On Motza’ei Shabbos, December 7, community members, local rabbanim, alumni of Yeshiva Kesser Torah, and supporters of the Yeshiva gathered at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills for an inspiring melaveh malkah in memory of the Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Elyakim Getzel Rosenblatt zt”l. Rabbi Rosenblatt’s beautiful nigunim brought smiles to all the attendees. Mr. Michael Septimus and Mr. Michael Poulad kept the music going.
Rabbi Avraham Dovid Garber welcomed everyone and acted as MC. First, Rabbi Henach Savitsky, rav of Machzikei Hadas, spoke. “Rabbi Rosenblatt wanted to create a place where Jews could talk to the Ribono shel Olam.” He lamented, “We miss Rabbi Rosenblatt’s singing tonight.”
Rabbi Savitsky noted that the purpose of davening is drawing close to Hashem and that He will accept our t’filos. “Rabbi Rosenblatt sat learning every day in Yeshiva Kesser Torah. He took so much time making sure that his talmidim understood the Gemara he was teaching.” He taught his talmidim to daven properly and to don a jacket and hat to show kavod when you are praying.
He continued, “We know davening with a minyan is so important. Yeshiva Kesser Torah provides a minyan during the week almost every half hour or so until 12:30 at night. The biggest nechamah for the Rosh HaYeshiva is if Kesser Torah continues to grow as a makom of Torah and t’filah. Baruch Hashem, it is continuing strong in both.”
Yeshiva Kesser Torah is unique in our neighborhood as it bears the imprint of Rabbi Rosenblatt. He created a makom Torah where everyone feels welcome. Sefardim, Ashkenazim, chasidim, beginners, everyone comes together here, and there is a true feeling of achdus. Rabbi Rosenblatt always stressed that what is inside is what matters; he didn’t look for any emphasis on externals. A shul member shared, “Yeshiva Kesser Torah is a mirror of what Hashem wants, accepting all Jews and not judging by anything external.
Rabbi Shimon Yisroel Siegel spoke next. He shared, “I was a talmid of Rabbi Rosenblatt 30 years ago in Briarwood.” I was introduced to Rabbi Rosenblatt by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. I walked into the Yeshiva in 1983; there I met people who would become my best friends. With the guidance of Rabbi Rosenblatt and his rebbetzin and their three children, my friends at the Yeshiva and I found our place in klal Yisrael through the rav’s shmuezim in the beis midrash, davening in the Yeshiva, Shabbos meals, and being in the vicinity of a living sefer Torah. We were all impressed. He left an indelible mark. He helped us find our true purpose in life.”
Rabbi Siegel noted that when the Torah tells us that Yaakov left, it was to teach us that when a tzadik leaves, he leaves a mark. When a tzadik is in town, he’s the hod, the ziv, and the hadar. We should notice what we have while we have it. We all need to do this. Hod is something praiseworthy. What is praiseworthy in a tzadik is his yir’as Shamayim. The ziv is aura; the wisdom of a tzadik makes his face glow. When the Rosh HaYeshiva said chidushim – or his talmidim said chidushim – there was a twinkle in his eye, a glow. Hadar is honor. What is the honor of a mentch? It is his humility. Honor everyone around you and you will be honored.” All these three characteristics were exemplified by Rabbi Rosenblatt.
“Rabbi Rosenblatt paid no attention to the trappings of this world. He had one focus: to learn and to teach Torah and bring klal Yisrael close to Hashem.”
Rav Noach Isaac Oelbaum shlita, rav of Khal Nachlas Yitzchok, stated at Rabbi Rosenblatt’s levayah, “When a leader of a community, the rav of a k’hilah, dies, it’s a tragedy for the entire community.” Rav Oelbaum met Rabbi Rosenblatt 45 years ago. “Rabbi Rosenblatt was an energetic, ambitious man of many talents. He was a talmid chacham, a rosh ha’yeshivah, a magid shiur, a speaker, and a mashpia.” He was m’kareiv so many Jews to a life of Torah and mitzvos. He used all of his talents to give nachas to Hashem.” When a person has talents,” Rav Oelbaum taught, “he has a responsibility to use those talents to serve Hashem.” If he doesn’t use them to serve Hashem, then Hashem will take them away. Rabbi Rosenblatt quoted Rav Henoch Leibowitz zt”l, former Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, very frequently. Rav Henoch taught that “to succeed in harbatzas Torah you have to love Jews.” If you don’t have sensitivity to another Yid, you won’t succeed. Rav Oelbaum stressed, “You need ahavas ha’briyos. Rabbi Rosenblatt loved Jews. This is why he established Yeshiva Kesser Torah. Look what he accomplished. Yeshiva Kesser Torah is a magnet attracting Jews from all different places and backgrounds. There are continuous minyanim here. This should be a nechamah for his soul.”
Mr. Robbie Neuman spoke next. He said that Hashem should give brachah to the Rebbetzin and her family, and he fervently urged everyone to remember that the Rosh HaYeshiva gave brachah to all of us, so please continue to help Yeshiva Kesser Torah. Donate please. Send donations to:
Yeshiva Kesser Torah, 72-11 Vleigh Place, Kew Gardens Hills, NY 11367.
The evening concluded with a siyum mishnayos by Rabbi Rosenblatt’s son, Moshe Rosenblatt, followed by a stirring grand rikud.
By Susie Garber