“I did not know what learning just a half hour of Mishna Berurah could do to my life! At the beginning of the machzor a friend of mine told me that a chabura was forming in our shul and asked if I could join. After a bit of cajoling, I agreed. What can I say? Now, from the time I wake up in the morning until the time I go to sleep, every action is done through the prism of the halachos that I have learned in Daf HaYomi B’Halacha! I started with the halachos of waking up in the morning and then I learned so much about tzitzis and tefillin, krias shema—halachos that I had never known.”
Those were the words of Rav Yosef P of Lakewood, a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learner who has been learning as part of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha ever since the start of Chelek Aleph.
This coming 19 Nissan/April 10 will mark the siyum on chelek Aleph of Mishna Berurah in Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program. The siyum is a seminal milestone for those who have begun a little more than a year ago.
Recently, a testament to the outpouring of support and respect for the role that Daf HaYomi B’Halacha plays in Klal Yisrael was acutely felt in Eretz Yisrael, where beautiful siyumim were held in the battei medrash of HaGaon HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl, shlita, the Boyaner Rebbe, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Reuven Elbaz, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ohr Hachaim, HaGaon HaRav Shimon Galei, shlita, and the Lelover Rebbe, shlita, of Beit Shemesh.
Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl: ‘There are No Words to Describe the Zechus!’
At the siyum held at the Churva shul, Rav Nebenzahl said, “Since the Chofetz Chaim wrote the Mishna Berurah, many new scenarios that demand a psak halacha have cropped up. There are so many modern innovations and conveniences that bring with them countless shailos. Then, Dirshu came along and gave us a Halacha Berurah in these areas too. They have published a Mishna Berurah that addresses so many varied, modern-day questions, and placed it in the corresponding page of Mishna Berurah in a way that the learner can come out with both a clear mishna berurah and halacha berurah.”
“Rav Dovid Hofstedter—who established Dirshu to serve Klal Yisrael—has established the daily Mishnah Berurah learning program in a way that every Jew can have mishna berurah and halacha berurah in front of him. There are no words to describe what a zechus this is! How much Torah has been learned as a result of Dirshu!”
Rav Dovid Hofstedter: The Need for Mesiras Nefesh
Rav Dovid Hofstedter was then asked to address the crowd. He cited the words of Chazal that Am Yisrael had no mitzvos with which to occupy themselves and, as a result, Hashem gave them two mitzvos: The blood of Pesach and the blood of milah.
How can the Chazal say that they did not have mitzvos? The Medrash teaches us that, “In the merit of four things, the Bnei Yisrael were redeemed from Egypt. They didn’t change their names or their language, they didn’t speak lashon hara and they were not guilty of arayos.”
In addition, the Gemara says that even in Mitzrayim, there was a yeshiva where Torah was learned.
Rav Dovid answered, “Yes, there were yeshivos; yes, they maintained their Jewish clothing and even spoke a Jewish language, etc.; but, at the same time, their mehus (identity), their inner pnimiyus (inwardness), was that of immersion and absorption in the culture of Egypt.
Thus, the only way to extricate themselves from the culture of Mitzrayim was with true mesiras nefesh, with blood—blood of milah and blood of Pesach. They needed an act of true sacrifice to show that ‘my essence is Jewish, to connect with Hashem, as one, k’ish echad b’lev echad!’
A person must be a keili, a receptacle for Torah. He must be connected to the Torah. The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is a way that connects Am Yisrael throughout the world with limud haTorah.”
Siyum With the Boyaner Rebbe And Leading Rabbanim
The siyum with the participation of the Boyaner Rebbe was also a deeply inspiring event. In his warm remarks, the rebbe thanked Dirshu and Rav Hofstedter for increasing Torah learning to unprecedented levels among Klal Yisrael.
After the hadran, the Boyaner Rebbe turned to HaGaon HaRav Tzvi Schreiber, shlita—rav of the Chassidus in Eretz Yisrael—and asked if they could make a siyum and recite Kaddish on one chelek of the Mishnah Berurah. The rav answered affirmatively. The rebbe went out of his way to go to his special davening room, take the siddur from which he davens with every day and give it to Rav Hofstedter to use for the Kaddish. This unique sign of honor was not lost on the Chassidim.
Rav Reuven Elbaz: ‘Just Like A Mikvah Purifies Those Who Are Tamei, So Too, Dirshu Purifies Am Yisrael!’
The scene at Yeshivat Ohr Hachaim led by Rav Reuven Elbaz, shlita, was surreal. Rav Elbaz was in a tremendous state of excitement and inspiration when he greeted the hanhala of Dirshu. In his remarks, he paraphrased the words of the mishna, “Just like a mikvah purifies those who are tamei, so too, Dirshu purifies Am Yisrael! How do they do that? They increase Torah learning among all segments of Klal Yisrael. Torah purifies the heart.”
Rav Elbaz hailed the halacha revolution wrought by Dirshu and gave his heartfelt bracha that Dirshu should have the continued siyata d’Shmaya that it has, and that Hashem should watch over Rav Hofstedter, so that he can continue to enrich Klal Yisrael with Torah learning for many years to come.
Rav Galei: The Importance of Consistency … From All Four Corners of the World!
The crowd in Rav Galei’s beis medrash enjoyed a stirring, uplifting siyum as well. Rav Galei—who has, himself, been delivering a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiur for more than a decade—explained how the shiur is so important to him that despite the fact that he travels a lot, he tries to never miss a shiur. Even when he is not in Eretz Yisrael, he delivers the shiur by telephone—from all four corners of the world.
Rav Galei emphasized the ideal of temidus, of how much one gets from doing something daily without stopping. “Not only does daily learning enrich you with so much knowledge, but the quality of the learning is different when it is done on a daily basis.”
Lelover Rebbe: An Unprecedented Level of Zikui Harabim
Among the siyumim, one that was particularly inspirational was the one held with the Lelover Rebbe, shlita, of Beit Shemesh. It was attended by numerous prominent rabbanim and poskim of Beit Shemesh, such as HaGaon HaRav Nosson Kopschitz, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Nesanel Bransdorfer, shlita, and HaGaon HaRav Tzvi Davidowitz, shlita.
In his remarks, the rebbe quoted one of the early Chassidic masters who says that even if a person engages in pious avodas Hashem for 1,000 years, he will not reach the exalted level of a mizakeh es harabim! “Dirshu,” the rebbe continued, “has reached the level of being mizakeh es harabim on a scope that is, perhaps, unprecedented.”
Perhaps, the words of one of the rabbanim best encapsulated the purpose of the siyumim when he said, “The essence of a siyum is to inspire us to do more. Anyone who has finished chelek Aleph knows exactly what I am saying. All of us may have known the basics of tefillin before learning Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, but I guarantee—after learning hilchos tefillin, it is a different tefillin! After learning hilchos Shemoneh Esrei, it is a different Shemoneh Esrei. The same will happen with chelek Beis! I can almost guarantee that you will never be the same.”
By Chaim Gold