Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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22 Adar 5762 - March 6, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Weekend of His'orerus
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

A kinus hizchazkus to commemorate the first yahrtzeit of the late Sunderland Rov and rosh yeshiva, HaRav Shammai Zahn, zt"l, culminated in a grand melave malkah in the Gateshead shul hall. In the presence of the Rov, Rabbi Bezalel Rakow, the guests of honor, Rabbi Zecharia Gelley, rov of Washington Heights, Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, rosh of the London Beis Din, and the av beis din of Paris, HaRav Nissim Rebiboh, and with the participation of all the talmidim from Gateshead, many from Manchester who had traveled up on motzei Shabbos and several from London, France, Eretz Yisroel and America who had spent Shabbos in Gateshead. The atmosphere of achdus amongst the talmidim, some of whom had not seen each other for over thirty years, was tangible and everyone left feeling spiritually uplifted.

Reb Avrohom Chaim Zahn, youngest son of R' Shammai and ram in the Yeshiva, opened the proceedings by welcoming all the guests, especially his mother, Rebbetzin Zahn, who had stood by Reb Shammai for over fifty years supporting him in his avodas hakodesh. Rabbi Rakow, a close friend of Rabbi Shammai, pointed out that Reb Shammai was one of the key builders of Torah in the world after the last War. Rabbi Gelley, who was amongst the first group of talmidim in the yeshiva in the '40s and later served as a ram for over twenty years, declared that his foundation in learning came from Reb Shammai who knew how to bring out the best from every bochur.

This sentiment was echoed by Dayan Ehrentreu, also a talmid in the 40s, and later rosh hakollel in Sunderland for many years, a mossad founded by Reb Shammai zt"l. Dayan Ehrentreu went on to urge every talmid to perpetuate Reb Shammai's achievements by financially supporting the yeshiva.

Two of the guests of honor also gave shiurim in the yeshiva: Rabbi Gelley on Thursday evening and Dayan Ehrentreu on motzei Shabbos before the melave malka.

Earlier, Reb Dovid Zahn, an elder son and also ram in the Yeshiva, thanked all the organizers and in particular Rabbi Dovid Sebbag of Lakewood, a talmid from the 60s, on whose initiative the kinus took place, and presented him with a beautifully framed picture of Reb Shammai. Rabbi Sebbag responded with warmth and eloquence, telling many stories of Reb Shammai's devotion to his talmidim and appealed to all to truly support the yeshiva.

A memorial brochure with a biography of Reb Shammai and Sefer Beis Shammai on parshios hashovua and moadim were published to mark the occasion.

Over Shabbos, several talmidim with their families gathered in the Springfield Hotel for what turned out to be an unforgettable experience. The seudos Shabbos were enhanced by many droshos, allowing the speakers to express their feelings of gratitude to Reb Shammai. Many interesting anecdotes were told of the unbelievable love and evocation that Reb Shammai gave to each and every talmid.

At a kiddush in the yeshiva on Shabbos morning, the Mashgiach, Reb Yaakov Abenson, described the incredible warmth of Reb Shammai's personality. The rosh yeshiva, Reb Yankel Ehrentreu, said that Reb Shammai would surely be a meilitz yosher for those bochurim who learned behasmodoh. One of the out of town guests, Reb Gavriel Ittah, marbitz Torah in Strasbourg and a talmid of the yeshiva in the late 50s, told of Reb Shammai's mesiras nefesh giving everything away for both the ruchniyus and gashmiyus needs of the bochurim.

On the evening of the yahrtzeit, Wednesday evening, Reb Zushe Zahn, eldest son of Reb Shammai and ram in Yeshivas Nachalas Moshe, Yerushalayim, said over a shiur from his father in the yeshiva on Hilchos Brochos and went on to explain that Reb Shammai's determination in his avodas hakodesh, despite tremendous difficulties, came from his understanding of the true value of harbotzas haTorah. Reb Avrohom Ehrentreu, rosh hakibbutz and son-in-law of Reb Shammai, showed how his father-in-law was manhig the yeshiva, totally lishmoh without any self-interest. Reb Dovid Pinto, founder of Mosdos Pinto throughout the world and a talmid from the 60s, illustrated Reb Shammai's love and care for all and encouraged the bochurim to go in his ways.

On Thursday, at the beis olom, Rabbi Gelley movingly expressed his deep hakoras hatov to Reb Shammai for all he had done for him. Reb Dovid Zahn brought out his father's feelings of responsibility to the klal even though there was no kovod in it for him.

All who participated in the kinus went away with a tremendous chizuk in avodas Hashem, and with an ambition to emulate the wonderful lessons they had learned from their rosh yeshiva.

Yehi zichro boruch.


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