KAVOD SHOMAYIM: Over 25,000 Gather for Kavod HaTorah as Adirei HaTorah Event Proclaims the Glory of Our Yungerleit

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KAVOD SHOMAYIM: Over 25,000 Gather for Kavod HaTorah as Adirei HaTorah Event Proclaims the Glory of Our Yungerleit

By Avi Shiff

How could it top last year’s event?

That was the question on everyone’s mind. After all, the first Adirei HaTorah asifa one year ago was an extraordinary maamad that left all attendees deeply inspired. What would the second time be like?

As it turned out, this year’s asifa turned out to be just as extraordinary, if not more so, than last year’s.

25,000+ people came out strong, united, and with one goal: to proclaim the glory of our nation’s yungeleit, the Adirei HaTorah.

It was an incredible, historical life-changing event, truly exceptional in every way.

For weeks, many have been reading about the highly anticipated Adirei HaTorah event, and finally – finally – the night was here. There was a tremendous demand for tickets to the sold-out event, with people frantically seeking entry.

The buses pulled up from across the tri-state area, transporting thousands to the event at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. People came from around the country and beyond, Chicago, LA, Arizona, as far as England and even a group from Mexico. 

At 7:00 pm most of the attendees had arrived. Guests were taking in the scene of a sports arena normally bedecked in sports related signs and slogans, instead bearing statements and mottos expressing klal yisroel’s admiration for their yungerleit. “Together we will celebrate the yungerman and his Torah”, and “We Are Here for Kavod HaTorah” were emblazoned across the various electronic screens in the arena.

Upon entering the building, a light buffet was served for those who had traveled the long distance to attend. In the arena itself, immediately grabbing the attention of participants and crowning the room was the massive and regal looking dais, with seating for approximately 800 Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim and Roshei Chabura.

By the time the program began, every seat in the arena, including every balcony and concourse, in addition to thousands of additional seats on the floor, was occupied.

Fittingly, the seats on the floor of the arena couldn’t be purchased. They were reserved for yungeleit who have been learning at Beth Medrash Govoha for many years. Appropriately, the best seats in the house were given to those who were being feted this evening, the lomdei Torah who hold up our world.

The program began with Tehillim led by Rav Chaim Ginsburg, longtime Rosh Chaburah at Beth Medrash Govoha.

Immediately thereafter, the music began, and the crowd sang and danced for several minutes; an absolutely exhilarating beginning to what would be an unforgettable event. The building practically shook as the Roshei Hayeshiva were so warmly and enthusiastically welcomed, in an  awesome display of kavod haTorah to those upon whose shoulders the entire Yeshiva stands.

The Ma’amad was graced by the presence of Harav Dov Landau Shlit”a, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Slabodka of Bnei Brak and Harav Meir Tzvi Bergman shlit”a, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Rashbi in Bnei Brak who were the two special guests from Eretz Yisroel who flew in for the event.

During his opening statements, Rabbi Yosef Heinemann remarked that “we are telling the world at large, that each and every yungerman’s Torah and ameilus baTorah are what sustain and hold up the world.” He added in the name of the Chofetz Chaim, “It is your Torah that brings the brocha and shefa to Klal Yisroel.”

Rabbi Heinemann introduced the Rosh Hayeshiva, Harav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler shlit”a , and the crowd broke out into singing Yomim Al Yemei Melech Tosif in his honor.

During his remarks, Harav Malkiel Kotler Shlit”a announced an increase in the checks of the kollel yungeleit, thanks to the generosity of the Adirei HaTorah supporters.

Following the Rosh Hayeshivas remarks, a video was shown of various gedolei Torah, including Dayan Aharon Dovid Dunner, Rav Elimelech Biderman and Rav Rav Elya Brudny, expressing their support for the Bais Medrash Govoah yungeleit and the Adirei HaTorah initiative.

The arena grew silent as Harav Meir Tzvi Bergman shlit”a, approached the dais, everyone quietly recited “Hamakom yenacheim eschem,” offering nechamah to the rosh yeshiva upon the passing of his son this past week.

Harav Meir Tzvi Shlit”a opened his remarks by noting the recent passing of Rav Gershon Edelstein zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh, adding that he himself was in the middle of shivah following the petirah of his son, Rav Ezriel Zt”l. It was an astounding display of kavod haTorah and personal strength for the rosh yeshiva to note Klal Yisroel‘s loss of the gadol hador before even mentioning his own personal tzarah.

Toward the end of his message, Harav Meir Tzvi Shlit”a, remarked that there are so many singles in Klal Yisroel seeking zivugim. In a message that he repeated in English, he said in the name of his father-in-law, the Gadol Hador, Harav Elazar Menachem Man Shach zt”l, that reciting Birkas Hamazon from inside a bentcher is a zechus for a shidduch.

Following a video featuring a bracha from Chacham Yosef Harari Raful, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ateret Torah, several heartfelt niggunim were sung.

At that point, a Siyum Hashas on Talmud Bavli and Talmud Yerushalmi, learned b’iyun by the yungeleit of Beth Medrash Govoha, was celebrated, with the Hadran being recited by HaRav Yisroel Neuman Shlit”a, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha. As HaRav Yisroel Shlit”a approached the podium, the crowd broke out into song, singing Yomim in his honor. As HaRav Yisroel Shlit”a recited the Hadran, he grew emotional, crying with each timeless word, imparting such a profound message with each krechtz and each carefully enunciated word.

Brief remarks were then delivered by the Rosh Yeshiva, Harav Dovid Schustal Shlit”a, as he stressed the power of the moment, followed by which he recited the Kaddish for the siyum. The building shook with the Amen Yeshi Sheme Rabba displaying the intensity and feelings of the entire crowd.

With the answer of the final Amen, with a cry of Mazel Tov!, the crowd erupted with pure undiluted Joy and simchas haTorah and danced with the fervor reserved for times like simchas torah. With eye closed, hand in hand, joining together in this awesome feeling of Ain simcha kesimchas haTorah. 

An inspiring video was then shown of various rabbonim speaking about the chashivus of the yungeleit.

The keynote drasha was then delivered by Rav Elya Chaim Swerdloff, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah of Paterson. At one point, Rav Swerdloff remarked in the name of the Chofetz Chaim that a machzik Torah, even if he is an am haaretz, in the future will ultimately be zocheh to know Torah as well. Such is the zechus and power of supporting lomdei Torah.

Divrei bracha were then delivered by Harav Yeruchem Olshin Shlit”a as he stressed the importance of taking home a Kaabala to cement and keep this chizuk and hisorerus alive in our hearts. He also mentioned the zechusim of the Rosh HaYeshiva Rav Aharon Kotler Zt”l on whose zechusim we are all standing here tonight, followed by Kabbolas Ohl Malchus Shomayim and Maariv.

As the thousands made their way to the exits with music filling the arena, the feeling was one of kavod and reverence for the yungeleit. They devote their every day – and lovingly sacrifice so much – to make the study of Torah their life, not just uplifting themselves, but enriching their communities and the wider world with the unparalleled power of Torah.

It was an evening no one could forget; forever etched into the hearts of the young and old. Inspired, uplifted, and charged to keep this remarkable mission going.