On Thursday evening, March 30, Chazaq hosted a night of inspiration commemorating the third yahrzeit of HaGaon HaRav Aharon Walkin zt”l at Congregation Charm Circle.

Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, CEO of Chazaq and rav of Congregation Charm Circle, shared that “it’s hard to believe it’s three years since our Rosh HaYeshivah has left us. He was a man who gave his soul to his talmidim – to the community.” He shared that he knew Rabbi Walkin for 17 years and “he was always with a smile and always encouraging – always gave chizuk and inspiration.” The goal of this event was that we should learn from this tzadik in order to grow and become better people.

Next, Rabbi Avrohom Walkin, brother of Rav Aharon Walkin and head of Jwave Teen Division of Chazaq, shared his memories and thoughts. “My brother was not just my brother. He was also my rebbe. He was my poseik, my therapist. He was everything to me.” He pointed out that he is still living with us through his s’farim, his talmidim, and his children.

He spoke about the Wicked Son in the Haggadah. The four types of children represent four characteristics. The language used before the Four Sons section is v’chayah, which signifies good tidings for klal Yisrael. The question is: How can we use language signifying good tidings when one of the sons is a rasha?

Also, why do we ask the wicked son to come to the table and ask questions. Won’t he influence the other children in a negative way? In addition, it says in a literal translation to knock his teeth out. Why this violence?

Rabbi Avrohom Walkin explained that the night of Pesach is a Night of Watching. Hashem watches us physically and spiritually. Hashem is saying: I want everyone at the table, and I want them to ask questions. The Hebrew word for teeth can also have the meaning of “to soften.” Letting the wicked son ask questions can soften his anger and frustration so he feels heard. The language of good tidings is there because he is at your table, so you have an opportunity to bring him back. He pointed out, “My brother, besides being an unbelievable talmid chacham, knowing both Ashkenazi and Sefardi halachos, had a way with every human being.” His talmidim all thought they were his favorite student because of the way he understood and cared for people. He understood the person standing in front of him.

He was unique in this generation in America. He understood people in this generation. He had the same love and respect for Jews of all ages. His children have put in a tremendous avodah to produce their father’s torah in s’farim. When someone important to klal Yisrael dies, we have to keep his torah alive and talk to his talmidim and ask them what stood out for them.

He was a multi-faceted person. He had all the midos. He understood what a person needs, and he gave it over to his talmidim. “His memory should continue. We should learn his s’farim and get involved in his s’farim. This is a way to keep my brother alive.”

Following this, Rabbi Yaniv Meirov shared that there were two outstanding qualities we can learn from Rav Walkin. One is time. The Rav would not waste time. He would sit and learn Torah as much as possible. The difference between chametz and matzah, Rabbi Yaniv noted, is time. The Meiri taught that a person should always be growing. If you aren’t growing, then you are going down. After Pesach, you can’t be the same person that you were before the holiday. Every moment we have is an opportunity to always try to grow.

The second quality was the importance of Torah. This was the biggest thing to him. He shared lectures that inspired thousands of people, and he taught in the kollel beis midrash in Kew Gardens Hills.

After this, some of his talmidim shared memories and thoughts about the Rav.

Next, Rabbi Ilan Meirov, Director of Chazaq, shared how, as both the giant personality and the loving father, is missed.

This event can be viewed on www.TorahAnytime.com.

By Susie Gaber