(Pictured to the right: Rav Mattisyahu Salomon and Rabbi Pinchas Stolper, in a photo I took 3 feet away from them)
I had the incredible opportunity this past Sunday, May 7th, to join about 1200 other Jews to celebrate in the dedication of the new home of Congregation Adas Yeshurun Anshe Kanesses Israel (West Rogers Park, Chicago) and the Hachnassas Sefer Torah, of a Torah that has been in the family of the shul’s Rabbi, Rabbi Zev Cohen, for over 102 years. It seemed that for the Chicago Tribune this was the hightlight of the day, as evident here:http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0605080206may08,1,4753021.story
It was a beautful event that started with a five block procession full of music, dancing, and true simcha, and ended with words of chizuck from Rav Salomon. The Tribune, which did a great job covering the monumentous event, didn’t see what I saw. They did have a picture in paper of Rav Salomon (stating that he was venerated) but that was the only reference to him. The Tribune was kind enough to quote me, though. Sadly they opted not to print everything I said.
What they didn’t print was that as incredible as it was to see boys from Skokie Yeshiva dancing with boys from Telshe, as great as it was to see so many people come out to show unity for the one thing that unites all Jews, the Torah, it was just as great that Rav Salomon came to Chicago to attend the simcha.
My six year old and I were there right when he came outside to go under the chuppah and start the march up Sacramento towards Touhey. As Rav Mattisyah went under the chuppah, countless children, including my son, came up and gave him a Shalom Alechiem. He smiled at each child and extended his hand numerous times.
As the Mashgiach walked, flanked by Rabbi Cohen and Rabbi Stolper (Rabbi Cohen’s father-in-law), I could see true simcha in his face. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “How cool is this. I’m dancing literally 3-4 feet away from the Mashgiach of Lakewood. In his hands is a Torah that has survived our darkest hours in recent history. This Torah has been in America since 1906 and watched Torah Judaism blossom”. I watched how carefully he took each step, holding all that we all hold so dear in our hearts…the Torah. I watched him smile, shake hands, and speak of how important limud Torah is and how we must remember this day and what it mean to us and our children. A true Adam Gadol in every sense of the word.
To attend Sunday’s event was an honor. To have Rav Mattisyahu Salomon attend was a koved for the community. To attend it with by son, unforgetable.
A Special thanks to Blogger Rafi G, for linking my blog to his post on Sunday’s event.