This Tuesday, the students of the Orthodox mechinot came together for a major event as they marked 400 completions of Tractate Megilla. Present at the celebration, held in Bayit VaGan in Jerusalem ahead of Purim, were Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tzefat Shmuel Eliyahu, Minister of Education Rabbi Rafi Peretz, Joint Council of Mechinot CEO Dani Zamir, and hundreds of mechina students and staff.
“I’m very happy to be here. Necessarily, I’m also finishing a tractate here—Tractate Brachot, as part of the Daf Yomi. We want to be full of humility and absolutely clear-eyed about the long path before us, even if it is long and challenging. This is Israel’s path,” said Rabbi Peretz. “The link that connects the Torah and the nation to providence is clear. We just finished a long, complicated political campaign, but know this: religious Zionism didn’t miss the mark. The way of gratuitous love was victorious against gratuitous hatred. It wasn’t easy, but it is our way, and we will make it a part of our practical lives as well.”
Rabbi Lau said in his remarks: “We will not stop. We will continue growing in sanctity. Fortunate are the rabbis and fortunate are all who bring more Torah study and more light to the world. The Torah is the song of our lives. With this, we will reach Purim with plenty of joy and holiness.”
Dani Zamir said: “The job of the Joint Council is to take the talk about unity and turn it into action. The foundation of the partnership underpinning the world of the mechinot is Zionism, defined as an independent and befitting national home for the Jews in the Land of Israel. This is the way to bring together the worlds of the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox mechinot.” In a Facebook post about the event, Zamir wrote: “Friends who see me are worried about how much I, and we, took the elections to heart. It’s important to them that we not give up, that the connection not be lost. When my turn comes, I speak briefly, extend greetings to the holy congregation, and reiterate the words of Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal) in chapter 19 of Mesillat Yesharim, which discusses the character trait of piety and leadership’s duty not to turn a blind eye to injustice: ‘It is clear: one who loves his friend cannot bear to see his friend being beaten or subjected to indignity. He will without doubt come to his aid.’ When I finish, students, teachers, and rabbis excitedly shake my hand, saying, ‘It’s so good you came,’ ‘Your speech was so interesting.’ And in this place, in the capital city of Jerusalem, a thousand lightyears away from myself, I feel as much at home as can be.”