Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein was the keynote speaker at this year’s Rambam grandfather/father/son learn-a-thon. For the past two decades, Rambam has been holding a special program on January 1 and has been privileged to have many roshei yeshiva and prominent rabbanim as guest speakers. This year’s program was no different. Rabbi Milstein, who is one of the senior lecturers for Aish HaTorah Discovery Seminars, is a much sought after and internationally acclaimed speaker.
Grandfathers and fathers joined their offspring for Shacharis in the Ashkenazic or Sephardic minyanim which are held daily at Rambam. After some divrei Torah from Rabbi Friedman and Rabbi Eliach, parents and sons proceeded to the gymnasium where the women’s league, chaired by Sharon Duftler and Devorah Elkouby, had set up a beautiful and sumptuous breakfast. Families bonded over omelets, French toast, and hot chocolate before the learning began.
After bentching and clearing the tables, maareh mekomos were handed out and chavrusa-style learning began in earnest. It was truly heartwarming to see the active learning taking place between grandfathers, fathers, and sons. “It was a true fulfillment of the pasuk of ‘And you should teach it to your children and your grandchildren!’” said Rabbi Friedman.
Rabbi Milstein was also visibly impressed by the intensity of the learning. He then launched into his shiur, which he described as a “white knuckle, one hour, rollercoaster ride traversing over 3,000 years of Jewish history.” In essence, Rav Milstein shared the various prophecies outlined in the Torah and showed how it was impossible for any human being to divine such predictions.
“By all accounts of history and natural order, the Jewish people should be extinct today, yet we are here,” he proclaimed. The Torah predicts that we will be scattered amongst the nations, oppressed, and discriminated against, which has happened throughout our history. No human being could have made such a prediction thousands of years ago with such accuracy. Noting that in the usual course of one nation conquering another, the defeated nation remains in place and becomes the subjugated slave of their conquerors. The Torah predicted that the Jews would be exiled from their land, which indeed happened. Once again, “These are the events that would be impossible for a person to predict and foretell,” said Rabbi Milstein. He continuously demonstrated with prophecy after prophecy the impossibility of any source other than Hashem making such predictions and having those predictions fulfilled exactly as stated.
The close to 300 people in attendance were enthralled by his presentation. A lively question and answer session followed as yet another inspiring Rambam Learn-A-Thon came to a close. v