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Makor Chaim Update - Week 6

by Shuey Boniu, Yair Gross and Ashi Taragin

The whole program until now was absolutely amazing. But the final week was one of the best. On this week we have been focusing on making the best out of every second.

After a Shabbos in Gruss, we went to visit one of the great Rabbis of this generations, HaRav Eichenstein. He is currently the Rosh Yeshiva of Yad L'Aharon, and he is very respected amongst the Charedi community. After hearing from us about the program and understanding what we had accomplished in Makor Chaim he helped us realize what our purpose in Limud Torah should be: to internalize and connect to the Torah.

On that same occasion we developed a discussion with Rabbit Taubes on the topic of mituveh veoseh velo metzoveh veoseh. A sugyah with many ramifications to our learning and kiyum mitzvot.

While in Katamon we decided to make the best of it so we went on a little adventure through, talking to random Israelis, visiting Gan Sans Simon and two missions ahead of his. The first was to understand the history of Katamon and the second was a picture contest.

From there, we returned to Makor Chaim to meet with Mrs. Rosenberg and Rabbi Taubus. This was an important talk, since we were discussing how to take the Makor Chaim experience back to MTA and how would we be able to share our experience with the other students. we had suggested some practical ideas-Halacha YomitHachanah Letfillah and other things that make Makor Chaim such a great place.

Afterwards, we had a really interesting presentation from Rabbi Taubus' brother-in-law- Dr. Baruch Sterman**. Dr. Baruch Sterman (Rabbi Taubes' brother-in-law) demonstrated to us the techeilet dying process.

Through his presentation we were able to see and recognize how Halachah and Science, Torah- Omadah really connect and our dependent on each other. Chazal basically based there understanding in Techielet only by understanding certain chemical reactions.

Even though it seemed that the day was over we were soon to be wrong. At the middle of Seder we all received a surprising text: "9:09 meeting in my room", this message was sent by the one and only Madrich- Ashi. And as usual he invited us to the room for an activity, updates at the most accrued times.

We came to his cozy room for cake and tea. After the appetizers we watched some educational clip's. We used these clips as an opening for some meaningful discussions. Not everyone agreed, such was a dispute between Mendel and Yehudah - do we as people and friend place tags, stigma, on others. Is it right?

Should we tag a kid as having ADD, does it help? Is he really different?

On Tuesday, we had a speech with Yonatan Billet. He helped us to open our hearts, telling us that sometime all of the answers our really there. The same is about your experience he told us, you came all the way here to realize that you our special people inside. If so, we shouldn't be sad or scared to leave Makor Chaim because Makor Chaim is in all of you

But our day wasn't over- it was Rav Davids birthday. We went to his house, sang the Israeli birthday song, devour a birthday cake and heard a story of Rav Nachman. This story didn't seem so deep, but then Rav David helped us reveal the secret. Rav Nachman was tried to relay a message- always be happy and never give up especially in regards to Avodat Hashem. Ashi and Rav David stressed to us that this applies as well in MTA, when we won't be in the same environment and might not feel so inspired- always try to be happy.

On Wednesday, for our trip day we went to one of the most interesting places in Israel- Tekoah. Tekoah is special not only because Rav Dov lives there, it is unique due to the spiritual people who come to build their houses in the middle of the desert surrounded completely from all for direction by Arab villages.

After having an overlook towards the ancient mountain, Herodias, we headed to the Haritun caves with our tour guide Shabbi, an interesting character.

At first it seemed like a usual cave but soon were we to discover the huge complex created by water streams. We started to crawl on four and soon even drag ourselves on our stomachs. At first it was scary but as all experiences it became lots of fun, a challenge that we needed to overcome.

All of a sudden we realized that Ashi and his friend Ayal, were not behind us any more, we were left in the hand of Shabbi. After a long journey we reached a dark hall, and one by one we crawl out to join Ashi and Ayal who had stayed behind to lite candles. Ayal, started to play the guitar singing a wide range of songs Jewish, Israeli and more.

Thursday night we had a goodbye party by Abba and Eema, mishpachat Naor. They were such a worm family throughout the whole experience joining us for meals, cooking together for Shabbos, taking care of us when we were sick and just being there for us even if all we wanted was to sit and talk with Oriah with a cup of his secret recipe, delicious tea. Then we went to night Seder fallowed by Makor Chaim soup, made by the Talmidim themselves.

It seemed like our day was over but then we received this shocking text:

"Be by dorm gate at 12:20, in shorts."What!? Why?!

Coming very confused we meet Ashi, and after some stretches we headed out to a run. We ran together around Kfar Etzion, listing to the quite night. Ending in Ashis room we understood- we were getting our yellow sweatshirts!

On Friday we woke up early davened in Ma'arat Hamachpelah. There, Ashi taught us about Zechut Avot  intensifying our Kavanah in Teffilah - Elokey Avraham, meant much more right by his kever.

After a unique davening we met one of the holiest sweetest residents of Hebron- Rav Simcha Hochbaum, currently the head of the tourism in Chevron. Rav Simcha spoke to us about the history and meaning of Me'arat Hamachpeleah for the Jewish nation.

Then we headed out on a tour of the Jewish community in Hebron  with Ashi, who knows it quite well after his army service there  as a commander.

After visiting Chevron's museum, Kever Rut, danicing with soldiers at their post and seeing the ancient ruins of Hebron we ended the tour with quick dip in the coldest mikvah, in Israel.

We came back to Makor Chaim and helped Oriah, temporary aba, to cook for Shabbat. Here it is- are last Shabbat in makor, in Israel. We spent it with our close Israeli friends and their parents on the Shabbat Horim. An exclusive phenomenon, were the yeshiva hosts the parents to join their children's experience. Thereafter we woke up and walked to Yeshivat Har Etzion, a.k.a Gush.

After Shacharis we walked with Rav Taragin, this time Rav Moshe Taragin, Ashi's uncle to his house, had a Kiddush and heard about the zchut that we had to spend in Israel, in Gush Etzion, visiting hesder yeshivot.

Then Ashi organized that we eat by different families, we split up to groups of four each group hosted by special families, houses that were filled with torah and kedusha. Such was R' Fridmans house,  joe's father from makor chaim who will be joining us in MTA. The climax of Shabbos was by R' Reuven Taragin, ashi's father in their house for Seudah Shlishit. It was absolutely amazing; we learned what was really important in life- torah. We sang songs that uplifted our souls until Shabbat were over, making it one of the best Shabbases in our life.

We left Alon Shvut knowing that we are approaching the end of the trip, we finished packing, weighed our bags to make sure that we won't have trouble in the airport and with Tova.

Then we received this weird text from Ashi: "9:45 in beit". We walked into theBeit Medrash and one by one we were taken out, and blindfolded by the IsraeliMakochnikim. It was the hashba'ah. They took us and led us to the bonfire; there we sang together and enjoyed the Israeli food- Poykeh (combination of rice and chicken).

While heading on the bus at 5:30 in the morning we all realized that This program was completely transformative for all of the us and we hope to help MTA boys to feel the feelings of wonder that we have felt here in Israel.

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***Dr. Baruch Sterman

Baruch Sterman is co-founder of the Ptil Tekhelet Association. Baruch received his doctorate in Physics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he developed a CO2 laser used for both medical and industrial purposes. He received his Masters in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University. For the past fifteen years, Baruch has been a leading executive in the High-Tech sector in Israel, specializing in the fields of telecommunications and computer security. He holds several patents in optics, voice technology, and computer security.

Baruch was instrumental in developing the modern techniques for dyeing tekhelet used by the Ptil Tekhelet Association today. These techniques take into account the halakhic, as well as the physical and chemical requirements needed for mass production. He has published numerous articles on the scientific and halakhic aspects of Tekhelet, and writes extensively on the topic of Science and Torah in general.