On the occasion of the Shloshim after the petiroh
of HaRav Chaim Kaufman, rosh yeshiva in Gateshead Yeshiva
Letze'irim and international speaker, the kehilloh
arranged a large gathering in its large chasunah
While the walls of this hall are used to hearing vibrant
music, this time the atmosphere was quite different. Rarely
if ever has the hall seen such a large crowd. The listeners
covered the entire spectrum of the kehilloh and
hundreds of bochurim from Gateshead's five yeshivos.
In some way, the audience itself was a testimony to how the
niftar had reached the heart and soul of all types and
His only son commenced the proceedings by saying over what
amounted to his father's last public testament: the central
points of his last shmuess on Leil Yom Kippur. He then
said the Hadran for the Mishnayos which had
been learned all over the world in memory of his father.
The first hesped was delivered by the Rosh Yeshiva,
HaRav Avrohom Gurwitz. He dwelled on the deeper meaning of
Chazal's comparison between the loss of a tzaddik and
The next maspid was the niftar's lifelong
friend and chavrusa, HaRav Simchah Bamberger (formerly
a maggid shiur and Rosh Hakollel). Reb Chaim
exuded royalty, he declared. But this feeling of royalty, was
grounded in the fact that first and foremost he was a king
over himself. In all those years he could hardly recall a
single occasion where Reb Chaim had become angry. His golden
middos went hand-in-hand with his devotion to
The longest hesped was given by HaRav Shimon Hirschler
of Pardes School in London. In a wide-ranging analysis of the
niftar's achievements, he drew on many wellsprings of
mussar and Chassidus. Nothing could shake Reb Chaim
from learning. Even being told about the Twin Tower's
collapse, which completely bewildered and confounded many a
bochur, had no "newsworthiness" for him. The world, he
said, will carry on without the Twin Towers. As if to
demonstrate that the world cannot carry on without
Brisi — the Torah Covenant — he quickly
returned to his learning.
One of the niftar's first talmidim, HaRav
Yaakov Yehuda Salomon, delivered a rousing tearful hesped.
On behalf of the hundreds of talmidim, he
expressed the responsibility they all have to carry on their
avodas hakodesh. Only in this way will Reb Chaim on
high, benefit from his investment into their aliyoh.
This is their way of showing gratitude. Quoting his
father, HaRav Matisyohu Salomon, a boyhood friend of the
niftar, he stressed that Reb Chaim's public
dissemination of Torah on five continents was preceded by
many years of private aliyoh. The chitzoniyus
was a product of deep pnimiyus.
In the middle of the hespedim, the lights in the large
majestic hall went out due to an electric fault. The mournful
audience was practically plunged into darkness. Nothing in
this world is coincidence. It was symbolic: Gateshead has
lost one of its greatest luminaries! A light which shone so
brightly in the firmament of Torah disseminators has been
extinguished. Talmidim on five continents have been
plunged into darkness.