During the first couple months of yeshiva, I never found it very difficult to write
emails home. There was always so much new to say. I could describe my many
shiurim (classes) and my packed daily schedule: "yes, we really stay in the beit
midrash until 10 PM." I could recount our ruach-filled holiday services: "yes, we
danced on the roof through the final minutes of Yom Kippur." Or, I could share tales from
adventures we had as we explored Eretz Yisrael over Sukkot break: "no, we didn't have a map."
This stretch of time introduced me to the incredible opportunities of the year ahead - nested in the
Old City of Jerusalem, learning in yeshiva, surrounded by incredible rebbeim and other students
seeking to grow.
But at this point, the pace has changed. Now, we are weeks into this strange period of time unique
to the yeshiva world: horef zman. To someone looking in from the outside, it's not nearly as
exciting. It's significantly longer than a standard college semester. Compared to the spontaneity of
Elul zman, the routine of horef zman might appear monotonous. We eat, learn, sleep, and repeat.
So what's the point of this regimented schedule? After all, where are we going?
As we plunge deeper into horef zman, the potential value of these months is becoming clearer to
everyone here. Yes, these months may present fewer photo-ops than did the first several weeks of
yeshiva, and thus, it may be harder for an email to capture the beauty of weeks upon weeks spent
learning in the beis. Yet through such consistency, one can make progress and begin to break
down the boundaries which once limited him, embarking upon a journey of evolution.
Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote: "the eternal is not a thing which can be had
regardless of the way in which it is acquired; no, the eternal is not really a thing, but is the way in
which it is acquired." Sure, if we embrace the grind and dedicate ourselves to the long haul, this
year spent learning will truly be one of growth. But perhaps even greater than the ultimate
destination are the daily encounters we have with each other, the bits of Torah that we internalize
along the way, the moments when we feel ourselves reaching toward something just past our
I admit, it's hard to describe. Words can never do such an experience complete justice. So, you'll
have to trust me - though the excitement of Elul zman has come to an end, there's no doubt in my
mind that the best months of yeshiva are yet to come. Now, yeshiva gets real.
Corey Gold graduated from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, lives in Baltimore, MD, and
plans to attend Harvard University next fall. Corey's favorite thing about Orayta is the stellar
rabbinic staff whose wisdom and compassion inspire him to keep setting his sights higher.