On Wednesday evening, 26 Nisan, the Belzer kehillah on Staten Island was privileged once again to host a special guest from Yerushalayim. Harav Shulem Rokeach, the oldest grandson of the Belzer Rebbe, shlita, visited the shtiebel and conducted a l’chaim.
The esteemed guest was in New York to address the Boro Park Belzer community in preparation for the upcoming new-building campaign for the Belzer yeshivah of Boro Park.
The 47-hour mega-campaign is being launched on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 14 and 15, and will fund the completion of the new yeshivah building, which is being constructed on 37th Street between 12th and 13th Avenues.
Thousands of Belzer Chassidim and their acquaintances, in addition to the general public from the tri-state area and abroad, are being galvanized to contribute to this massive campaign.
Harav Moshe Shteisil, Belzer Dayan of Staten Island, introduced Rav Rokeach to the Staten Island Belzer tzibbur by describing its uniqueness. Despite its relatively small population and the short duration of existence, the kehillah has been successful in purchasing a building for a beis medrash, drafting plans for a mikveh, establishing daily school bus transportation to Brooklyn, and much more.
This was only possible, said the Dayan, through the strong force of achdus and the shared mission and goals of every member of the community. It exhibits the common strong roots that Belzer Chassidim share, which they derive from being connected to the fountain of Torah and ruchniyus emanating from the Belzer Rebbes, zichronam livrachah, and from the current Rebbe, shlita.
The tzibbur was then honored to hear divrei Torah from Rav Rokeach. Rav Rokeach first expressed his admiration for the Dayan and the askanim who were successful in establishing the shtiebel and purchasing the premises. He elaborated on the topic of hashra’as haShechinah among Yidden in batei medrash.
In the week’s sedrah, the Torah says, “ki b’anan eiro’eh al hakapores,” that Hashem will reveal His presence on the Aron and Keruvim on Yom Kippur. He quoted the Mechilta in Parashas Yisro, that if there is no pure gold available to build the vessels of the Mishkan, silver may be used as a substitute. However, the Keruvim of the holy Aron are always to be constructed from pure gold, and can never be substituted with silver.
The Lubliner Rav, Harav Meir Shapiro, zt”l, said Rav Rokeach, explains this halachah as follows: The Gemara in Maseches Sukkah describes the Keruvim as having a face of children. This exemplifies the relationship of nevuah that occurred in the Beis Hamikdash and occurs with chinuch habanim.
Only when we care for the chinuch of our children can we have nevuah and hashra’as haShechinah. Chinuch and raising our young, which brings with it the Divine Presence, says the Lubliner Rav, requires the utmost purity, and cannot be substituted with anything less than stellar quality.
What we are witnessing today in the Staten Island Belzer shtiebel, concluded Rav Rokeach, is evident in high levels of hashra’as haShechinah. This is a result of our commitment to Torah, yiras Shamayim and chinuch, based on the foundations and mesorah of our great Rebbes.
May we be zocheh to continue this with ease and with brachos and hashpaos tovos b’gashmiyus ub’ruchniyus.
The tzibbur sang niggunim relating to Sefiras HaOmer, and completed the event with passionate dancing.