The sun beat down on a hot August day in Kochav Yaakov near Jerusalem. We were greeted by our old friends, Avi and Bat-Chen Grossman, into their house. In showing us around, Avi brought me to his backyard where he proudly shows me his small farm of various items: pomegranates, pears, grapes, tomatoes, Etrogim, Lulavim and ‘Aravot. It was an impressive sight. He asked me to assist him with items related to planting/watering them, as well as showing me which fruits could and could not be taken off as they weren’t ready yet. What was also really cool was when he permitted me to bring some fruit into his house, at which point I needed to separate Terumah and Maaser with a Beracha. I repeat: actually separating Terumah and Maaser with a Beracha. This is something which in Yeshiva in Chutz Laaretz is learned but cannot be practiced, though in Israel must be practiced with fruits. This is one of the bases of Torah LeMaaseh.
Torah Lemaaseh is an English program affiliated with the all-Hebrew Yeshivat Ramot, an Israeli Hesder Yeshiva (which combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), within a religious Zionist framework) located in Ramot, headed by Rabbi Avi Grossman. Its’ goal is to teach through experience. Some of the activities include, tying ones own tzitzit, harvesting the arba’a minim for Sukkot, astronomy and the Jewish calendar, Mitzvot HaT’luyot Ba’Aretz (mitzvahs that apply to the land of Israel) and Terumot Uma’asrot , Matza baking, Sukka building (community involvement), Safrut (potentially writing ones own Megillat Esther), kashering utensils, Jerusalem heritage study, marriage preparation, and much more. It’s a Yeshiva that teaches in a style very different from the purely theoretical system of eastern European style Yeshivot, and is a breath of fresh air.
It’s not too late to register if you’re between the ages of 18-25 and looking for a Yeshiva to study for the year. Check it out – you’ll thank me later.