Rede des Leiters der Beth Medrah Govoha Talmudhochschule, Aaron Kotler, bei der Rabbiner-Ordination, 26. 9. 2016, Frankfurt/M.

Es gilt das gesprochene Wort!

Sendesperrfrist: Montag, 26.09.2016, 11.00 Uhr MESZ

Dear Benny, Nosson and Yochanan,

were the great and holy Rabbis of past generations, the valiant men who so enriched and guided Germany's Jewish life through its ages, here and present with us today, I have no doubt that they would stand in awe at the very idea that you represent.

Were these ancient protectors and shepherds of German Jewish communities and history here in this room now to hear of your plans, dreams, hope, and aspirations - they would surely unanimously rise in respect at your presence.

Your notion - that you are prepared to go forth to the cities of Germany to rebuild Jewish life - into a most vibrant and energetic form, might sound, at least to us, not just beyond immediate imagine, but rather preposterous.

Yet, you are the ones who have said and have spoken that Jewish life in this country is not on the wane - you are the ones - not yet out in the world as Hildesheimer musmachim - who have said that the most glorious days of German Jewish history lie yet ahead.

Were the great Rishonim and Acharonim of Ashkenaz - were the Baalei Tosfos here or the Hirshian and Hildesheimer battlers for tradition of the late 1900's ‎here now - there is one thing they would not be - and that is surprised about your willingness to take on your tasks.

There would be no surprise to them.

Would they be here today they would say to you - "we know that you ready. And we know exactly where you walk. We know exactly what you will face. We know precisely what you will see, encounter, grapple with - and there is one thing that YOU need to know - you can and will persevere. We know this because we walked your path, we too faced what you will face, in another era but in identical circumstances."

And they would say, "we know you will succeed in creating a glorious new chapter in Jewish history because our Torah is eternal and because we are guaranteed to see, in each generation, a group arise to shoulder the sacred task‎ of creating our future."

They would look to you and they would say "you are that future."

So go forth - walk in the paths of these greats who walked before you - you go not alone.

You go forth accompanied by the profound life wisdom and life-outlook written and inscribed by these tzaddikim who went before you in Mainz and Worms and Cologne and Speyer and Hamburg and Frankfurt and Berlin. You go forth with this timeless wisdom, gained not in the halls of Parliament or in the classrooms of university or in the offices of business, but in the repository of life - the Bais Medrash.

You will face the vagaries of life - but not alone - rather with the chochmah and answers developed by your forebears - taking the Bais Medrash to the world.

So allow me to add some words. Allow me to express what I know and have seen.

I am President of the Lakewood Yeshiva - the largest Jewish post-graduate institution in the Diaspora. We have 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Over 1,000 of our alumni serve in the leadership of Jewish institutions worldwide. The impact these alumni are making is profound, creating Synagogues, Yeshivos schools, charitable organizations, and whole communities. They are reaching –directly – millions of Jews. And it has been said, that my institution is the single most impactful Jewish institution in the US – it has shaped American Jewry. Here’s a little secret: my grandfather, Rav Aharon Kotler, the great builder of the Jewish people fled the Holocaust and started Lakewood with 13 students. Not 14 because in 1943 there were no 14 young men willing to attend an American Yeshiva like the one he envisioned.

You are three young men. Rabbi Kochan, Rabbi Kaplan, Rabbi Guggenheim.

Why did we all travel here for you – three young men?

You are enough –and more than enough for the task.

Yes, your duties will be immense. Yes, you will be challenged‎. Yes, you will falter. Yes, you will fear. Yet you will not fail. Netzach Yisroel lo yeshaker - you, forged in a Berlin Makom Torah, are, and will be, a source of strength for the entire Jewish people.

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