I remember last year at around this time like it was yesterday. I was visiting Israel and spending time visiting many Yeshivas trying to find the best place for me for my upcoming year in Israel. I remember it being such a stressful time because every Yeshiva had so much to offer. After much thought, I finally decided to spend my year in Orayta.
Why? That's a great question.
When you ask a person what they are looking for in yeshiva you usually come across answers such as:
“To be able to learn Gemara on my own” and “To learn to how to learn”. Of course building the skills to be able to learn independently is so important! However, I would like to argue that there is something even more important to accomplish in Yeshiva. You see, I think the goal of spending a year in Yeshiva is so that you can find a way to bring Torah into all the aspects of your life. Yes, developing the skills to be able to open a Sefer and learn is necessary. However who said having the skills to do something means that you will actually do it in the future? For example: I know how to swim, in fact I'm pretty good at it, but I don't enjoy swimming. Just because I have the skills to swim doesn't mean I'm going to be swimming.
The same goes to the learning of Torah. Someone may go to yeshiva and become a Talmudic genius, however as soon as they are out of the Yeshiva environment they no longer seem to find time to implement Talmud learning into their everyday schedules. I've seen this happen way too many times.
I think the most important thing to get out of Yeshiva is simply the love for Torah. That doesn't mean just learning the skills to be able to learn independently. It means finding a personal connection to Torah and loving a Torah lifestyle. At the end of the day the development of skills is all dependent on the individual. I truly believe if someone wants to become a strong learner they can get it wherever they are. Orayta is very different. The main focus is not just learning how to learn. It's all about learningwhyto learn. Orayta is a Yeshiva of self-reflection and understanding, where the Rebbeim are always open to developing close connections with the Talmidim as well as answering questions on literally every topic imaginable.
This year is dedicated to revealing who you really are and what is your purpose as a religious Jew.
I personally feel that all the Mitzvot I keep and all the Torah I'm learning is really my own. I'm doing it not only because I have to, but even more so because I want to.
I couldn't be more grateful to be able to spend such an important year in such an incredible place!
Jacob is from Montreal, Canada and plans to stay in Israel next year in order to continue in his learning and growth as a Ben Torah. Jacob's favorite part of Orayta are the many very dynamic and inspirational Davenings.