Podcast: Eli Steinberg on the Warriors of Torah https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/jewish-world/2023/06/podcast-eli-steinberg-on-the-warriors-of-torah/

What were 27,000 ḥaredi men doing in a sports arena in Philadelphia last week, and what does it reveal about their world?

June 9, 2023 | Eli Steinberg, Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic
About the author: Eli Steinberg lives in New Jersey with his wife and five children, and has written on politics and Jewish issues for a variety of outlets. He tweets @HaMeturgeman. A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture.
Adirei HaTorah, June 4, 2023, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Podcast: Eli Steinberg

This past Sunday, photographs began to appear on social media of a sports stadium, the Wells Fargo Center just outside of Philadelphia, full of ḥaredi men—some 27,000 of them. The name of the gathering was Adirei HaTorah, a Hebrew phrase that means “warriors of Torah.” All those people were convened in order to honor a small group of men: hundreds of relatively anonymous adults engaged in full-time Torah study at Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, New Jersey.

Beth Medrash Govoha is one of the most interesting Jewish educational institutions in the world. It’s the largest yeshiva outside of Israel; thousands of students are enrolled there full time. Most if not all of them are married, which means that there are also thousands of wives, and many thousands of children, amounting to an entire world within Orthodox Judaism.

What does the decision to honor the adults who dedicate themselves to Torah study reveal about the spirit of Lakewood? To answer that question, Rabbi Eli Steinberg, a ten-year veteran of the Lakewood yeshiva, formerly on the professional staff there, joins Mosaic’s editor Jonathan Silver on a tour of the Adirei HaTorah celebration last Sunday, and of the society built around a school of which that celebration is a fascinating expression. Together, they also ask if there’s something there from which all Jewish communities can learn.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.