Bnei yeshivah and avreichim gathered Motzoei Shabbos for a kinus of tefillah and chizuk, headed by Gedolei Yisrael, shlita, responding to the danger to the Torah world posed by the new government. The asifah was held in the Armonot Chen Halls in Bnei Brak, where the speeches were delivered. From there they were broadcast to dozens of locations throughout Eretz Yisrael.
The recital of Tehillim was led by Harav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, Rosh Yeshivah, Kiryas Melech.
Harav Dovid Cohen, Rosh Yeshivah, Chevron, quoted the Mashgiach of Mir, Harav Yeruchem Levovitz, zt”l, saying that when there was a decree against shechitah in Poland, Klal Yisrael needed to strengthen its observance of kashrus. Likewise, if there is a decree on Torah today, we need to strengthen ourselves in kabbalas ol Torah.
Harav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein also mentioned the need for chizuk in Torah, especially during bein hazmanim.
Harav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, Rosh Yeshivah, Slabodka, said that if we truly understood how dangerous the situation is, we would be walking around in fear and trepidation. But we go on with our lives as though nothing is amiss. We must realize the seriousness of the problem and increase learning.
All rose as, shlita, Harav Aharon Leib Steinman and Harav Chaim Kanievsky entered the hall.
“Am Yisrael is in a time of great trouble. We all know how serious this is,” Harav Steinman began. “After we have experienced several generations during which we were able to learn and teach Torah freely, and with Hashem’s help Torah has spread far and wide, suddenly this terrible decree has befallen us. We are sure that if people will have tzaar at this great chillul Hashem, then no one will be able to carry out [this plan].
“We must arouse Heavenly Mercy, daven and plead to Hakadosh Baruch Hu that we should be able to learn Torah all our lives, and that Torah should not move from our mouths and our children’s mouths forever … we must also increase our learning so that the zechus of Torah will stand in our stead that we should be able to overcome those who rise against us…”
Harav Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky, Mashgiach of Yeshivas Orchos Torah, delivered rousing words of hisorerus.
Harav Eliyahu Mann, one of the Roshei Yeshivah of Ohr Yisrael, delivered a message on behalf of Harav Kanievsky, quoting the Mishnah that anyone who accepts the burden of Torah is absolved of the burden of malchus: “At a time when they are trying to impose on us the ol malchus, we must know that the more ol Torah we will have, the more we will be absolved of this ol malchus. Even during bein hazmanim, the ol Torah does not lessen.”
Harav Kanievsky asked that each and every person take upon himself to add to his Torah learning, and called on everyone to strengthen themselves in inyanei kedushah: “In such a serious situation, everybody needs to strengthen themselves and their families in tznius and holiness.”
Harav Yaakov Hillel, Rosh Yeshivah, Ahavat Shalom, called bein hazmanim a zman when one must elevate oneself in Torah, especially at such a serious time.
The final speaker was the Mashgiach, Harav Don Segal, who cried that the holiness and purity of Am Yisrael throughout the generations was that they were separate from the nations, and urged us to keep that distance and preserve the loftiness of bnei Torah. As he his finished his passionate plea, he led the crowd in singing “Utzu eitzah vesufar” and “Ein od milvado.”