Hundreds of bochurim from across Russia gathered in the town of Lubavitch for an impressive ceremony dedicating the newly rebuilt ‘Zal’ together with a hachnasas Sefer Torah, three brissin and a pidyon haben.
It has been many decades since the town of Lubavitch has seen a celebration the likes of the one held there this past week to mark two important days on the Chabad calendar: Tes Vov Elul, the anniversary of the founding of Tomchei Tmimim, and Chai Elul, the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov and Alter Rebbe.
The events were held chiefly in the ‘chotzer’ of the Rebbeim in Lubavitch, the headquarters of Lubavitcher Chassidus for over 100 years. The chotzer was the location of the homes of the Rebbeim of Chabad, as well as of the original Tomchei Tmimim Yeshiva which was founded 126 years ago, and has since spread to locations around the world.
Kicking off the weekend of events was a special visit for supporters of Chabad in Russia, headed by Rabbi Alexander Barada, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.
For Shabbos, many more guests arrived, headed by shliach Rabbi Yitzchok Kogan, director of Agudas Chassidei Chabad of the Former Soviet Union. The tefilos on Shabbos were held in the shul adjacent to the Ohel of the Tzemach Tzedek and Rebbe Maharash, and emotions ran high.
The highlight of the weekend was on Sunday erev Chai Elul. Headed by Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia, the day began with three brissin for two Yidden from Vitebsk, who came with their shliach Rabbi Malkiel Gorgodze, and for a Yid from Oryol, who came with his shliach Rabbi Aleksandr Grishin.
A festive and grand celebration was then held, celebrating the dedication of the ‘Zal’ and of a new Sefer Torah, dedicated by philanthropist R’ Yitzchak Mirilashvili, through the efforts of Rabbi Moshe Shilat and Rabbi Moshe Rubin. A joyous procession escorted the new Torah towards the newly rebuilt Zal, and chassidim were once again dancing in the streets of Lubavitch.
At the conclusion of the hachnasas Sefer Torah, a grand Hakhel and farbrengen was held, attended by over 400 bochurim from across Russia. The bochurim arrived in a fleet of buses to join the exhilarating event in honor of Chai Elul and as a fitting conclusion to the year of Hakhel.
The farbrengen was held in the hall of the newly rebuilt Yeshiva building and was joined by rabbonim, roshei yeshiva and mashpi’im.
Yet another mitzvah was performed during the farbrengen, when Rabbi Kogan held a pidyon haben for no less than five first-born men who never had the chance to do so. Philanthropist Mr. Dovid Aminov also offered a few words, extending his best wishes to all the participants. The farbrengen then continued late into the night of Chai Elul.
The entire weekend and all events were organized by Rabbi Gavriel Gordon, dedicated shliach to Lubavitch who is charged with the upkeep of its holy sites.