The date of Erev Chanukah will never be the same for Klal Yisrael the world over.
Our Nation will never forget this date — a time that the pure neshamah of the Gadol Hador, Hagaon Harav Aharon Leib Shteinman, zt”l, ascended to the World of Truth, following 103 years of illuminating this world with his Torah, and singular yiras Shamayim and middos tovos.
As we approached one year since this monumental loss, an idea occurred to a certain individual: to dedicate a sefer Torah l’zecher nishmas Rav Shteinman, to be used by bachurim who spend their days and nights in the toil of Torah, just as the Gadol taught and espoused during his decades at the helm of Klal Yisrael’s leadership.
Mesivta Tiferes Yochanan of Yeshiva Karlin Stolin — an institution with close to seven decades of harbotzas haTorah with utmost purity — would be the fortunate, and fitting, new home for this historic sefer Torah.
Anyone who has heard anything about — or perhaps anyone who has been fortunate to visit — the home of the Gadol could not have missed a primary feature of his greatness. The vessel in which his kol Torah was carried, the vehicle for his shepherding Klal Yisrael, with his staunch, unwavering commitment, was his deep humility. Who can ever forget the sparsely furnished apartment, the old wooden table — testament to the fact that Rav Shteinman did not care for much of anything other than Torah and kvod Shamayim?
This was a recurring theme mentioned at the seudas mitzvah — highlighting the unique journey that the sefer Torah has made to a number of Gedolim, including Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, and Hagaon Harav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, solely in order to increase kvod haTorah and kvod Shamayim; l’zecher nishmas Rav Shteinman.
Thus, the immense joy that was seen on the chilly streets of Boro Park in the hours preceding Chanukah can be traced directly to the purity of Rav Shteinman’s ahavas haTorah.
As hundreds of talmidei hayeshivah — from the preschool, elementary school, mesivta, beis medrash; and the distinguished lomdim in the kollelim — danced euphorically with the Torah toward its new home, a special level of simchah could be sensed everywhere, with hours of more lively dancing inside the heichal hayeshivah.
Perhaps it has something to do with its connection to the Gadol Hador to whom it is a tribute, whose memory, inspiration and legacy will never leave Klal Yisrael, from Bnei Brak to Boro Park.