Harav Yerachmiel Fried, long-time Rosh Kollel of the DATA Kollel in Dallas, TX, was the scholar-in-residence on Shabbos Parashas Yisro (January 25-26) at the LINK Kollel in Los Angeles.
The DATA Kollel, which Rav Fried has spearheaded for nearly 30 years, has been one of the most successful community-building kollelim in America. Rav Fried is renowned as a close talmid of Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, and the author of several halachic work, including the classic Yom Tov Sheini K’hilchaso.
On Friday night before Maariv, in the first of his several thought-provoking shiurim, Rav Fried uncovered a deep theme in the chapters of Tehillim that we recite as part of Kabbalas Shabbos. He masterfully explained how Shabbos enables us to re-establish our loving acceptance of Hashem’s sovereignty over our personal lives.
At a beautiful oneg Shabbos at the home of LINK’s Rav, Rabbi Asher Brander, Rav Fried detailed the history of the DATA Kollel and its success in building a Torah community. He delineated a very specific paradigm for success that the Gedolim he consulted outlined for him: a devotion to greatness in Torah that the kollel must exemplify, a strong fealty to halachah and Torah-true hashkafah, coupled with a sincere love and concern for every Jew.
In his keynote drashah on Shabbos morning, Rav Fried analyzed a famous Midrashic teaching on Kabbalas HaTorah. In Klal Yisrael’s amazing proclamation of “Naaseh V’nishmah,” Hashem asked, “Who revealed this secret to My children? This is what the angels say!”
Rav Fried explained that the essence of a malach is that it has no identity of its own; it is merely a vehicle to express a particular Will of Hashem. Our task today, Rav Fried averred, is to strive to make our will congruent with the Will of Hashem at all times.
In a halachah shiur after the kiddush, Rav Fried discussed several contemporary conundrums regarding Friday afternoon candle-lighting. Can one light, if necessary, with an electric candelabra? How about an LED battery-powered tea light? What does one do if he will not be able to return home to benefit from the candles after nightfall? Where should he light?
Before Minchah, Rav Fried gave an advanced halachah shiur on the topic of “Why Is There No Daily Mitzvah of Zecher Maamad Har Sinai?” If there is a mitzvah to recall the Exodus every day, why not the even more-consequential event of the Revelation at Sinai? He then masterfully explained how the daily recitation of Birchos HaTorah is indeed the manifestation of this daily mitzvah.
At seudah shelishis, Rav Fried shared several stories of his revered Rebbi, Rav Auerbach. These included a number of incidents that only Rav Fried was privy to in his many years of driving Rav Auerbach around Yerushalayim.
At the same time, Rebbetzin Fried was delivering a shiur for women on the topic of “New Beginnings; How to Make Successful and Smooth Transitions When Facing Life-Changing Situations.” She is a renowned innovation consultant and business coach who combines business concepts with practical Torah to help people achieve their full potential.
Rav Fried’s penetrating shiurim bore eloquent witness to explaining DATA’s success, that profound Torah can transform people’s lives in so many ways.