By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon.
It was the first time visit of the Toldos Aharon Rebbe to Los Angeles.
The Rebbe stayed the week from Wednesday Feb 5th to Wednesday Feb 12, 2014.
The History of this Chassidus goes back to the famed Rav Aharon Roth, whose name spread throughout Israel following his emigration before WWII.
“Reb Areleh”, author of the sefer Shomrei Emunim, gathered about him a group of followers desirous of maintaining a committed connection to Hashem with the proper intentions and behavior. Based in Meah Shearim, Jerusalem, his followers retained a unique dress code which included a white Yarmulke and Yellow Bekishe (a specially made outer garment also referred to as a Kapoteh/Kaftan or Frock.).
With the passing of Reb Areleh in 1947, his son and his son-in-law both became Rebbes. His son’s group of Hasidic Jews kept the name “Shomerei Emunim.” The other successor, Reb Areleh’s son-in-law, was Reb Avraham Yitzchak and this group became known as Toldos Aharon. Reb Avraham Yitzchak Kahn, the Toldos Aharon Rebbe, passed away in 1996.
The present Toldos Aharon Rebbe, Reb Dovid, has taken over the leadership and responsibilities of its Torah Institutions. It was on their behalf that he made the trip to Los Angeles, a community known for its support of worthy causes.
During his visit in Los Angeles, the Rebbe made sure to see firsthand the various Yeshivos and Day Schools that provide the Jewish education for our children.
Upon his arrival, the Rebbe was taken to “The Cheder” the Chassidishe Elementary School in Los Angeles, home to many of the chasiddishe children of our city.
It was de rigueur for any Rebbe coming to Los Angeles to make the Cheder his first stop. And now 40 of the younger kinderlach stood in two lines, facing each other, waving their flags and waiting impatiently for the Rebbe’s arrival. Their Rebbies tried to keep them still and in line.
It was only with the arrival of the Rebbe and his minions that the restlessness ended. Rav Simcha Ullman, head of the Cheder, stepped forward to greet and welcome the Toldos Aharon Rebbe. As the Rebbe walked between the lines of children, he greeted them and the Rabbeim at their sides. The talmidim began singing a song of greeting to the Rebbe. The Cheder Beis Medrash inside was already packed with the older talmidim of the Cheder and they also broke out in song as the Rebbe entered.
Following Mincha, the Rebbe spoke to the talmidim and told them how special they were and how important they were for the Jews of Los Angeles. Two of the talmidim made a siyum on the completion of their learning in honor of the Rebbe. The Rebbe made a bracha on wine and handed out cake to the children as they walked by. Each child stopped to recite the mezonos bracha, heard the amen of the Rebbe and proceeded to gobble up their cake.
Later that evening a Reception was held for the Rebbe in the home of Heshy and Chany Jacobs. The Community flocked to the Jacob’s home to see and greet the Toldos Aharon Rebbe. Words of welcome were offered up by the host, Heshy Jacobs, Harav Avrohom Halberstam and Harav Chaim Boruch Rubin.
To a full house, the Rebbe spoke to the Jews of Los Angeles, words of encouragement and hope. The community was invited to join the Rebbe over Shabbos and to experience “Shabbos Yerushalayim in LA.” It was to be an uplifting Shabbos with all davening and meals on Shabbos at the Kollel Yechiel Yehuda the “Chassidishe Kollel” on La Brea.
Many in the community took this occasion to daven Mincha & Kabalos Shabbos with the Rebbe, attend the Friday night Tish and daven all of Shabbos in his presence.
As the end of Shabbos neared, the packed group at seuda shlishis sat in near darkness, sang and listen again to the penetrating words of the Rebbe.
At the conclusion of Shabbos and following Maariv, everyone went outside for Kiddush Levana (new moon) and then returned to the shul for a moving havdalah.
Two hours later everyone was invited to the home of Reb Berel “Barry” Weiss, the Rebbe’s host during his stay in Los Angeles, for a sumptuous Melava Malka.
After speeches \ from the Rebbe and some of the prominient guests, the singing ended and following bentching, it was over for the night.
A tired but joyous Community headed home knowing that the Toldos Aharon Rebbe had left his seal on the Jews of Los Angeles.
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Photo credit: Arye D Gordon