Over 500,000 Jews Worldwide Join in Special Day of Tefillah and Unity
It felt like Neilah on Yom Kippur! Tens of gedolei Yisrael pouring their hearts out in tefillah. Venerated rabbanim, reciting the 13 middos of rachamim, the words “Hashem, Hashem Kel rachum v’chanun” thundering against the silent backdrop of trees and weather-beaten matzeivos. Most of all it was the tears. The sight of the venerated gedolim not just weeping but shedding hot tears, begging Hashem for rachamei shamayim in the zechus of the Chofetz Chaim while standing at his kever was something impossible to forget.
An Unforgettable Spiritual Odyssey
The special tefillah journey of a delegation of senior gedolei Yisrael and rabbanim to the kever of the Chofetz Chaim and the Radin Yeshiva established by the Chofetz Chaim, and to the kever of the Avi Hayeshivos, Rav Chaim of Volozhin, in Volozhin, was a spiritual odyssey that will not be forgotten.
In truth, the tefillos at Radin were the climax of the unique worldwide yom tefillah and day of unity that was marked 24 Elul/September 8, the yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim.
In keeping with the words of the Gemara that “he who learns the Torah of a tzaddik has the ability to invoke Heavenly mercy in the tzaddik’s zechus, hundreds of thousands of Jews the world over engaged in learning the daily limud of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and the daily limud in the Sefer Chofetz Chaim. Others engaged in heartfelt recitation of Tehillim. Over 200,000 copies of the daily learning was distributed to yeshivos and shuls, over 120,000 to chadorim, with over 80,000 to girls’ schools and seminaries. In the United States and other diaspora locations, tefillos and learning the Chofetz Chaim’s sefarim took place on an unprecedented scope. In Brooklyn, large schools such as the Belzer Cheder and Yeshiva Tiferes Elimelech, learned and davened for klal Yisrael. In schools, yeshivos and chadorim throughout Lakewood, Monsey, Toronto, Los Angeles and even Houston, Texas, Sefer Chofetz Chaim and Tehillim were learned and recited on behalf of klal Yisrael. Even numerous businesses stopped in the middle of the workday and switched over to the real business of davening for klal Yisrael. Notable among them were Riverside Abstract, Madison Title and BP Graphics.
Moreover, over 50,000 people contacted Dirshu and accepted upon themselves to learn Mishnah Berurah as a result.
In addition, a targeted campaign of “Jewish Unity” to unaffiliated Jews through various mediums reached more than 500,000 people, urging them at this precarious time to take a few minutes to daven for the Jewish people.
Senior Gedolim Representing the Entire Cross-Section of Torah Jewry Participate
The trip featured the presence of numerous gedolei Yisrael, including HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Kiryas Melech in Bnei Brak, HaGaon HaRav Shimon Baadani, shlita, Rosh Kollel Torat Chaim and a member of the Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah, HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita, Skverer Dayan of Boro Park, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Eliezer Stern, shlita, Rav of Western Bnei Brak and talmid muvhak of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Wosner, zt”l, HaGaon HaRav Simcha Hakohen Kook, shlita, Chief Rabbi of Rechovot, HaGaon HaRav Dovid Alter, shlita, son of the Gerer Rebbe, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Kanievsky, shlita, son of HaGaon HaRav Chaim, Kanievsky, shlita, and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Tiferes Tzion and Kiryas Melech, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Bransdorfer, shlita, Dayan of the Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok community of Beit Shemesh and a son of the senior posek, HaGaon HaRav Meir Bransdorfer, zt”l, HaGaon HaRav Menachem Ernster, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Vizhnitzer Yeshiva and brother-in-law to the Admorim of Vizhnitz, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Shmuel Shechter, shlita, Sanz-Klausenberger Dayan of Netanya, HaGaon HaRav Raphael Alkarif, shlita, and many others.
The group of gedolim left Eretz Yisrael on a chartered plane late Monday night, 23 Elul/September 7. After landing in Minsk they journeyed to Radin. After arriving in Radin, Selichos, Shacharis and a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiur—the daily Mishnah Berurah and Mussar program—was held in the beis medrash of the Radin Yeshiva. In that holy place where the Chofetz Chaim left his indelible impact, where the walls were saturated with words of Torah and tefillah from the pre-Holocaust kedoshim, tefillos of gedolei Torah once more rose to the heavens. The Torah indeed, the Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter remarked, “I don’t know if there was ever a time since the churban of Europe where the beis medrash of the Radin Yeshiva was so packed with great talmidei chachamim engaged in Torah and tefillah!”
Expanded coverage of this historic trip, the messages of the gedolei Yisrael and other highlights will appear in the Sukkos edition of this paper.
The above is sponsored content provided by Dirshu.
By Chaim Gold