This year, there was an added element of drama during hakafos
The hakafos on Simchas Torah with the Gaavad of Yerushalayim, Rav Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, are always heavy with emotion. The Gaavad sings the niggunim of his revered rebbi, Rav Moshe Schneider of London ztz”l, and leads the hakafos as they were led in the yeshivah of a different time.
This year, there was an added element of drama as the assembled talmidim sang the traditional niggunim: The Gaavad, 94, was among the first wave of those to be struck with, and recover from, the coronavirus.
But then the bidding for the hakafah of Ozer Dalim began and the numbers started flying in earnest, bochurim outdoing each other in the pledges of blatt to be learned during the coming year. Finally, the heated auction reached a peak, with two bochurim joining together and committing to learning three thousand blatt. The Gaavad, overcome with respect, rose to his feet and started a more contemporary song, “Ashreichem Talmidei Chachamim,” expressing wonder at the fact that bochurim in 2020 have nothing to be ashamed of before the bochurim of a long-ago yeshivah in 1940s London.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 832)
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