A memorial event marking 30 days “Shloshim” since the passing of student Gedaliah Grinzaid was held Thursday evening at the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, NJ.
The program run by Rabbi Chaim Schapiro was inspired by Rabbi Moshe Herson, dean of the Rabbinical College.
There was also a Siyum of Mishanayos made by Gedaliah’s friend Tal Lewis, after which Kaddish Derabonan was recited by Rabbi Herson.
Yehuda Ivanov, a close friend of Gedalia, gave a moving talk. “Everyone has been speaking about what a great scholar Gedaliah was, but for me he was something even deeper, he was a friend,” said Ivanov, choking with emotion.
“He had this simplicity and sincerity about him that was very uncommon, he was drawn here by his Neshama,” said Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Zalman Dubinsky.
Gedalia’s parents participated via live phone conference from their home in Vinnitza, Ukraine. “We have no explanation,” said his father in Yiddish, “but this Shabbos is when we bless the new month, and may the Holy One blessed be He, bless everyone,” he said. As participants listened through the loudspeakers, many sobs were heard throughout the hall.
The crowd also laughed from some remarks said by Gedaliah himself at a Shiur that he gave, a video of which was shown at the event.
Rabbi Leible Surkis of New Square, who pioneered Yiddishkeit for a while in Vinnitza, knew Gedaliah for many years back in Ukraine. He assisted Gedaliah when he first came to America at the age of 17. Speaking in Yiddish so Gedalia’s parents could understand, Rabbi Surkis said how in his many years of teaching he has never come across a student as sincere as Gedaliah.
Parenthetically Rabbi Surkis spoke about his connection to Lubavitch and mentioned how he once came to 770 and wanted to see the Rebbe. It was after Mincha and he wanted to give the Rebbe Shalom as is customary in Chassidishe circles. He related how one of the Rebbe’s secretaries motioned to him not to, but the Rebbe took the initiative and approached him and gave a handshake!
He also spoke about the Mesiras Nefesh of Lubavitch and how this is not just a bonus in Lubavitch but an expected demand. Rabbi Surkis spoke about the late Rabbi Motel Lifshitz the Shochet of Moscow, whom he knew personally. This Mesiras Nefesh is exemplified by the Chabad Shluchim especially throughout the former USSR.
Both Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim and Tiferes Bachurim are making additions in their libraries in memory of Gedaliah. Any donation can be made here and indicating its purpose, as well as for which Library.