April 14, 2024
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April 14, 2024
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Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Nesius Gathers in Bnei Brak to Mark Milestone

“There was so much kedusha in that room, so much tahara! So many venerated senior gedolei Yisrael were there for one reason only—to celebrate limud halacha and to further encourage klal Yisrael to learn daily halacha. Without a doubt, however, the climax was the entrance of the venerated senior rosh yeshiva of our generation, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, who despite his age and weakness pushed himself to attend and even deliver divrei bracha in order to impress upon klal Yisrael the importance of learning daily halacha.” These were the words of Dirshu’s senior hanhala member, Rabbi Avigdor Bernstein, when describing the unique maamad of kavod haTorah that marked the siyum of chelek aleph of the Mishnah Berurah in the second machzor of Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program.

The siyum, held in Rav Shteinman’s apartment building, was attended by the nesius of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. They included HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, rosh yeshiva at the Ponovezh Yeshiva, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, HaGaon HaRav Yisrael Hager, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Shimon Baadani, shlita, Rosh Yeshivat Torah V’Chaim, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Scheiner, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Kamenitz, the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva at the Ponovezh Yeshiva, the Alexander Rebbe, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron, the Modzhitzer Rebbe, shlita, and the Seret-Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita. The Boyaner Rebbe, shlita, was unable to attend, but he sent an emissary, the rosh yeshiva of Boyan, HaGaon HaRav Tzvi Rabinowitz, shlita. The event was also attended by Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita.

The nesius of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha was established just over a year ago in advance of the beginning of the second machzor. There are two separate nesius, one in Eretz Yisrael and the other in America, comprised of gedolei Yisrael representing the entire cross-section of Torah Jewry. The nesius serves as the leading body and guide for Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, and Dirshu looks to them for direction and inspiration on all matters related to the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha.

When the revered Rosh Yeshiva Rav Shteinman entered the room accompanied by his grandson, Rabbi Dovid Shapira, all of the senior gedolim rose in deference. There was a reverent hush in the room as the chairman of the event, HaGaon HaRav Yehuda Aryeh Dunner, shlita, rav of Beis Medrash Divrei Shir in Bnei Brak, asked Rav Shteinman to deliver words of bracha. In his short but telling remarks that offered insight into the great importance of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha in Rav Shteinman’s eyes, he said, “From Tzion the Torah comes forth and the word of Hashem from Yerushalayim. Through the learning of halacha we will all merit the geula shelaima, bimheira b’yameinu!”

The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha was established by the gedolei Yisrael, among them the posek hador, HaGaon HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, who encouraged Dirshu to undertake establishing what would become a new Daf HaYomi in klal Yisrael.

The Rosh Yeshiva Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman remarked at the founding of the nesius about a year ago, “The foundation of a Jew is to conduct himself in accordance with the four orders of Shulchan Aruch. Nevertheless, the very fact that the Chofetz Chaim wrote the Sefer Mishnah Berurah on the chelek of Orach Chaim (and according to those who maintain that it was his intention to write on all four orders, the fact that he chose to start with Orach Chaim) shows that one must learn halacha daily. Orach Chaim is unique in that it outlines the daily halachos that every Jew must know. This is the chelek that a person must live with every day of his life. Thus he must learn it every day of his life.” Rav Shteinman concluded with the bracha, “Hashem Yisborach should help us, that in the zechus of learning Torah every day, may we merit the coming of Moshiach Bimheira B’yameinu!”

In addition, at a previous Daf HaYomi B’Halacha event several years earlier, Rav Shteinman almost prophetically said, “When Rav Meir Shapiro introduced the concept of learning a ‘Daf Yomi,’ many skeptics predicted, “How will everyone be able to learn the difficult masechtos covering areas of Torah that are not relevant in our times, such as seder Kodshim, learned in the past by only the greatest talmidei chachamim? Today, however, everyone knows how mistaken those skeptics turned out to be! Today we realize that because of Daf Yomi, all Jews have the opportunity to become Shas Yidden.” Similarly, with Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, all the naysayers will be proven to be mistaken…”

The event was opened by Rav Dunner who began, “We have gathered here today at the home of the Rosh Yeshiva in honor of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. Anyone with any familiarity of the situation in our communities can see what a colossal, revolutionary transformation the learning of daily halacha has made in the minds of yungeleit and bachurim the world over. It has given them a newfound cheshek in learning halacha and a deep desire to know and understand halacha. All of klal Yisrael is indebted to Dirshu and its nasi both for creating a comprehensive program and for publishing a Mishnah Berurah with biurim and musafim from the great poskim of our time that enables every Jew to be able to derive the practical halacha in the most user friendly of ways.”

The Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, was then asked to deliver short remarks. The Rebbe cited the Gemara at the end of Maseches Niddah that, “‘Kol hashoneh halachos b’chol yom muvtach lo shehu ben Olam Haba’a—He who learns halachos every day is assured a place in the World to Come.’ B’chol yom means every day and the simple meaning,” explained the Rebbe, “is that if he learns halacha every day he is guaranteed a place in Olam Haba’a.” The Rebbe added, “I think we can say that the words ‘b’chol yom’ can also mean ‘throughout the day.’ When a person learns halacha daily, his entire day, everything he does, wherever he walks, is one long manifestation of learning and fulfilling halacha,” concluded the Rebbe.

HaGaon HaRav Shimon Baadani, when called upon to speak, said, in his deep humility, that he was embarrassed to speak in front of the leading gedolim and ziknei hador. He then brought proof from pesukim that specifically when the world is in a terrible situation, when Jewish blood is being spilled and so many want to ruin the Jewish nation, the solution to neutralize the midas hadin and invoke midas harachamim is to learn halacha. Rav Badani cited the well-known Gemara (Megillah 28), “We learned in the beis medrash of Eliyahu that one who learns halacha every day is assured a place in Olam Haba’a, as it says, ‘Halichos olam Lo [the ways of the world are His]’—do not read the word halichos, but rather halachos.”

Rav Badani explained that the pasuk, “Halichos olam Lo [the ways of the world are His]” is mentioned in Sefer Chabakuk, where the Navi discusses terrible punishments. The preceding words are, “Everlasting mountains were smashed, eternal hills were laid low, for the ways of the world are His.” “How,” Rav Badani asked, “do the words of ‘halichos olam lo’ come into this description of Hashem’s judgment?” He answered, “Perhaps we can say that Chazal derived from this pasuk [that one who learns halacha daily is assured a place in Olam Haba’a] that even when we are plagued by great tzaros, great travail and suffering, the antidote is to learn halacha every day.”

One of the most remarkable aspects of the maamad was the great honor and deference that the gedolim had for each other. The elderly sages stood up for their counterparts as each one entered, despite the physical frailty of some of them.

Rav Dovid Hofstedter, nasi of Dirshu, opened his remarks by saying, “The hakaras hatov that Dirshu has to the gedolei hador zt”l and yblc”h, shlita, who established Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is incalculable.”

Rav Dovid continued this theme by pointing out that in the pasuk about the Korban Pesach, the Torah tells us that Moshe summoned the ziknei Yisrael and told them about the commandment to bring a Korban Pesach. Why did Moshe specifically tell that to the zekeinim? In Parshas Shemini where the Torah talks of the chanukas haMishkan, the Torah also says that commandment was given to the zekeinim. What is the significance of the elders?

Rav Hofstedter answered, “The midrash teaches us that Yisrael is analogized to a bird. Just like a bird cannot fly without wings, so too Bnei Yisrael cannot elevate themselves without the zekeinim. The chanukas haMishkan is a time when the Shechina rests on klal Yisrael. The Torah is teaching us that the Shechina cannot be present without the zekeinim. Similarly, the Korban Pesach signified the geirus of klal Yisrael, the conversion of klal Yisrael to the people of Hashem. They rose from the 49th level of impurity to become the people of Hashem! Such a transformation, such an undertaking can only be done with the zekeinim.”

Rav Dovid went on to explain how the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is a combination of the power of the individual who undertakes to learn halacha daily, day in and day out, and the collective tzibur who undertake learning in one program together. This combined power of individual and tzibur guided by the ziknei hador is the ultimate antidote to free ourselves from the tumah all around us and to bring Hashem and kedusha into our lives!

“As Yidden seeking to improve in our service of Hashem,” Rav Dovid stressed, “we must take this lesson learned from the synthesis of community and individual to heart and apply it to our own lives. As ovdei Hashem, we must constantly seek to challenge ourselves, to incorporate more ruchniyus, more Torah learning, more mitzvos and enhanced knowledge of halacha into our lives. At the same time, the ultimate way to accomplish these goals is by attaching ourselves to the wider community or to a worldwide movement or initiative. In this way we become energized from being attached to something greater than ourselves, to something that unifies all of klal Yisrael while engaging in individual accomplishment in order to reach those goals.”

Rav Shlomo Rozenstein, Dirshu’s director of public affairs, related, “The fact that the most senior gedolim, who are so overwhelmed with obligations and often such minimal physical strength, took the time to come to the home of Rav Shteinman to be mechazek the Yidden who are learning Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and to encourage every member of klal Yisrael who has not yet joined to come aboard and bring Hashem into their lives every day—is the greatest testament to the importance that they attach to this newer, exceptionally vital Daf Yomi.”

Perhaps the words of Rav Shteinman that he wrote in a letter in advance of Dirshu’s Shabbos Kinnus Olam HaTorah in 2013, are most prescient at this time. He wrote, “It is therefore proper that every single person set aside time every day to learn halacha, and especially the halachos that are of practical relevance, every day and every Shabbos. This daily learning session of practical halacha should not be less than a half hour….

“A person must strengthen himself in learning halacha every day, because the yetzer hara comes every day. Countless times each day the yetzer hara tries to pull a person away from Hashem. The only antidote is to strengthen limud haTorah and limud halacha!”

By Chaim Gold

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