Rabbi Yeruchim Shain
One Month in Lakewood
I came to the yeshiva in Lakewood before I went to Eretz Yisroel. It must have been Taf-Shin-Yud-Tes or Yud-Ches, maybe.
I came Elul. I was a young bochur and I came l’chatchilah to join Reb Meir Minzer’s shiur. He was saying a shiur then to Reb Eli Ber Wachstfogel, Reb Shalom Schechter, Yossel Berstein, etc. And Yitzchak Waldman. Yitzy Waldman is the one that encouraged me to come to Lakewood then. I was just there for Elul.
Before that, I was in Monsey. I think it was Bais Shraga, and part of the time, I was in Bais Medrash Elyon. I was in the afternoon bais medrash and in the morning in Bais Shraga.
In the Eyes of a Young American Bochur
When I came to Lakewood, I can’t even remember if I listened to Reb Meir Minzer’s shiur or not, but I do remember when the Rosh Yeshiva zt”l said shiur. Did he say shiur on a motzai Shabbos?
Es likt mir in kup, he said shiur on motzai Shabbos or Thursday night. It could be both. I don’t remember exactly. I think it was Baba Basra then. The olam prepared for the shiur, and everybody crowded around in the front of the bais medrash. When he said shiur, you thought you were standing by Har Sinai. In my mind, and I was a young bochur, it was like he had fire in eyes.
I just had the feeling that he was kulo araingutan. He was connected to shomayim, and he was giving over his shiur. You couldn’t stop him. He was like maleh v’gadush in his whole guf and his whole ruach and his whole neshama was in the shiur. If a bochur asked him a shailah, he tried to answer right away, but he had to go vaiter; he had to explain it.
I felt like I wasn’t ready for that because I wasn’t at that madreiga yet. But I saw from the olam that was there that they were dedicated yeshiva bochurim that gave of themselves to be in the yeshiva to learn. I knew that the outside world had so much more to offer - if it was college or just business or whatever – but this olam and the kollel yungerleit were araingutan in learning.
You just felt when you walked into the bais medrash that you were like in a different world, and it was very, very overwhelming for an American bochur to see such a thing – to see how Torah lived in America in a little corner in New Jersey. The mesirus nefesh, the hasmada, the shtaiging, the varmkeit that the olam hut mamesh gezitzen un gelerent. There was unbelievable preparation for the shiur, preparing the Gemara to understand it, the shiur and to chazer for it. There was so much avodah put into it that it’s hard to forget the impressions and the his’orerus that one got.
That was a very short impression that I had when I was there. And then I went to Eretz Yisroel to Ponevezh, and in Ponevezh, I was there takkeh for the levaya when they came to Eretz Yisroel.
 1959 or 58
 As far as I remember
 Entirely immersed
 Full and overflowing
 The students literally just sat and learned