Simchat Torah with Rav Berland Shlit”a in the Shadow of War

  • Hakafot on Simchat Torah night at the Kotel
  • Shacharit and Hallel in the shadow of missile alarms
  • Hakafot Shniyot to sweeten the harsh decrees from the Jewish people
  • Photo Gallery

On the evening of Simchat Torah, shortly before the beginning of the holiday, Moreinu HaRav Berland shlit”a arrived by car at the Kotel Plaza, where he waited in a special room which was prepared for him in the Kotel Tunnels.  Simultaneously, a procession left our Beit Midrash together with thousands of people from our holy community with the participation of the Rabbis of the community and Torah scrolls in the direction of the Kotel, on a special path through the streets of Shivtei Yisrael, Yaffo Gate, all the way accompanied by singing and dancing in honor of the Torah.

At 9:00 pm, the Rav shlit”a emerged from his room and walked towards the Plaza which was full of thousands who waited for the evening prayer of Simchat Torah.  The prayer began with a shortened Kabbalat Shabbat, as is customary when it coincides with Yom Tov; however, as is known by everyone, by Rav Berland shlit”a, the idea of “short” isn’t relevant, and the Rav shlit”a sang Lechi Dodi for nearly an hour.

After Kabbalat Shabbat, he began the Ma’ariv prayer of Simchat Torah, with niggunim and great vitality.  At the conclusion of Ma’ariv, the Rav shlit”a opened up with the Mizmorim of the Hakafot, “Atah Horeita L’Da’at…,” and then began the good times: over a period of hours, the Rav shlit”a danced back and forth in the Kotel Plaza together with thousands of people.  The dancing was with such vitality, such fervor that it’s indescribable.  One of the pinnacles was when the members of the community opened up the giant circle in the middle of the Kotel Plaza, and the Rav shlit”a danced back and forth in the midst of the giant circle.  Likewise, in every Hakafa, the Rav shlit”a paused and read the verses and sang niggunim with awesome vitality in honor of the Torah.

It is worth noting that during the Hakafot, a number times the Rav shlit”a approached the stones of the Kotel and whispered a silent prayer.  A number of people who stood near the Rav shlit”a relate that they saw his holy eyes shed tears.  The Rav shlit”a saw the future that was about to happen and requested mercy in the midst of the Hakafot in order to sweeten the harsh judgments from the Jewish people.

At the conclusion of the Hakafot, the Rav shlit”a read in the Torah, and was honored with Aliyah of “Kol HaNe’arim.”  In leaving the Kotel, he turned to return home amidst singing and dancing.  For a portion of the way, the Rav shlit”a sang the Zemirot of Shabbat evening — Shalom Aleichem, Ribbon Kol HaOlamim, and Eshet Chayil.  After the Zemirot, the Rav shlit”a sang “Ura Kevodi, Ura HaNevel V’Chinor, A’ira Shachar…”  Only at 1:00 am at night did the Rav return to his home.

Hallel in the shadow of missile alarms

At 6:17 am, the Rav shlit”a came out for Shacharit of Simchat Torah.  The prayer was like every Shabbat and Chag, with niggunim and great arousal.  At around 8:15, while saying Hallel with niggunim, the missile alarm began to shriek throughout Jerusalem, but because of the song and niggunim, they couldn’t be heard.  Only the echo of the explosions of intercepted rockets were a sign that something was taking place.

At 10:00, Hallel was concluded, and the Rav shlit”a announced that each person was to have an aliyah to the Torah, and that he would come out after two hours to read the Torah and for Musaf.  After Hallel, a bit of the terrible news began to trickle in, mainly because of the draft of reservists which was taking place nearby in the Musrara neighborhood.  For the remainder of Simchat Torah, the Rav shlit”a remained closed in his room and did not come out for the rest of the prayers of the Chag.

Only at the conclusion of the Chag, at 8:00 pm, the Rav shlit”a came out for the Ma’ariv prayer and Hakafot Shniyot.  After more than three hours of dancing in order to sweeten the harsh decrees from the Jewish people, the Rav shlit”a gave over a shiur about the level of the holy and pure martyrs who fell for the sanctification of God’s Name.

Photo Gallery from the conclusion of Simchat Torah:

The Ma’ariv prayer and Havdalah at Motza’ei Simchat Torah:

During Hakafot Shniyot:

join our whatsapp group
rav berland tzaddik whatsapp group

During Hakafot Shniyot — Photo credit: Yisrael Ben Ari

contact the tzaddik Rabbi Berland for a blessing
rav berland tzaddik whatsapp group


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.