By Shimmy Blum
The Torah world is currently undergoing a trying period. Countless members of our community are wondering how much longer they will be able to sit within the walls of Torah and its sacred lifestyle. No shortage of mothers and children are wondering where their bread and milk will be coming from in the upcoming months and years. Who knows how much further our nation’s sworn enemies can advance in their quests to amass the most pernicious weaponry, r’l.
Nary a day goes by when we do not feel more hopeless than the previous day. What can we do? We cannot rely on anything other than Heaven for our ultimate salvation, but gedolei Yisrael from throughout the globe have called upon us to strengthen our pride and resolve in our Torah learning as the ultimate weapon to perpetuate our sacred way of life, b’ezras Hashem. Whether one lives in Eretz Yisrael or chutz l’aretz, whether one feels directly threatened by recent developments or not, we can do more than merely “share the burden” with those who feel like their physical and/or spiritual lives are at stake. Every Yid has in his hands the wherewithal to counteract these negative developments and give chizuk to those who feel imperiled.
“Me’at min ha’or doche harbei min hachoshech.” The dark forces focused on us are no match for the powerful beacons of light at our disposal. Hence, Yidden from around the globe are anxiously looking forward to Sunday, 15 Tammuz (June 23), when they will join in an historic gathering in honor of the Torah, its learners, and our revered leaders. A cross section of senior rabbanim, admorim, and roshei yeshiva have lauded the gathering as a most appropriate response to the challenges of our times, and urged all of Klal Yisrael to participate in it.
In a letter urging maximum public participation, the Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav HaGaon Malkiel Kotler, shlita, termed the gathering “an honorable event that will enhance the honor of Torah and unite the Torah world that is persecuted and downtrodden.”
The gathering has been arranged by the renowned Dirshu organization, with its flagship location being the large halls of Binyanei Ha’uma in Yerushalayim. A long list of premier gedolim, including HaRav HaGaon Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, HaRav HaGaon Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, HaRav HaGaon Yitzchok Scheiner, shlita, HaRav HaGaon Azriel Auerbach, shlita, HaRav HaGaon Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, shlita, the Belzer Rebbe, shlita, the Gerrer Rebbe, shlita, HaRav HaGaon Chizkiyahu Mishkofsky, shlita, HaRav HaGaon Moshe Tzadka, shlita, and many more, have enthusiastically lent their support for the gathering and most will iy’H personally participate in it.
As this Kiddush Hashem will iy’H progress in the Holy City, communities around the world will be a part of history, by viewing and/or listening in to the event, as well as partaking in special satellite events of their own.
The gathering will include a siyum on Maseches Eiruvin, as Yidden from around the globe celebrate the completion of the complex masechta and look forward to beginning Maseches Pesachim, b’ezras Hashem.
It will also mark the first yarhtzeit of the gadol hador, HaRav HaGaon Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt’l, whose sons-in-law, lbc’l, HaRav HaGaon Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, and HaRav HaGaon Ezriel Auerbach, shlita, will deliver heartfelt words of remembrance.
The professionally organized gathering will also feature live song and dance, as well as a special mass recitation of the “Tefillas HaShla” for success in raising ehrliche children. Ashkenazim, Sefardim, Litvaks, Chassidim, and every other Torah community will have ample representation at the event—and its various satellite locations around the globe—and modern communication has obliterated much of our geographical limitations as well. Radio Kol HaTorah (97.5 FM), and the Kol Halashon and FNW telephone hotlines will feature live hookups to the Yerushalayim event. There will also be full-scale individual satellite celebrations in Brooklyn (Bais Medrash Birchas Avraham), Lakewood (Cheder Bnei Torah), Monsey (Hamaspik Terrace), and the Catskills (Raleigh Hotel) from 2:00-4:00 p.m. local time.
Prominent local gedolim and community leaders will iy’H attend the local satellite events, along with a solid representation of their communities. Each of these events will feature an address from a local speaker, in addition to a hookup to the thousands of Yidden gathered in Yerushalayim, with English translation available.
The Lakewood event will have the particular honor of being attended by all roshei yeshiva, shlita, and addressed by HaRav HaGaon Malkiel Kotler, shlita. The Brooklyn event will be headlined by noted mechanech and speaker HaRav Hagaon Fishel Schachter, shlita. Noted Dirshu maggid shiur HaRav HaGaon Zev Smith, shlita, will headline the Catskills event.
Communities well beyond Yerushalayim and the New York metropolitan area will be able to partake in the gathering at live, local events of their own. At least seven communities in Eretz Yisrael, as well as London, Paris, and other transcontinental locations, will feature live events at local landmarks. The Torah Communications Network (TCN) will host satellite events in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Passaic, Montreal, and Toronto—as well as other communities throughout North America.
It may difficult for us to grasp the impact that this event will have on Heaven, as well as in the personal and spiritual lives of attendees and their families. Those who will follow the lead of an unprecedented cross section of our leaders, and thousands of devoted bnei Torah, will b’ezras Hashem derive inestimable merit in this world and the World to Come. v