Their rosh yeshivah was also a baal teshuvah, inspired by these very Selichos
Over the month of Elul, I like to travel across the country and see the various Selichos gatherings in the Sephardic community, but I haven’t seen one that compares with the gathering in Be’er Sheva. Each night, at midnight, Rav Binyamin Batzri ztz”l presided over what was likely the largest Selichos minyan in the country, and on the night before Yom Kippur, likely the largest in the world.
By the time Rav Batzri passed away, the Erev Yom Kippur Selichos was being held in the local stadium, with tens of thousands of participants. His son, Rav Yosef Chaim, has taken this over, and without advertisement, with no guest lecturers or paytanim, the masses still come.
Today, the community has over 100 baalei teshuvah families who got their first taste of authentic Torah Judaism by joining in those Selichos.
But what most amazed me was a group of bnei Torah who were there, 50 bochurim together with their rosh yeshivah. I approached and learned their story: Their rosh yeshivah was also a baal teshuvah, inspired by these very Selichos, and he was taking them to see where his own journey began.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 875)
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