[Photos below.] Over a thousand people filled Bais Faiga Hall in Lakewood on Wednesday evening, May 16th, for the 21st annual Lakewood Asifa for P’eylim / Lev L’Achim. The evening was chaired by Rabbi Yosef Karmel and Rabbi Nachum Barnetsky of P’eylim / Lev L’Achim’s Development Headquarters in America.
The annual campaign is led by Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, who carries the torch passed on from the previous Lakewood Roshei Yeshiva, Rav Aharon zt’l and Rav Shneur zt’l, who were the leaders of the “p’eylim” movement here in America.
Rav Kotler opened the evening and was followed by Rav Mordechai Kokis, a yungerman from Bais Medrash Govoah who delivered a stirring message that made a deep impact on the assemblage.
A moving video presentation entitled “Haya Lanu Av Zakein” was aired at the Asifa. It showed Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman at many of the Lev L’Achim events and programs he attended and addressed through the years. It was a fitting tribute to the late gadol whose impact on Lev L’Achim was a reflection of his overall imprint on our generation.
Rav Eliezer Sorotzkin, Director-General of both Lev L’Achim and Chinuch Atzmai delivered a brief address. Rav Sorotzkin recounted his close p[personal relationship with Rav Shteinman and made it all the more apparent that the Rosh Yeshiva was involved with the decisions of Lev L’Achim on a daily basis.
The first of the two guest speakers at the event was Rav Doniel Osher Kleinman, Mara D’Asra of Khal Nachlas Dovid in Brooklyn and the editor of the multi-volume series of piskei halacha of Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky. Rav Kleinman delivered an impassioned address that held the audience spellbound. The Rav related his impressions from a recent visit to the programs of Lev L’Achim in Eretz Yisroel; vignettes which made an indelible impression upon him.
The keynote speaker was the renowned Rav Binyomin Finkel of Yeshivas Mir in Yerushalayim. One of today’s most sought out speakers in Eretz Yisroel, Rav Finkel took Lakewood by storm as he spent four days speaking to countless individuals who lined up to receive his bracha. Rav Finkel addressed 30 different mosdos including elementary schools, Mesivtos, Yeshivos gedolos and community gatherings held throughout Lakewood.
One and all were amazed to behold Rav Finkel in action as he dispensed heartfelt brachos and keen advice to adults, and a loving caress and bracha to every child. Rav Finkel is known as “Rav Binyomin HaTzadik” and as people witnessed his fiery tefilos and listened to his stirring drashos, the reason why he has acquired such a unique moniker became apparent.
As we head in to the yom tov of Shavuos, the inspiration of Rav Finkels visit and the Lev L’Achim Asifa combined to create a prefect preparation to a new kabalas HaTorah.