reached Kibbutz Chokuk, near the Kinneret, where we had a breathtaking view of the Kinneret, and to make a long, and happy story very very short were picked by bus and driven home for a hot shower and a good warm meal.

Many of the students said how the trip was truly unique and a special experience. The many sites of Israel’s nature we got to see and explore also amazed many, and all in all it was a bonding, fun, and educational experience.

That’s about it for now.
Attached to this e-mail is a picture from the trip.
Make sure to check us out on facebook Mechinat Avnei Eitan, for more photos and updates.

One more thing I thought I’d mention. We are currently in the process of recruitment for our next year students and would sincerely appreciate any P.R you can do for us in your respected communities, Synagogues, schools etc…Toda raba!

Kol Tuv!
R’ Asher

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sea-to-Sea Trek!

Last week LYA students set on the traditional Sea-to-Sea trek that started in the Nahariya area on Israel’s northern seashore and ended by the Kinnert (The Sea of Galilee).

This was a grueling, non-stop three day hike that tested both the students’ physical and mental endurance.

As in previous years the students finished the trek and MADE US PROUD!

Avi Gluck reports:
We got back from Yam Li Yam on Thursday. We hiked, camped out and made our own food while traveling over 65 kilometers and having loads of fun. When we got back we were treated to a delicious dinner made by Rav Asher, and after unpacking, went to sleep exhausted but satisfied with our accomplishment.
Over Shabbat we were visited by a number of Alumni who shared their experiences with us from the Mechina, the army, and college.