In a distance typically associated with that of a marathon, a group of Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva students walked more than 23 miles – closer to 24 to be exact – last week to bring an additional measure of joy to the Simchat Torah celebrations in Merrick, N.Y.

The young men, all in their late teens and early 20s, began their journey the evening of Oct. 4 at the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, in Queens. They walked 12 miles to the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in the Long Island community of Merrick, arriving just before 6:30 p.m. After a little refreshment, they then set out for the town's other synagogues. At the end of the night, they returned to Queens.

Jewish law, which proscribes driving during holidays, necessitated the trip by foot. Visiting neighboring communities and synagogues to help increase holiday joy has long been a custom among Lubavitch Chasidim during Simchat Torah.

"When I spoke to the boys before the holiday began," said Rabbi Shimon Kramer, co-director of the Chabad Center in Merrick, "they told me that they would not be walking to Merrick as they already had plans to walk to other communities that were closer to [Queens]. It was therefore a pleasant surprise when they appeared."

This surprise visit apparently inspired many in the Merrick community, according to the rabbi. He said that one person told him, "How can I continue to drive on the holiday to save myself a two-mile walk when these boys walked so far?"