On Sunday evening, March 12, family and community members gathered for a meaningful fourth yahrzeit commemoration of Rabbi Eyakim Rosenblatt zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshiva Kesser Torah. Rabbi Avraham Dovid Garber, rav of Kesser Torah, welcomed everyone in person and on Zoom. First, Dr. Rick Shields, well-known nutritionist and speaker, shared a heartfelt remembrance on Zoom. He related that, in his Gemara shiur, Rabbi Rosenblatt would start by saying, “Where are we holding?” He soon turned this question into a spiritual nigun that he sang to his talmidim in the beginning of shiur. The literal meaning was: Where are we holding in the Gemara daf, but the deeper question was: Where are we holding in life? This question has stayed with his talmidim for all these years.

Next, Moshe Rosenblatt, a son of Rabbi Rosenblatt, began, “I can’t believe it’s already the fourth yahrzeit of my father.” He shared how he receives phone calls to this day telling him how much chizuk his father gave – or is still giving through his shiurim on TorahAnytime. Someone recently called and said that he needed chizuk and he put on TorahAnytime and listened to his father. The man told Moshe, “You don’t know how much chizuk your father gave me.” Rabbi Rosenblatt continues to give chizuk. “My father was the epitome of a person who left this world b’shalem. He didn’t waste a minute. He learned night and day and he spread Yiddishkeit together with my mother. He dedicated his life to building b’nei Torah and he left a legacy of generations of b’nei Torah.”

Following this, Yaakov Rosenblatt, another son of Rabbi Rosenblatt, shared that it is a beautiful opportunity to commemorate his father’s yahrzeit, and he thanked Rabbi Garber for his tremendous chesed in keeping the migdal or that is Kesser Torah – keeping the light shining for the entire world. Behind that, he said, is his mother, Rebbetzin Trani Rosenblatt, who is moseir nefesh in continuing the beautiful Yeshiva Kesser Torah going. He shared that his father had a unique way of communicating lessons that still sit in each of his talmidim today, so many years later. “My parents were able to be m’chazeik and to raise talmidim in atypical ways.” He noted how his father stressed song and dance. There was always a dance at the end of a seudah, and the last song would aways be Yerushalayim.

His constant positivity and painstaking attention to each person was unique, especially at that time. He was genuine and his approach was effective. “My father wasn’t afraid to do things in a different way, because he knew that this was the way to reach the tzibur. His love was felt right back.”

In the area of y’giah in Torah, it didn’t matter what level his student was on. What mattered to him was we have to be m’chazeik this person. He emphasized toiling in Torah. His talmidim had to come out with clarity and they had to know the p’shat. They had siddurim in Ramban and Chayei Adam, which is not typical in a yeshivah. There was a focus of acquiring the truth and the right derech to help his talmidim to gain skills.

Yaakov then shared a d’var Torah about Betzalel. Betzalel understood that you needed to build the Mishkan before you build the vessels, and he knew this even though Moshe thought they should build the Mishkan first. Yaakov quoted a shiur that his father used to quote from Rav Henoch Leibowitz zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim on the question of how Betzalel knew this. He had two answers. The first answer is that Betzalel had ruach ha’kodesh. The second answer is from a midrash that says that he got his insight through y’giah b’Torah. Through his hard, strong efforts in learning Torah, it enabled his mind to discern the correct answer.

“If one toils in Torah, it becomes part of him.” This idea was emphasized at Yeshiva Kesser Torah. Talmidim were taught to understand and to apply that knowledge. Rabbi Rosenblatt had the midah of humility. “My father is still very much alive,” Yaakov stated. “I get those calls of thanks all the time.” He concluded, “The impact of Yeshiva Kesser Torah continues to grow. The minyanim are tremendous chesed for klal Yisrael. It’s a mekom Torah with slow, heartfelt davening, and it’s a place to really connect to Hashem.” Yaakov thanked the entire Kesser Torah community. It should be a z’chus to the G’ulah Sh’leimah.

Then, Rabbi Avraham Dovid Garber shared a d’var Torah that taught that if a person has confidence (emunah) and a positive attitude, then Hashem will help him to accomplish. Rabbi Rosenblatt instilled confidence in the talmidim who came to Yeshiva Kesser Torah. He helped them to use their abilities to become b’nei Torah. He pointed out that at every simchah, the Rosh Yeshivah would require each of them to share a d’var Torah. “He made us understand shiurim and he called everyone ‘Rabbeinu.’”

Rabbi Garber noted, “He taught us to use our natural talents to serve Hashem.” His influence has reached to his talmidim’s children and grandchildren. Many are involved in kiruv. The Kesser Torah beis midrash is open thanks to Rebbetzin Rosenblatt, and people learn here every day. We hope to expand with shiurim here, too.

He concluded with life lessons he learned from Rabbi Rosenblatt that have impacted his life and the lives of so many. We always have to battle the yeitzer ha’ra. We have to make sure our outside matches our inside. We shouldn’t do things for show. It’s important to have kavanah on the inside and not to show others. We should never say it’s all from me, I did it. We should realize there is no such thing as a society of “diers” and that death doesn’t apply to me. So, we have to strive to live a life as meaningful as possible.

He then shared a favorite mashal that Rabbi Rosenblatt used to share from the Chofetz Chaim. The lesson was that the real currency in our world are the jewels of mitzvos, Torah learning, and helping others, and these are the things we should focus on in life. These are the reasons for creation, and we should not let ourselves be distracted looking to acquire material things. “There are so many messages he imbued in us. He had an amazing magical way of teaching. His influence continues for doros.”

The finale of the program was a video of Rabbi Rosenblatt sharing divrei Torah. It was special to see him on the video. The conclusion of the evening was Rabbi Rosenblatt singing his signature nigunim on the video. Everyone left inspired and humming the beautiful melodies.

 By Susie Garber