By Anash.org writer
Rabbi Yehuda Dukes, director of JNet, shared a moving encounter that recently took place between him and Malcolm A., a Jew currently incarcerated R”L in a correctional facility in Norlina, NC. JNet, an organization that connects chavrusas via phone, is holding a learning campaign in honor of Chof Av.
As a result of the efforts of various shluchim, the Aleph Institute and JNet, as well as his own determination, Malcolm has come incredibly far along in his journey towards Yiddishkeit. He has been involved with JNet for many years; since phone calls are limited to 15-minute slots and are very expensive, he communicates mostly through writing.
A recent visit with Aleph volunteers Yossi Posner and Levi Goldshmid inspired Malcolm to use his precious phone-call time and money to reach out to Rabbi Dukes asking if any Torah from R’ Levik was available to study in honor of Chof Av. Having just initiated a campaign encouraging this very learning, Rabbi Dukes was happy to provide Malcolm with four teachings (translated here by Chabad.org) and they studied one together.
Per the Rebbe’s hora’ah that there always be an ‘uvechein‘ (a practical application to daily life), Rabbi Dukes asked Malcolm what he personally could take from their learning. The teaching discusses lofty concepts in kabbala, and there isn’t an obvious down-to-earth avoda connected to it. Nevertheless, Malcolm discerned how to apply the concepts to his kavanah during davening.
Upon hearing about the campaign’s prize of $50, Malcolm pledged that if he wins, he will use it for JNet calls.
“Learning b’chavrusa not only gives warmth to my learning,” he said. “It also helps me fulfill the Torah’s dictate ‘not to rely on your own understanding.'”
“Torah Shebaal Peh was meant to be taught person-to-person,” Rabbi Dukes told Anash.org. “There are thousands of people out there who want to learn! אינה דומה שמיעה לראיה – nothing can replace connecting live with a fellow Jew, even during the minutes that are not spent actually learning. It doesn’t even need to be through an organization – simply pick up the phone and call your brother!
“Next time you’re on a video call, share a dvar Torah you just heard. Creating a dirah betachtonim is not limited to our own daled amos – we can impact people wherever we are.”
JNet is always looking for volunteers to teach, as people sign up daily looking for a chavrusa. It can be just 30 minutes, once a week. You have what to give to another Jew! Sign up and make a difference in someone’s life, joining 11,000 chavrusos already connected since JNet’s inception in 2005!
You can also join the Chof Av campaign here (even if not yet a JNet volunteer), and enter a raffle to win $50 by learning one of R’ Levik’s teachings.