On the very same parcel of land where the first Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim was founded, sat hundreds of Tomchei Tmimim students who arrived from Moscow learning and davening, along with Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berl Lazar, Yeshiva staff and administrators * A sight to behold once in 120 years.
The sweet sounds of learning and davening could be heard once more in the village of Lubavitch, and this time from the mouths of hundreds of Tmimim – students of the Lubavitch yeshivos in Moscow. United, they arrived for the historical kinus to mark the special date, the 15th of Elul, on which the very first Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim opened its doors 120 years ago.
It was the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, The Rebbe Rashab who announced on the 15th of Elul, 5657 that a new Lubavitch yeshiva was to open in which Chassidus would be studied in depth for a few hours each day. This would be in addition to the great emphasis placed on davening and learning. This Yeshiva would go on to educate great people, and has since spread to all corners of the earth, with thousands of “Tmimim” studying and learning, and spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus to Jews wherever they may be.
It was not for naught that the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berl Lazar, who had founded the Lubavitch yeshivos in Moscow, decided to mark this historical date. It served to inspire and empower the students – many of whom had just recently arrived from remote areas in Russia, and with minimal Jewish knowledge, – to join this elite legion and become full-time students in the holy Yeshivas of Tomchei Tmimim in Moscow.
As night fell, a fleet of busses left from five different neighborhoods in Moscow, and arrived together in Lubavitch in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, the 15th of Elul. An intense Chassidic atmosphere could be felt, engulfing the many participants, which included the Rosh Yeshivas, teachers, administrators, students and supporters.
After immersing in the river of Lubavitch, the students sat down in specially erected tents to learn Chassidus and then daven. Breakfast, lunch and then an uplifting Chassidic farbrengen were all held in an additional, large tent that was put up on the very same spot of land where the students of the first Tomchei Tmimim used to gather every day to eat.
The main General Session was held in the late afternoon. At the head table sat the Roshei Yeshivos, flanked by Rabbi Berl Lazar, the Tzaddik from Leningrad Rabbi Yitchak Kogan, Philanthropist Levi Leviev who is an alumnae of the Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in Tashkent, Mashpia Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Kuperman who represented Tomchei Tmimim of Israel, and the Chassidic researcher Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Kaminetsky. The farbrengen went on for many hours, finally erupting in spontaneous dancing as hundreds of students rejoiced at the great privilege they felt in being Tmimim in the holy yeshiva of Tomchei Tmimim.
Photos by Levi Nazarov