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Ko Somar L’Beis Yaakov

Rachel Bachrach

When Elisheva Parry of Los Angeles was in high school, she and a friend used to learn all Shavuos night. They attended shiurim in a local shul for some of the night and learned together, chavrusah-style, for the rest. Over the years, Elisheva has reviewed portions of Halichos Bas Yisrael, the halachos of shmiras halashon — and, because Shavuos usually falls out right before final exams, she has sometimes studied limudei kodesh as well.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Shavuos night learning was something the girls looked forward to, year after year. “For us, it was a treat,” Elisheva says. “We wanted to do it.”

While Elisheva understands that her experience was only a fraction of that of her brothers, father, and other men, because she got a taste of it, she is more appreciative of limud haTorah and the sacrifices it entails.

“Women are always sending the men out to learn,” Elisheva says. “Until you’ve done it yourself, you don’t realize how challenging it is to stay up all night learning.”

Many teenage girls are equally enthusiastic about Shavuos-night Torah opportunities, and several seminaries in Israel run all-night sessions to cater to that desire. Girls in programs like Neve Yerushalayim, Beis Yaakov Yerushalayim (BJJ), Bnos Chava, Michlalah, and Darchei Binah learn on their own, attend sessions in their schools, or participate in programs elsewhere.

“They should appreciate what ameilus baTorah is,” says Mrs. Sheri Kurland, who organizes the program for Darchei Binah students. The timing is opportune, she adds, because Shavuos falls out at the end of the seminary year. “It’s the lingering taste they’ll have of the year of learning in Eretz Yisrael. It’s the makeh bapatish.”

These girls understand that once they are married, their husbands will go out to learn Shavuos night while they stay home to take care of the children.

“The first thing we say to them is that we don’t anticipate that they’ll be doing this in the future,” explains Rabbi Kurland, dean of the school. Instead, they encourage the girls to enjoy the experience while they can.

Shavuos learning may not be an all-night affair for young married women, but if they want to learn a little, it is possible to make it work. Tali Messing of Vienna, Austria, has been learning Shavuos night since the beginning of high school. After she got married and settled in Israel, Tali and her husband agreed to learn together after their meal, which ends relatively early. Then she goes to sleep while he heads out to yeshivah to learn with the men.

“The point is to appreciate Torah,” Tali explains. In fact, the materials she and her husband learn often revolve around that topic; one year, for example, they learned Nefesh HaChaim, Shaar Daled, which talks about chashivus haTorah.

“I also learn to appreciate what my husband is doing all day,” Tali says.


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