Nu... what do you think?

This is THE question.

It echoes not only among those who attended the third Adirei Torah event but resounds in the heavens as well, asked by none other than the Al-mighty Himself.

Nu... what do you think?

A well-known story is told about Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch. When well into his 70s, he decided to travel from Germany to Switzerland for a vacation. In the late 1800s, when cars and airplanes were unheard of, this journey was an arduous trek by train and coach. He was asked, "Rabbi, you’re an old man. Why are you taking such a trip?" Rabbi Hirsch replied, "After 120 years, I’ll meet my Maker, and He will ask me, ‘Raphael, did you ever see my Alps?’”

So nu... what do you think?

For me, this third Adirei event carried special meaning. I came with my father. I watched him as the dancing began and the arena erupted. I saw the tears glisten in his eyes. I watched the ticker run across the screen—a legacy of Torah from father to son. I stood there as a father, as a son, and as a very proud observer.

How appropriate.

This year, Chazakah was the message.

The intent was that three times signifies a chazakah, it solidifies ownership. It becomes the status quo.

The given.

But for some, it had another meaning.

Three generations.

Grandfather to father to son.

Eight years ago, I took a trip to Poland with a small chevra. They were all younger than me. What made it unusual was that my father came along. They were far younger than him.

We visited all the mekomos, the kevarim, the yeshivos of yesteryear.

And of course, Auschwitz.

Before we entered, my father asked if he could share a few words. Who could say no? He stood up in the bus, microphone in hand, and recounted the story of Rav Hirsch.

Pensive, and with his voice cracking, he said, "I am getting on in years, and soon I will come face to face with my Creator. As my shver, Rav Yehuda Moses, was an Auschwitz survivor, I believe He may ask me, ‘Nu Abby, did you see what I had to do to my children in Auschwitz?’”

Rav Leib Malin expounds on a riveting thought regarding the Kinnah of Betzeisi Mi’mitzrayim.

When we left Mitzrayim, we merited ha’aras panim. It was obvious that everything in the world exists by the Will of Hashem. Conversely, when the Bais Hamikdosh was destroyed and we left Yerushalayim, we witnessed that those who transgress His word receive retribution.

No less compelling.

No less wondrous.

Hashem has created many wonders in this world. Some gorgeous. Others horrific.

His Alps.

His Auschwitz.

And now, as I stood next to my father and danced along with twenty thousand strong, we were zoche to see yet another piece of the puzzle.

His Adirei HaTorah.

It is no less a wonder than the awe-inspiring Alps or the mind-numbing hester panim of Auschwitz.

In fact, Adirei Torah is the “thought to be impossible” response to the Churban Europa.

It’s a peleh.

Yes, tonight was a night of wonderment.

The zikenei ha’dor, Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch and Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky, who didn’t say a word, somehow electrified the audience in a display of Kavod HaTorah rarely experienced.

I can’t begin to imagine what Rav Shmuel was thinking. He often speaks about the Yad Chazakah, Rav Aron’s fourteen original talmidim in Slutzk, of which he was a part.

And for that to blossom into this?

Haflei va’feleh!

Yes, wonder of wonders.

Hearing Rav Mattisyahu’s aristocratic voice; the elegance of words, the richness of his toichen and seeing once again his brilliant smile.

A wonder to behold.

And who was not moved watching Rav Mattisyahu’s son climb out of the wheelchair to recite Kaddish for the Siyum of Bavli and Yerushalmi?

They all started young, full of idealism and vigor. And though their physical strength may have waned, they carry us on their shoulders.

Such is the power of Torah.

But how does it happen?

Taka, how does this wonder of wonders happen?

Why doesn’t Auschwitz, and its ilk, extinguish the flame?

So here’s a suggestion.

Dancing tonight, we witnessed a mesmerizing sea of black and white, jumping, springing, ascending.

But there was more.

Aish shechoirah al gabai aish levanah.

The precise manner in which the Torah was given at Sinai.

Throughout our golus, countless foes have sought to cut us down, dim our light, and obliterate us. Though the parchment may be consumed by fire, the letters, oy the letters, the heiligeh osios, ascend and endure, soaring through the air, immortal.

You tiyereh, heiligeh yungerman, and your cherished families are those precious osios.

You are Klal Yisroel’s pride and joy.

You are the aish shechoirah al gabai aish levanah.

You, who rejoices over Torah learning, spring towards the sky as the indomitable response to all of our enemies. Over you, the embodiment of Torah, they have no shlitah.

No power.

No dominion.

The familiar intoxicating songs that reverberated through the arena were a reenactment of Simchas Torah.

And that was be’davka!

For while October 7th may yield horror and savagery, Simchas HaTorah is ours forever.

This is the essence of the yungerman, the young ones, the older ones, and those eternal yungerleit, like Rav Yisroel Neuman, whose easy-to-miss, yet oh so precious cry while reading the Gemara revealed a dveikus, an attachment and connection to Torah like no other.

So, tonight, kaviyachol, the Ribbono Shel Olam asks His Heavenly entourage, “Nu… what do you think of my children? My Adirei HaTorah?"

And He proudly declares, “Chazu banai chavivai. Look at my children. They forget about all their worries, all of their tzaros and involve themselves in that which brings Me most joy.”

Look at what they’ve sacrificed. And look at their joy!

No doubt, the Alps are indeed magnificent.

But tonight we reaffirmed once more that nothing will ever compare to the beauty of the yungerleit and their incredible families, who live a life of Torah.

Torah and nothing else.