Today's Hebrew date marks a full year of studying at Hadar HaTorah yeshiva.
A week or so prior to entering Hadar HaTorah, I visited Crown heights before visiting home for Thanksgiving and, as I wrote on social media:
“I concluded the past few months of yeshiva with a visit to Crown Heights during the #kinus 👑I’ve been praying to G-d for an environment where I can thrive in learning, creating, and coaching, and the past few days have felt like a taste of this vision. I had the opportunity to learn, play competitive ball, and celebrate at a wedding with friends! I’m excited to see what unfolds🙏🏼”
I felt hesitant to leave home after Thanksgiving break. I knew I wanted to continue learning Torah and chassidus, but didnt feel I was completely fulfilling my mission where I was prior to visiting home.
Nevertheless, in regard to personal growth, especially with Judaism, it was best for me to leave home (again). As it’s written in this week’s Torah portion, which is the portion during my bar mitzvah, “Vayeitzei Yaakov,” and Yaakov went. During a morning meditation still at home, it arose in my mind that “Yaakov went.” He went, like his grandfather Avraham, where G-d led him.
The Talmud states that each person must ask, “when will my actions be like the actions of my forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov?” I had a flight ticket to New York, so I can exercise an action like my forefathers and travel.
Even though I didn’t ultimately know where G-d would lead me, “Vayeitze” Shlomo. I went.
Originally thinking I’d head back to where I was prior, I stayed with a family of a friend in Crown Heights. I’d heard only a couple times about Hadar HaTorah, so I figured, there’s no rush for me to go back, I’ll check out this yeshiva.
That day was zayin Kislev, the seventh of Kislev, last year (5783), December 1, 2022. I wrote in my journal about the experience. In the morning I felt low energy and feelings of fear and uncertainty. Yet, “once I arrived at Hadar HaTorah, made some coffee, and sat to learn Chassidus,” taught by Rabbi Goldberg, “the warmth returned to me more potently.”
I haven’t left since.
Other pleasant observations I made about Hadar HaTorah, which were aligned to my prayers of a place to thrive:
Chassidus class begins at 8 am
Shakaris Davenen (morning prayers) begins and 9:30. “Rather than catching up to the minyan (congregation), I can slow down even more than before,” like a meditative experience.
The zal (study hall) is smaller yet, perhaps due to its size, more focused
There are more individuals my age
The food options are healthier and I have access to kosher groceries near by.