Yeshiva Toras Chaim Alumni Melava Malka 5784
Much excitement has built up in anticipation of our yeshiva’s annual melava malka, which was held on a recent Motzoei Shabbos in Lakewood. Boruch Hashem, the melava malka was everything we could have dreamed of and more.
The yeshiva has hosted melava malkas in years past. This year’s program, entitled “Next Level — a New Era,” was different in that the event was held in Lakewood. This allowed many East Coast-based alumni, as well as Yeshiva Toras Chaim talmidim now learning in Bais Medrash Govoha, to join.
The participation of current talmidei hayeshiva and recent talmidim gave the evening a distinctive flair, and allowed Yeshiva Toras Chaim parents and alumni to witness the yeshiva in action and see firsthand the frishkeit and ahavas haTorah. Many parents left amazed at the unique energy that pulsated through the evening.
The melava malka began with Tehillim, l’zechus those in Eretz Yisroel, led by Rav Ahron Yisroel Wasserman. Rav Dovid Nussbaum, commenced the program, welcoming everyone, and noting how energizing it is to see that talmidim from different age groups and locations, from Lakewood to Los Angeles, come in to attend the melava malka.
He thanked those whose efforts were instrumental in bringing about the beautiful melava malka including Rav Ahron Boruch Kagan and Rav Chezky Schonfeld, who invested time and resources into ensuring that the yeshiva’s alumni association has stayed strong over the years, and his brother-in-law, Rav Ahron Yisroel Wasserman for his constant devotion to ensuring the yeshiva’s vibrancy even as it heads well past it’s Yovel anniversary.
Rav Dovid Nussbaum gave an overview about the current “state of affairs” of the Yeshiva. “I walk into a seder any time of the day” he said, “and the kol Torah, the rischa d’Oraysa is thunderous, I tremble from just being in the bais medrash!” he exclaimed. “The hasmadah of these bochurim is a siman of the ongoing hashrasha of the roshei yeshiva” he said, quoting the midrash, “Atem bonei v’ani avichem”. The semel and dugmah of a manhig is that of an av l’ben, – that is the fundamental ingredient – and that fatherly shaychus is one that we were zocheh to have all the years with the roshei yeshiva.”
On that note, he introduced the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Yitzchok Wasserman Shlit’a, who made a special effort to attend this year’s event, and whose presence was the highlight of the evening. Rebbetzin Wasserman, who is like a mother to so many of the bochurim, always making sure that the needs of the bochurim are met in addition to hosting them for seudos throughout the year, came in as well. She delightfully greeted the talmidim and their wives, more than 70 of whom participated in the event.
The rosh yeshiva, as he spoke with obvious nachas about the tremendous simcha it is for him to see so many talmidim gathered, and what a siman tov it is for him personally to see alumni who are today choshuve marbitzei Torah and all those who are being successful in what they do.
The rosh yeshiva’s address was followed by a speech from Rav Yisroel Neuman, rosh yeshiva of Beis Medrash Govoha, who spoke about the tremendous hakaras hatov talmidim need to have to the roshei yeshiva for all they did for the talmidim throughout the years. Rav Neuman indulged the audience with a personal vignette, reminiscing that when he came to Lakewood yeshiva, our roshei yeshiva, Harav Yisroel Meir Kagan Shlit’a and HaRav Yitzchok Wasserman Shlit’a – were from the older, respected talmidim of the Lakewood yeshiva. “Today” said Rav Yisroel Neuman, “they are from the ziknei talmidei Rav Ahron”.
Rav Ahron Boruch Kagan then spoke about the special feeling of having so many talmidim together, summing up the sentiment of those present when he proclaimed that “we all have one name, we are talmidim of Yeshiva Toras Chaim!”
Rav Yaakov Kamentesky, quoted the Chofetz Chaim, who stressed the importance of yeshivos, “Yeshivos are the pulse and the heartbeat of Klal Yisroel, and when Yeshivos are doing well, then the heart of Klal Yisroel is k’nocking.” he said, adding that the greatest form of hochzokas haTorah is to support a Yeshiva. When people come together to show their support, that gives a tremendous chizuk for the yeshiva.
Building on the dynamism of the evening, Reb Shui Schmuckler spoke about his recent experience visiting the yeshiva.
“I walked into the building, and was immediately greeted by the scene of bochurim; just looking at them you can see how happy they are to be in the yeshiva! They’re learning with geshmak! You feel and you understand the vibe of someone so happy to be where they are!” he exclaimed, reveling in the yeshiva’s success. “I don’t think that there are any beds left in the dorm, there’s no room in the bais medrash left, and the brand new otzar haseforim is beautiful!” he said.
Spontaneously, Reb Shui suggested that we – Denver talmidim – rededicate ourselves to ensuring the next half a century of the yeshiva is just as fresh and invigorating as the first 50 years. “Why are we not talking about a new building?” he asked. “There’s a piece of land right next door – why are we not starting a building campaign? Nobody asked me to say this, but what’s the plan for growth? The Yeshiva is vibrant and growing. My brocha is that Yeshiva should continue growing, and iy’h we should join back together for the cutting of the ribbon of the new building!”
As Reb Shui finished his remarks, the hundreds of talmidim and members of the Yeshiva Toras Chaim family joined one another in song and dance, the participants gathering around and dancing with their cherished rabbeim and dearest friends in an awesome display of ahavas haTorah. It was the climax to a most beautiful event, one that encapsulated the ruach of the yeshiva back in Denver and allowed its talmidim and supporters to taste the sweetness once again.
After lining up to wish the rosh yeshiva and hanhalah members a gut voch and receive their brocha, participants left clutching not only the special memento prepared for them on their way out, but also the warmest of memories that had come roaring back to life, all from one incredible evening that they were zocheh to be a part of.