35 bochurim from Miami Zal were treated by the yeshiva’s shluchim to a five-day trip to Arizona and California as a reward for studying the 53 chapters of Likkutei Amarin Tanya over the course of the year.
By Hillel & Avremel of Miami Yeshiva
Over the course of this past year, 35 Bochurim from Miami Zal studied the entire Tanya, in depth. We were tested every few weeks and worked very hard throughout the year to make Tanya a real part of our lives. The shluchim rewarded our efforts with a grand trip at the end of the year. Even after all of the hard work, our expectations were blown out of the water. No one could have foreseen a weekend with so much to offer and a memory that would last a lifetime.
We started our trip with a long bus ride through the roaring mountains of Nevada to the vast grasslands of Arizona. Our first destination was the Grand Canyon, where we hiked down into the depth of the rim’s edge and stopped along the way to take in the stunning views. Next we made our way to Chabad of Flagstaff where we were graciously hosted in a beautiful new building by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Shapiro.
After Shachris we drove to Lake Powell for what most would consider the highlight of our trip. We kayaked the blue waters all the way to Antelope Canyon where we trekked through miles of narrow canyons and formations. After an exciting six hours, we rested at the marvelously picturesque horseshoe bend lookout, where we made it just in time for sunset. That night we checked into a pleasant hotel and enjoyed the scenic views of Glen Canyon Dam.
Friday brought unexpected joy. The plan was to do stuff, but we ended up in a random gas station with snacks because our bus broke down. While it could’ve been seen as a disaster, we made the best of the situation and started dancing. When the new bus driver came, he gave us a short message of inspiration, and proceeded to sing a Niggun. Finally, we made it to the gorgeous Chabad house in Chandler, Arizona.
Shabbos came and all stress was immediately expelled from our bodies. The community was extremely welcoming and we felt right at home just as every Chabad house should make you feel. Friday night Davening was led by the infinitely talented Mendel Harrouch and the Shabbos Queen was welcomed with an air of jubilance. Shabbos morning we enjoyed fresh coffee and Mezonos from Rebbetzin Deitsch. After Kiddush, Rabbi Deitsch honored us with a truly inspiring farbrengen full of stories, Hachlatos, and beautiful snippets of wisdom to take with us on the rest of our journey. Motzei Shabbos we got to show off our athletic prowess at the AMF bowling and arcade center. This was accompanied with pizza.
Wake up was so early that most Bochurim just stayed up all night and slept on the bus to LA. We stopped off in sunny Palm Springs for Shachris and breakfast. When we arrived in LA we went straight to what is arguably the most delicious pizza shop in the world, Pizza Mayven. Customer service, impeccable; pizza, extraordinary; size, fit all of us; ice cream, existent; love, felt; dreams, fulfilled; hope, restored. Our next stop was the famous Simcha Monica Pier where we biked along the boardwalk, each man to his own. We ended off the trip with a delicious meal at Beis Betzalel. Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory is way too good to be legal. After saying goodbye to the city of stars we hopped on our JetBlue flight back to Fort Lauderdale.
This experience has been life changing, not only the trip, but the learning of all 53 chapters of Likutei Amorim. On top of all the wonderful experiences that we had together, it was truly amazing to be able to appreciate the Niflaos Haborei.
Thank you to all of the Bochurim. If we did not all do this together, I doubt I would have been able to finish.I would also like to give a major thank you to my Shluchim, Levi Teichtel, Berel Yanover, Avraham Yaffe, Mendel Vogel, Moshe Colin, Yossi Simpson and Shmulik Vogel for putting together such an incredible trip. Thank You.