“Holy Brothers and Sisters…”
With these few words, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach–or “Reb Shlomo” as he was affectionately known throughout the world–brought hope and inspiration to the lives of thousands.
In honor of Reb Shlomo’s 19th memorial day of passing, the 16th of Cheshvan, I interviewed a close friend and long-time student of both Harav Ginsburgh and Reb Shlomo, Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman. On the 14th of Av, 5745 (August 1, 1985), Rabbi Trugman organized a joint-class between his two teachers at Moshav Mevo Modiim.
Rabbi Trugman recounted how the two rabbis treated each other with such tremendous respect. When each one was giving over Torah, the other was concentrating deeply. He said that over the evening, they “bounced off” what each other said, as is commonly done among close friends at a farbrengen (Chassidic gathering). He said it was clear that the Torah teachings were said spontaneously, and while it was taking place, he felt that this first gathering between the two was an extremely spiritually significant event.
Rabbi Trugman then went on to explain how time has shown its import. Since that event, the connection between the followers of Harav Ginsburgh and Reb Shlomo has grown, and in the words of Rabbi Trugman, the “worlds” of each of his teachers came closer together.
In addition to the gathering in 1985, and several subsequent ones, a deeply memorable time for Rabbi Trugman was August 1993; just a year and three months before Reb Shlomo passed away. Harav Ginsburgh very much wanted Reb Shlomo to attend the Hachnasat Sefer Torah celebration–the event held for ushering in a new Torah scroll-at his yeshivah Od Yosef Chai at Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem. Reb Shlomo agreed, as did thousands of others. Rabbi Trugman said that it was like a dream come true, with everyone dancing with such joyous fervor.
That was the last time that Rabbi Trugman saw his two teachers together.
In memory of Reb Shlomo’s day of passing, we edited an article from that first joint-class in 1985. Remarkably, it discusses the Binding of Isaac, the Torah portion which we just read over Shabbat (although the original class was not given close to this Torah portion).
We are also including links to two versions of the Chassidic melody that Harav Ginsburgh composed on the way from Kfar Chabad to Modiim that day in 5745 (one sung by Harav Ginsburgh at the event, and other other recorded last Thursday by singer Shlomo Katz). Harav Ginsburgh explained to me that the intention was to compose it in the style of Reb Shlomo’s music.
The verse for the song was chosen because the event took place prior to Shabbat Nachamu (lit. “The Shabbat of Consolation.”). After the 9th of Av-the most tragic day of the Jewish calendar-the Shabbat following begins a period called the “seven weeks of consolation.” This particular Shabbat was named after the opening words from the portion of Isaiah (40:1-2) that was selected to be read after the Torah reading on that day.
נַחֲמוּ נַחֲמוּ עַמִּי יֹאמַר אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: דַּבְּרוּ עַל לֵב יְרוּשָׁלִַם
“Console, console My people,” says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem…”
In a separate link, we shared some photos of Harav Ginsburgh and Reb Shlomo together at these events (the photo with the Baruch Nachshon painting in the back was at the 1993 gathering in Shechem. The photos with the cabinet for the Torah in the back was in Modiim).
May we experience the ultimate nachamu (consolation), with the building of the Third Holy Temple in Jerusalem speedily in our days.