Brooklyn’s Secret Treasure Hidden No More
By Tzvi Y. Ezrachi
A high-caliber bochur concludes mesivta and then enters bais medrash, either in the same yeshiva or another. After a few years of high-level bais medrash learning, his next option is to go to learn in one of the well-known yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel.
In fact, that is his only option, right?
In fact, there is an outstanding yeshiva in Brooklyn whose reputation has been growing as a first-rate option for metzuyanim who have completed bais medrash but would like to continue their aliyah in Torah on American shores.
Yeshiva Bais Hillel, located at 215 Courtelyou Road in Kensington, might have been Brooklyn’s best-kept secret, but word is getting out about this exceptional makom Torah that is staffed by world-class talmidei chachomim and maggidei shiur.
Led by its rosh hamosad, Rav Aryeh Leib Zell, Yeshiva Bais Hillel opened its doors this past Pesach. In short order, the yeshiva’s kollel, comprised of choshuve yungeleit, and a group of post-bais medrash bochurim coalesced into a cohesive chaburah whose growth was inevitable. The limud of the yeshiva is Seder Kodshim, providing its bochurim with an opportunity to plumb the depths of this segment of Shas that is so popular in many Yerushalayim yeshivos attended by American bochurim.
“The goal is to provide yeshiva bochurim who have completed bais medrash with the opportunity to continue shteiging on these shores,” says Rav Zell, who is a talmid of Yeshiva of Staten Island, Rav Dovid Soloveitchik, Rav Tuvia Goldstein and Rav Dovid Feinstein, sharing the ruach of each of his illustrious roshei yeshiva with the members of Yeshiva Bais Hillel.
Each day’s schedule is comprised of two sedorim. While all the bochurim who are now talmidim at the yeshiva live locally, establishing a dormitory is an idea being considered based on the future growth of Yeshiva Bais Hillel.
The rosh yeshiva of first seder at the yeshiva is Rav Shnayor Burton. Rav Shnayor is a rising star in the Olam HaTorah, a talmid chochom who has gained renown for his wide-ranging knowledge, his penetrating lomdus, and his ability to explain the most arcane and complex sugyos with lucidity and clarity. A talmid of Rav Shlomo Feivel Schustal and Rav Yaakov Drillman, Rav Shnayor’s shiurim are scintillating masterpieces, bringing together a sugya in a remarkable way.
A morning blatt shiur is delivered by Rav Yishai Grant, who is recognized for his vast bekius. Rav Yishai’s shiur allows the yungeleit and bochurim to expand their knowledge of Seder Kodshim, which in turn provides them with proper havanah of whichever sugya they are delving into. Each blatt shiur is enhanced by explanations of the major Acharonim, proving to be an invaluable component of the first seder at Yeshiva Bais Hillel.
Rav Akiva Brun is the rosh yeshiva of second seder, during which he delivers an iyun shiur, breaking down the sugyos with precision. A talmid of Rav Reuven Fein at Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, Rav Akiva leads the high level learning of the yeshiva during the afternoons each day.
The yeshiva has thus far drawn metzuyanim, creating a high-level chaburah of geshmake and upbeat bnei Torah, who thrive on the camaraderie and achdus that permeate the yeshiva. Despite the intensity of the learning, Yeshiva Bais Hillel is a pressure-free environment that allows the talmidim to focus on their limudim and aliyah in Torah, as they benefit from the dibbuk chaveirim that the yeshiva has become known for.
“The bochurim here feel that they have a makom,” said one talmid. “They sense that they have a place, a yeshiva they belong to. It’s an exhilarating feeling.”
The seder hayeshiva is enhanced by shmuessen delivered twice a month by Rav Leibel Gorelick and a weekly Chovos Halevavos shiur delivered by Rav Zell.
Yeshiva Bais Hillel, which has received the approbation of Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel and other leading roshei yeshiva, has proven to be a desirable destination, as well, for those bnei Torah who have completed bais medrash in America but are looking to bridge the gap before they travel overseas to learn in Eretz Yisroel.
“It is worth a visit just to witness the kol Torah here and the beautiful atmosphere of intense learning coupled with the simcha that characterizes genuine aliyah in Torah,” said one of the yungeleit. “You’ll be inspired by what you see and the people you’ll meet.”
For more information about Yeshiva Bais Hillel, call 917-743-4755.