By Rabbi Yehuda Bresler, Halacha Teacher
Imagine peering into the window of the Derech Emunah Beis Medrash while Halacha (Jewish Law) class is in session. You might expect to see our studious young women poring over the classic texts of Halacha, diligently taking notes, or exuberantly discussing the finer points of Jewish law.
Although your expectations would generally be met, today you stare into an empty room of unfilled chairs and pristine whiteboards. You hear a great commotion coming from the Lunch Room. “Where are the girls?” you ask yourself as you turn towards all the hubbub.
There you gaze in wonderment at a scene out of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. Electricity seems to crackle in the very air. Girls are lined up in rows, mixing strange concoctions, disturbingly dark elixirs, and slimy solutions. You turn to the nearest young lady who seems to be too busy measuring the results of some horrific experiment done in the toaster oven, and ask: “Where is Halacha class? What in heaven’s name are you doing?” you inquire with some reasonably high level of concern.
She looks up from her measuring cup as if noticing you for the first time and flashes you a brilliant smile. “This IS our Halacha class” she replies, before returning to her important work. At this point, you might feel confused and wonder whether this is all just a product of your overactive imagination. A nightmare perhaps?
But no, this is actually reality. You are observing girls measuring the viscosity of different blends of solids and liquids as part of a unit on the Melacha of “Losh,” kneading mixtures on Shabbos. All the mixing and shaking and stirring of these different substances helps us better understand the words written in the Torah and the concepts behind those words.
At Derech Emunah, we learn Halacha as “Toras Chaim” - which means instructions for living. When we study a topic, we know we must live it too. Which we do.
So next time you stop by our Halacha class, don’t be surprised to see girls running around with bundles of lemon balm (Hilchos Birchas Ha-Ray-ach), or taking caterpillars from heads of cabbage (B’Dikas Tolaim), or starting fires in the parking lot (Sereifas Challah). It’s all in a day’s work at Derech Emunah in our quest to become knowledgeable in the many facets of Halacha.