Baltimore, MD - Jan. 18, 2016 - The third annual Yeshiva Gedolah Ohr Hatorah Shabbos Chizuk and Weekend Retreat was held this past Shabbos, Parshas Bo, at Capital Camps Retreat Center in Waynesboro, Pa. Located about one hour from Baltimore, in the picturesque mountains of southern Pennsylvania, this sprawling campus has become home to a much anticipated event for every talmid. Close to one hundred people; talmidim, Hanhalah, friends of the Yeshiva and their families came together to be inspired, invigorated and reenergized in midst of winter.
And inspired, invigorated and reenergized they were. The stirring tefillos and zemiros, coupled with the variety of divrei Torah and drashos, moved each person in his own way. More than once, the heartfelt niggunim spawned spontaneous dancing among the participants. An impromptu kumzitz broke out at the end of the Friday night seuda as well as at Shalosh Seudos. The heartfelt singing brought out feelings of dveikus and created an atmosphere of unparalleled achdus.
A full gamut of shiurim and shmuezzen filled all with inspiration. It began with a shiur from Rabbi Benzion Lapidus after Kabbolas Shabbos, encouraging all to strengthen the achdus that exists in the Yeshiva. A Shabbos morning drasha from Rabbi Dovid Jaffee helped everyone appreciate all the Ohr Hatorah means to their lives. An afternoon Halachah shiur from Rabbi Yosef Wagner on the topic of the melachah of Koseiv, and a powerful Shalosh Seudos shmuezz from Rabbi Chaim Dovid Lapidus completed the shiurim. Rabbi Lapidus used the Gemara in Meschta Avodah Zorah about “yesh koneh olamo b’sha’a achas” to exhort the bochurim to use their time properly. Divrei Brocha and divrei Torah were delivered during the Seudos by the Roshei Yeshiva, Rabbi Dovid Hoffman and Rabbi Moshe Aharon Rosenbaum as well as by a number of talmidim.
A number of group sessions were held as well. On Friday night a panel discussion was held after the Seuda. Mr. Orin Hirschman, Mr. Mordechai Hyatt and Rabbi Yisrael Friedland shared their thoughts on the topic: Finding Your Path in Avodas Hashem. Moderated by Rabbi Yonah Yaakov Lapidus, a spirited discussion with many questions from the audience made for an enjoyable, off the cuff talk. After the davening on Shabbos morning, the Yeshiva bochurim split up into groups and heard divrei chizuk from Kollel yungerleit on the topic: Making the most of Your Yeshiva Years. Rabbis Shlomo Cherniak, Rafi Shenk, Aryeh Sherizan and Ari Jager headlined each group.
The retreat didn’t end with Havdalah! On Motzoei Shabbos, a special Melave Malka was ordered. The inspiration continued with a viewing of the new production “Triumph of the Spirit – Reflections on the Life and Legacy of the Mir Rosh Hayeshiva, Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel.” Each person left the weekend not only feeling uplifted and motivated to make the most of the remainder of this winter zman, but with a renewed and deeper connection to their Rebbeim, each other and to their personal Avodah.