Harav Walkin: I want to give an introductory glimpse into the personality of the Rosh Yeshiva Harav Birenbaum, so you can appreciate some of what I will disclose. The person was Kuloh Torah (completely dedicated to Torah) to the point where there was no person, only Torah. He was a man that truly felt the Galus of Yiddin, and was able to connect with Jews no matter where in the Galus they were.
Many years ago, we brought Harav Birenbaum to see the boys in the community Yeshiva. He came in and saw bachurim arguing over pshat in Reb Chaim, which I said that day in shiur. He turned to me and remarked “Reb Chaim?! These boys have come as immigrants from Stalinist Russia and they are already talking in Reb Chaim!” The sight must have made a great impression, for he then ex- claimed “Stalin tried to extinguish the flame and love of Torah from Jewish boys. Look. He didn’t succeed; nobody can succeed, because the light of Torah can never be extin- guished!” The Rav understood what transformation can take place when Torah in injected into the soul. He also taught that the Jewish Neshama can never be extinguished.
Harav Shmuel Birenbaum ‘breathed’ the Yeshivah, for him the seder was unalterable. My son R’ Yisroel Meir was born before Channukah, and his Bris fell out on Erev Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh Channukah. I asked Rav Shmuel to be Sandek. He answered me “Of course! Channukah is all about this bris. The Yevanim tried to vanquish Rosh Chodesh, Milah, Shabbos and Torah. You have them all here together, Rosh Chodesh, Milah, Shabbos and the Walkin