A large atzeres hesped gathering was held at Yeshiva Ateres Shlomo in Rishon Lezion l’illui nishmas the venerated Brisker rosh yeshiva, Hagaon Rav Meshulem Dovid Halevi Soloveitchik zt”l.
The gathering marked the end of shivah following Rav Dovid’s petirah, which plunged the Olam HaTorah into mourning.
The atzeres was attended by the roshei yeshiva of Ateres Shlomo, Hagaon Rav Chaim Feinstein, Hagaon Rav Avrohom Mordechai Ausband, and Hagaon Rav Shalom Ber Sorotzkin.
The first to speak was Rav Dovid’s bnrother-in-law, Hagaon Rav Moshe Shternbuch. Rav Shternbuch described Rav Dovid as a model of clarity and hasmadah in Torah, of enthusiasm for limud haTorah, and of yiras cheit, tangible fear of aveiros. Rav Dovid was a prototype of palpable emunah to the extent that there was virtually no tefillah during which he didn’t shed tears.
Rav Dovid was a connection to Brisk of Lita, to his father, the Brisker Rov, as well as to Rav Chaim Soloveitchik and the Bais Halevi, right up to Rav Chaim Volozhiner and the Vilna Gaon.
Rav Shternbuch encouraged the bnei Torah of the yeshiva to use the petirah of Rav Dovid as an impetus for greater commitment to limud haTorah, especially over Erev Shabbos and Shabbos Kodesh each week.
The next speaker was Hagaon Rav Binyomin Sorotzkin, a talmid of Rav Dovid and a rosh yeshiva at Ateres Shlomo.
Rav Sorotzkin quoted the Gemara which describes the petirah of Rabbeinu Hakadosh as “nitzchu areilim es hametzukim venishbah aron hakodesh – The angels triumphed over the righteous, and the Sacred Ark was captured.” What, asked Rav Sorotzkin, was the tangible loss of the capture of the Aron Hakodesh, which lay in the Kodesh Hakodoshim and could not be accessed?
The explanation, he said, is that although it is not possible to read from the Sefer Torah that lay in the Aron in the Kodesh Hakodoshim and everyone has their own Sefer Torah, nevertheless, how did the people know what the Sefer Torah that was given on Har Sinai contained? The Sefer Torah in the Aron Hakodesh filled that role.
“The Brisker Rov was the Sefer Torah in the Heichal of the last generation,” said Rav Sorotzkin. “Based on what he was and what he did, there was no room to alter the Torah, as he represented the Sefer Torah in the Aron. The same can be said about Rav Meshulam Dovid, who lived his life exactly as Hashem wanted, without any distortion and without any excuses. He was likewise a Sefer Torah in the Heichal. Everyone knew from him what the true way of life is and what the true will of Hakadosh Boruch Hu is.”
The atzeres concluded with divrei hesped from Hagaon Rav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ateres Yisroel, who described the magnitude of the loss of Rav Dovid and how it impacts the greater Torah world. With Rav Dovid’s passing, 99 years of uninterrupted learning Torah lishmah and harbotzas haTorah and educating generations of talmidim have been taken away from all of us. Every member of Klal Yisroel, whether they knew him or not, is spiritually impoverished as a result, said Rav Ezrachi. Rav Dovid, he said, represented pure mesoras haTorah, and we are not bereft of that. Rav Ezrachi stressed that there is a responsibility on one and all to carry on the legacy of Rav Dovid in any way one can.
Rav Ezrachi described Rav Dovid as “libo lev Klal Yisroel kulo,” encompassing the heart of all of Klal Yisroel. “He worried for all Klal Yisroel,” said Rav Ezrachi. “He cried for all of Klal Yisroel, and we now ask him to plead before the Kisei Hakavod and beg for rachmanus and for the coming of Moshiach bekarov.”