By COLlive reporter
Photos by Menachem Kozlovsky
Thousands have participated in the Siyum Horambam Haolomi (“International Siyum Harmbam,”) as the Rebbe named it, held Tuesday in the Oholei Torah ballroom in Crown Heights.
“Although this is the 29th cycle, we see the Rebbe’s directive is not fading but rather growing from year to year,” noted Rabbi Shmuel Butman, Director of Lubavitch Youth Organization and chairman of the Siyum Horambam Haolomi.
Rabbi Butman added that the uniqueness of learning Rambam, aside from learning and expanding knowledge in Torah, was that it was uniting the entire Jewish community men, as well as women and children in by learning Sefer Hamitzvos.
“The Alter Rebbe says that unity that is done through learning Torah is a wonderful unity that there is no match to it,” and the Rebbe wanted that this unity should bring about the unity of all Jews from all corners of the world with the coming of Moshiach, he said.
The Rebbe’s kapital Tehillim was said by the 770 Chazzan Reb Moshe Telishevsky. Three large screens showed the Rebbe making a siyum, as the people in the crowd yearning to witness it live again.
The members of the Crown Heights Beis Din (Badatz) Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba, Rabbi Yaacov Schwei and Rabbi Yosef Braun spoke about the importance of the learning of the Rambam and encouraged the community to increase in learning and in spreading Torah and Chassidus.
The event’s benefactor was Reb Sholom Ber Drizin who dedicated the Siyum to his famed father the Mashpia Rabbi Avrohom Drizin-Mayorer OBM. “To us this is a double celebration concluding the Rambam and doing what the Rebbe wants,” Drizin said.
MONEY IN TORONTO
Rabbi Yitzchok Leib Malach, educator and Mashpia in Ger, recalled how as a young child his father would bring him to the Rebbe’s farbrengens in 770 Eastern Parkway.
He told that after his mother passed away, “my father was very broken. Then, without prior notice, a telegram came from the Rebbe comforting us. My father was deeply moved how the Rebbe thought about our family.”
Additional speakers included Rabbi Michel Daskal, Rosh Yeshivas Tzemach Tzaddik of Viznitz; Rabbi Chaim Kruger of Modzitz; Rabbi Yitzchok Rabinovich of Boyan; Rabbi Chaim Baruch Wolpin, Rosh Yeshivas Karlin-Stolin; Rabbi Mordechai Leib Weiss of Rosh Yeshiva in Munkatch and brother-in-law of the Munkatcher Rebbe; Skver Dayan Rabbi Aaron Goldmintzer who made the Siyum.
Another story was told by Rabbi Yosef Menachem Deutsch, Rosh Yeshiva of Klausenburg, who started the thirtieth cycle of the Rambam by learning the first Halocho, about the Rebbe’s care to every Jewish person regardless of background or affiliation.
He told of a rabbi that was in the U.S. fundraising without much success until he met the Rebbe and was told to fly back home through Toronto, Canada.
On the flight, Rabbi Deutsch told, this individual was sitting near another Jew who asked him about his journey. Hearing what the Rebbe said, the fellow passenger said he works for a wealthy Jewish person and was willing to make the connection.
“When he met, the rich Yid asked what the rabbi needed. Between 15 and 20,000 dollars, he replied. The baal tzedaka took out his check book and gave a check for $20,000 on the spot,” Rabbi Deutsch concluded.
THE EMPTY CHAIR
Rabbi Aaron Weinberg, a descendant of the Slonim Rebbes, told how it was suggested to the Rebbe to instate a new custom of placing an empty chair at the Seder table in remembrance of those who perished in the Holocaust.
“The Rebbe answered that it would be an advisable to add another chair but to keep it occupied with another living Yid to be at the Seder,” Rabbi Weinberg said.
Rabbi Shimshon Tzinner spoke on behalf of his father Rabbi Gavriel Tzinner of Boro Park.
Participants thanked Rabbi Butman and his son Rabbi Yossi Butman for their dedication to hold the annual celebration and honoring the Rebbe’s instructions.
Reb Eli Lipsker and his boys choir greatly inspired the crowd singing lively Chassidishe niggunim.
The chairman announced that Bezras Hashem the next Siyum will be held in Yerusholayim on Adar 8, 5772 with the participation of the Rambam and the Rebbe.