By Yosef Wartelsky
What would my Zaidy have said had he been there?
Admittedly, words are an inadequate tool with which to convey the feelings I left after the highly uplifting few days at the Torah Umesorah convention last weekend.
The emotions I feel are numerous. Pride, gratitude, humility, awe and inspiration are but a few. But what I noticed myself feeling most was – privileged.
I felt privileged to partake in the convention this past Shabbos and the days that preceded and followed it. I felt lucky to be part of something which was so much bigger than any one person or even any one organization. I was fortunate to experience the meaning of “netzachYisroel lo yishaker“.
As I looked around the massive room on Friday night, one which had been converted from sports courts to a dining room enormous enough to hold the well over 1500 people in attendance, I couldn’t help but ponder the absolute improbability of what I was witnessing.
It is fair to say that there wasn’t a single person in that immense room this past Friday night that isn’t related to someone who perished in, or survived, the holocaust over 70 years ago. Could the kedoshim Hy’dever have imagined this rebirth as they walked to their merciless deaths? Could they have gazed into the eyes of their pure children for the last time with the tiniest shred of hope that there will one day be hundreds of thousands of pure children like them who will once again learn the same Torah?
Look at what has been accomplished!
Look at how we’ve rebuilt!
Look at how we’ve responded to the ruthless animals who tried to snuff out our holy flame!
We have done this by doing the only thing we can – and that is by obdurately clinging to our Torah and our Gedolim who impart its wisdom.
And so, I feel privileged to have spent a Shabbos with hundreds of people whose life mission it is to build the next generation. By displaying their determination and misirasnefesh to continue the unbreakable chain of mechanchim and mechanchos who proceeded them, they proved that there was always hope, even in the darkest days of the churban, that Torah would return and flourish yet again. The sun that set for us during the most horrific times in our history will eventually rise for us again. And KlalYisroel will come back again physically whole, and spiritually complete.
We all owe gratitude to Torah Umesorah – this most awe-inspiring organization has earned the respect and gratitude of us all – young and old, kollel youngerleit and business man, chasidish and litvish.
But the greatest appreciation comes from our Bubbes and Zaides, for I now have the answer to my question and know what my Zaidy would have said had he been with me this past Shabbos. He would have simply said – “Thank you Torah Umesorah, you have turned my hopes and dreams into reality.”