The loss of a loved one is a searing experience. Confronted with a gaping hole in their lives, bereaved family members often seek to establish a memorial for eternity. The question is, how?
Rabbi H., a graduate of NCYI’s rabbinics and not-for-profit training programs, understood the frustration that so many mourners feel upon seeking the perfect merit for their loved ones. Putting the training that he received from NCYI into practice, Rabbi H. set about filling that need.
Traditionally, Jews the world over have studied Mishnayot in memory of their loved ones. Many people, however, have difficulty completing the course of study that would merit a siyum. Rabbi H., acquainted with some of the foremost Torah scholars in America, had a simple idea: why not connect Jews who would like to study Mishnayot in memory of their loved ones, with Torah scholars who can help them achieve their goals?
The idea grew and developed, until it culminated in Rabbi H.’s establishment of Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah, the Society for Mishnah Study.
In truth, any mitzvah that is done in the merit of a specific individual brings reward to that person’s soul. The study of Mishnayot, however, along with the recital of Kaddish and Yizkor, has become the accepted mode of illuy neshamah throughout the ages.
On a kabbalistic level, there is a direct connection between Mishnayot and the departed soul. The words Neshamah and Mishnah are comprised of the same letters transposed. As such, Mishnah study brings elevation to the neshamah.
Fulfilling a Dream
Some individuals are not capable of studying Mishnayot independently, and prefer to commission Torah scholars to study for them. After assigning the task to a Torah scholar, Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah offers family members the option of studying the final Mishnayot together with the rabbi—either in person or through interactive distance learning—using a vocalized and translated text provided by Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah. Upon completing the designated course of study, Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah issues an elegant certificate, commemorating this significant achievement.
The beauty of Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah is that it makes Mishnah study accessible to everyone. Whether one is a scholar or a beginner, Mishnah is the heritage of all Jews, wherever and whoever they may be. If a Jew—any Jew—has a dream of giving the gift of Mishnayot to a departed loved one, Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah is committed to bringing that dream to fruition.
What They’re Saying
Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah enjoys the endorsement of Rabbi Herschel Schachter, who writes, “The greatest honor for a departed individual is to study Torah in his honor, and specifically through this organization, which—in addition to Torah study—supports Torah scholars.”
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky states, “I am delighted to endorse the work of the Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah. Mishnah… articulates the nitzchiyut (eternity) of every Jewish soul, and the recognition that such study is inspired by the passing of a precious soul can only bring merit to that individual and serve as a source of comfort to all who knew him.”
Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah’s website, www.societyformishnahstudy.org, includes all sorts of handy tools: a Hebrew/English calendar converter; free yahrtzeit and Yizkor reminder emails; ideas for the yahrtzeit day; and a lot more. There are stories, information, and study sources for every occasion.
Most recently, Rabbi H. has been developing Mishnas Chayim, a weekly dvar torah relating to Mishnah and the parshah, which will be distributed to synagogues and publications, as well as by email subscription. “If you would have told me a couple of years ago that I’d be working on a Mishnah weekly, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Rabbi H. says. “But one of the things that the non-profit course stressed most was to see the greater picture, take the extra step, and expand your mission statement as necessary. That created a mindset of my own.”
A Place to Turn
In keeping with the rabbinical imperative, Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah serves as a resource for those who need it most. The loss of a loved one is always traumatic; and the classic Jewish response to difficult events has always been the search for meaning. At this most trying time, Rabbi H. and his colleagues are there to listen, to sympathize, and most of all to guide the mourners in crafting the most appropriate response to the tragedy.
Although family members contact Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah in honor of their loved ones, the surviving relatives often find that they have become the beneficiaries of their own kindness. By connecting with and giving to their departed relatives in this most meaningful way, the mourners themselves are comforted.
For more information and various sponsorship opportunities, contact Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah at 732-364-7029 or at ChevrahLomdeiMishnah.org.