Lakewood, NJ - Thousands Throng To Lakewood For Azkara For R' Aharon Kotler Zt'l (photos-video)
Last updated on: November 19, 2012 12:54 AM
Lakewood, NJ - Tens of thousands turned out to honor the fiftieth yahrtzeit of Reb Aharon Kotler at a special event that took place this afternoon in Lakewood and was the culmination of three days worth of commemorative programming.
The program, which took place on Seventh Street and Private Way at the former location of Bais Eliyahu, began with Mincha followed by divrei Torah offered by various rabbonim including Harav Menachem Juni, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Kesser Torah in Mexico, who delivered opening remarks. Rav Malkiel Kotler spoke about his grandfather’s passion for learning and Rav Uren Reich compared R’ Aharon’s drive and determination to the biblical burning bush, which burned brightly but was never consumed.
Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel of the Yeshiva Gedola of South Fallsburg discussed R’ Aharon’s approach of incorporating sweetness as part of Torah study and Rav Matisyahu Salomon praised R’ Aharon’s dedication to re-establishing Torah study as a goal in and of itself. Simultaneous English translation was available on a call in number for those divrei Torah that were given in Yiddish.
“My Rebbe, R’ Chaim Stein zt’l, was once on an airplane with Abraham Joshua Heschel of the Conservative movement,” said one talmid at the Telzer Yeshiva. “Heschel told my Rosh Yeshiva, ‘You know, we would have won here in America, if it weren’t for that one person, Kotler.’ I heard it myself.”
Streets were closed off in honor of the event and outdoor bathrooms and refreshment tents, boosting fifteen thousand pounds of cake and rugelach were available for attendees.
“It seems like the whole police force was out in charge of security,” remarked to VIN News one bochur , who learns at Beis Medrash Govoha.
Tehillim were recited in light of the current situation in Eretz Yisroel and this afternoon’s festivities included a special four screen video presentation about R’ Aharon’s life and legacy.
Ralph Herzka, who spoke at the groundbreaking of the new Binayn Herzka, recalled his mother’s dedication sixty years ago, allowing her husband the opportunity to learn with R’ Aharon in the early 1950’s.
The culmination of today’s events was a hachnasas Sefer Torah dedicated by the Rennert family, amid singing and dancing, with Reb Shimon Glick detailing the continued efforts of the Rennert family to help R’ Aharon realize his dream of building Torah in America, adding, “we must continue to build.”
Photos Credit Shimon Gifter/VINNews
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