A Torah Scroll for a Man of Torah
Ohr Torah Stone Dedicates Torah Scroll at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Honor of Organization’s Founder Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
On the eve of Jerusalem Day, a Torah scroll was dedicated at the Midreshet Lindenbaum seminary in Jerusalem in honor of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, founder and rosh yeshiva of the Ohr Torah Stone network (OTS), and the founding rabbi of Efrat.
Hundreds of people attended as the final letters of the scroll were written followed by the powerful celebration that ensued, including president and Rosh Yeshiva Kenneth Brander, Gush Etzion Mayor Shlomo Ne’eman, Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, friends and supporters of Rabbi Riskin and of Ohr Torah Stone.
The scroll had been brought to Israel in March 2020 after being nearly completed in the USA, in honor of Rabbi Riskin’s 80th birthday. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, OTS was forced to postpone the continuation of the celebration until this week.
“There are two reasons that I decided to dedicate this Torah scroll at Midreshet Lindenbaum, the OTS seminary for advanced women’s Torah studies,” said Rabbi Riskin. First, he explained, having grown up in a secular family, his grandmother Chaya Bayla z”l, the daughter of a dayan, taught him everything from Chumash with commentaries to Talmud. Because of her, said Rabbi Riskin, he always thought it was both a crucial and most natural thing for women to learn.
The second reason was because of the views on women’s scholarship and leadership held by both his mentors, Rabbi Joseph B. Soleveitchik and the Lubavicher Rebbe, which Rabbi Riskin shared through personal stories.
“Your vision that women should learn on a high level, the faith you placed in us that we are capable, and that we deserve a stunning beit midrash like the sacred place we are sitting in now; this is what built it all,” said Rabbanit Sally Mayer, Rosh Midrasha of Midreshet Lindenbaum. “There are generations of students who are living this dream, and I am privileged to count myself amongst them, as well as all the young women we see here tonight, who fill this beit midrash every day with Torah and prayer. The fact that you have decided that the Sefer Torah that was written in your honor will be housed specifically in a Beit Midrash for women where you do not regularly pray – that is like Moshe Rabbeinu who builds the mishkan but sees that his greatest success is when it became something that was no longer his. You are the father of this place; we, your daughters, do our best to live up to the confidence you, Rabbi Brander, and Ohr Torah Stone have placed in us, and to the task that the Beit Midrash and the Sefer Torah symbolize – to grow in Torah and Mitzvot, in good character and in tikkun olam,” she concluded.
“When Moshe Rabbeinu died, he was called ‘the great scribe of Israel,’…, because he etched the values and morals of Judaism into the hearts of the Jewish people,” said Rabbi Brander. “There is no more fitting way to honor one of the great scribes of a generation than by dedicating a Torah in his honor.”