JERUSALEM (VINnews) — In a moving ceremony which took place last week in Jerusalem , hundreds of children participated in the largest initiative of its kind in the world. Learning to Remember is run by the Lomdim-Zochrim Yizkor organization under the auspices of Anachnu V’Ze’ezaenu, with the aim of studying 6.25 million verses of Mishna.Join our WhatsApp group
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The ceremony, termed Naase Ve’Nishma, took place at Safra Hall in Yad Vashem in conjunction with its haredi wing.
A Chatan Mishna was chosen, together with his deputies. The study was held in memory of six million Holocaust victims, whose leaders were great giants of Torah murdered Al Kiddush Hashem, as well as honoring the memory of the quarter million holy people from the allied nations and underground armies who sacrificed their lives in the war against the Nazis. The concluding ceremony was held on 26 Iyar, marking the 78th anniversary of the Day of Liberation and Rescue of the surviving refugees in Europe.
The impressive ceremony was led by former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the chairman of the Yad Vashem Council; Minister of Labor Rabbi Yoav Ben-Tzur; Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate; and the project founder, Dr Gabriel German Zakharyayev, who attended with a delegation in coordination with President Yitzhak Herzog.
A number of highly emotional moments occurred during the event:
- While reciting the final Mishna that concluded all six volumes of the Mishnayos – Lechol neshama yesh Mishna – each child held a picture of a child murdered in the Holocaust;
- the song Kad Yasvin Yisrael, was sung by the children in Russian: Kadjda saberutza yevreyai i budyet ich radastyu Torah.
- The children finished with the sweet sounds of the song, VeAhavatcha Al Tasur, as Dr Zakharyayev received beautifully designed medallions each representing a book of the Mishna. The medallions, in fact, represented the millions of mishnas and hours devoted to the study to his credit, and in the merit of his mother, Tehila, and his family.
The ceremony commenced with the Mincha prayer and the recitation of special Psalms for the 78th anniversary of the Day of Liberation and Rescue. The Day of Liberation and Rescue of the Jews of Europe from the clutches of the Nazis was established on 26 Iyar at the initiative of Dr Gabriel German Zakharyayev, with the endorsement of the chief rabbis of Israel and Europe.Dr Zakharyayev, an Azerbaijani-born businessman and philanthropist, is vice-president of the Russian Jewish Congress and president of the International Charity Foundation of Mountain Jews, STMEGI.
The main address was delivered by Rabbi Lau, who said that “Study from the mouths of infants, especially during Israel’s darkest days, is a sign and a symbol of the eternity of the Torah Nation and the guarantee of our continued existence as the nation of G-d forever and ever. ‘From the mouths of infants and those who nurse comes the foundation of strength’ – and there is no strength but the Torah, and only the Torah has the ability ‘to cripple the enemy and take revenge.’ You, the children of the Mishna, are our vengeance against the Nazis.“ Rabbi Lau praised Mr. Zakharyayev for his initiative and the establishment of the huge Mishna project.
Following the children’s moving rendition of songs attributed to Shmulik Weinrich and Yanky Ekshtein, together with a slide presentation on the annihilation of European Jewry, Dr Zakharyayev was given the honor of lighting candles in memory of the Holocaust martyrs and in honor of the Torah study. During the candle lighting, the children received an explanation of the song, Ani Ma’amin, which was playing in the background. Of of the many incredible stories of the Holocaust is the story of the song, Ani Ma’amin, which is attributed to the chassid, Reb Azriel David Fastag, from the Modzitz line of Chassidim, who allegedly wrote the song on the death train to Treblinka. The hall was suffused with darkness as hundreds of children rose, each with an electronic candle in his hand, which flickered as the air filled with the voice of world-renowned Cantor David Weinbach and the mournful notes of El maleh rachamim…k’zohar harakia mazhirim….
The chairman of Anachnu V’Zeezaenu, Rabbi Eliezer Yutkovsky, who presided over the ceremony, read a special letter received from the Rosh Yeshiva, the Rabbi Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman ztsl, praising the Mishanyos initiative.
Rabbi Yutkovsky added that “one of the visionaries who took the ashes from which Judaism emerged and had shaken off, and transformed them to gold, is the great and cherished supporter of Torah, Dr Gabriel German Zakharyayev who has merged the past with the future, and mourning with the joy of Torah. This year we are blessed to have 40 branches, thank God, where approximately 1,850 students learn every evening. Next year, thanks to you, and with G-d’s help, we shall open additional branches, as we grow from strength to strength.” Dr Zakharyayev was especially moved as he thanked the students for the privilege of taking part in the Mishna study with them, the children of Israel: “It is your Torah that provides the nation of Israel with strength, and it is the power of Torah that will allow me to visit the students and participate in future Torah study, too, increasing and exalting Torah.”
After a riveting quiz, the educational supervisor of Anachnu V’Tzeezaeinu, Rabbi Mordechai Bloy, had the honor of announcing the winners in excellence for perseverance. David She’ar Yashuv from Rehovot was chosen as the Chatan Mishna, and his deputies were Shmuel Pfeuffer, Yisrael Himmelfarb, Shmuel Monsengo, and Michael Rubinstein from Brachfeld, Modiin Illit. All were awarded ornate sets of the six books of the Babylonian Mishna as prizes for excellent performance. Rabbi Bloy addressed all present: “We have been privileged to witness a spectacular performance of the students demonstrating their immense knowledge. During the course of the year, we held tests at quarter-year intervals and distributed prizes to encourage excellence. This evening we are awarding prizes for the special perseverance of many of the students in their studies.”
The event closed with the distribution of sets of Mishnas to all the students by Dr Zakharyayev, his colleagues, Mr Yisrael Dubrosky and Mr David Mordechaiyev, and the rabbis, followed by the children and rabbis, teachers and Russian guests engaging in energetic dancing across the floor.