The Armanot Chein Hall in Bnei Brak looked like a massive yeshiva, as some 2,000 bachurim who are entering yeshiva gedola (post high school) packed the hall and its environs to hear words of guidance from leading gedolim on how to prepare for the important transition. They were addressed by numerous gedolei Yisrael, including HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, senior rosh yeshiva at the Ponevezh Yeshiva; HaGaon HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, shlita, rosh yeshiva of Slabodka; HaGaon HaRav Uri Weisblum, shlita, mashgiach of Yeshiva Nachlas Haleviim; HaRav Dovid Hillel, shlita, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Birchas Ephraim; and Rav Dovid Hofstedter, nasi of Dirshu.
The bachurim came to receive guidance on making a successful transition from yeshiva ketana to yeshiva gedola and, indeed, sat for some two hours hearing practical, down-to-earth advice. This hachana kinus has been organized by Dirshu for the past few years. Every year sees an exponential increase in attendance. The event was also attended by numerous roshei yeshiva and mashgichim.
Just hours before the maamad, Rav Dovid Hofstedter with other senior members of Dirshu’s hanhala went to the home of the venerated rosh yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, who in past years had addressed the bachurim asifa. Rav Shteinman gave a heartfelt bracha to Dirshu to continue their chizuk haTorah with a siyumi celebrating their upcoming milestones.
With great yiras hakavod, the venerated rosh yeshiva of Ponevezh, Rav Gershon Edelstein, addressed the assemblage. Like a grandfather viewing his grandchildren with nachas, the Rosh Yeshiva began his short, inspiring address. He explained how the success of a bachur in yeshiva gedola is dependent on him being careful to follow the sidrei hayeshiva, including not only the long learning sedarim, but davening and mussar as well.
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, shlita, rosh yeshiva of Slabodka, also gave a comprehensive, practical address. “The first thing a bachur should know,” Rav Hirsch said, “is that on Rosh Chodesh Elul, you will be making what might be the most transformative change of your life.” Another important point Rav Hirsch made is that yeshiva gedola is a fresh slate.
He continued, “Not all bachurim feel the sweetness and geshmak of learning right away. For some it takes time.”
The Slabodka Rosh Yeshiva then commended Dirshu and its accomplishments in helping bachurim accept upon themselves the yoke of Torah and attain the goal of learning and knowing kol haTorah kulo—the entire Torah.
At the event, a beautiful kuntres featuring words of guidance from the gedolim at previous such gatherings was distributed to the bachurim along with the new Dirshu edition of the Sefer Chofetz Chaim.
HaGaon HaRav Uri Weisblum, shlita, mashgiach of Yeshiva Nachlas Haleviim, gave a powerful, comprehensive address. Rav Weisblum addressed the common feeling of many bachurim who were at the top of their class in yeshiva ketana, but upon entering yeshiva gedola find themselves in considerably larger classes with other bachurim who are far more gifted. He guided them on how to deal with feelings of inadequacy and how to strengthen themselves to continue growing.
Rav Dovid Hofstedter gave an in-depth address. One vital point was that an integral component to achieving success in yeshiva gedola and in gadlus in Torah is “an increased sensitivity and focus on bein adam l’chavero. Bein adam l’chavero is not a separate mitzvah, rather it is an integral component that leads to greatness in Torah!”
The ripple effect of the Dirshu kinus for bachurim is incalculable. Rav Baadani encouraged Dirshu to continue creating programs and worldwide siyumim that immeasurably strengthen limud haTorah.