This past month, Heichal talmidim were privileged to hear inspirational and apropos messages tied to important days in Iyar on the Jewish calendar. Heichal Mashpia Rabbi Chaim Marcus, speaking on Yom HaShoah, discussed the recollections of Rav Hershel Schacter z”l (great-grandfather of Yonah Tarzik, Heichal ‘21) when he took part in the liberation of Buchenwald. Rabbi Marcus reminded the boys of the message Rabbi Schachter delivered to the Buchenwald survivors, charging them with the role to represent the continuity of Torah and Am Yisrael. This message, decades ago, gave the survivors hope for the future and, retold now, conveyed to the Heichal students an ever-present need to contribute to the continuity of their heritage.
The following week, Stem Principal Dr. Joel Berman, addressed the significance of Yom Hazikaron, bringing history alive with riveting stories of his time serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. Dr. Berman noted the tremendous Divine Providence that he felt during his time in service. Dr. Berman remembered the kind Lubavitcher chassid who went from soldier to soldier putting on tefillin and making brachot with them, later, unfortunately, losing his life under a Syrian artillery bombardment. Those same tefillin were found by the chassid’s own mother in Southern Lebanon months after borders were secure, and offered to a wounded soldier from the infantry unit her son had davened with just months before.
Finally, on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, mesmerized the entire yeshiva with an uplifting message about the meaningfulness of the day, bringing to life the miraculous nature of the birth of the State of Israel and its tangible and extraordinary impact it continues to have on the lives of Jews worldwide. Rebbeim and talmidim felt that the moving presentation added an inspired nuance to how they viewed the day and underscored the great importance of having a Jewish homeland.