May 8, 2024
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Dirshu Shas Yidden Tested on Shas for Second Time

It was an absolute unique maamad that transpired in the home of HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, shlita, senior rosh yeshiva at the Ponevezh Yeshiva. Rav Berel was so deeply moved by what he saw that at the end of the event that he exclaimed, “I am so overjoyed that, baruch Hashem, klal Yisrael is not orphaned. We have true bekiim in Shas with whom we can go and greet Moshiach!”

The event was a celebration of the learning and constant cumulative chazara of learning Shas twice over 15 years and constantly being tested. The tests were not just on the material learned in the prior month or the prior six months, but rather on material learned during the entire machzor of the Daf HaYomi from the beginning of Shas until now.

Fifteen years ago, with the siyum of Masechta Chulin in the Daf HaYomi, at the behest of gedolei Yisrael, Dirshu established a new program titled “Kinyan Shas,” a unique program that would ultimately enrich klal Yisrael with hundreds of true bekiim in Shas, talmidei chachamim who could literally answer any question from any daf in Shas at any time of the day or night.

The program was designed to enable dedicated and motivated talmidei chachamim to be engaged in constant chazara of what they learned so that over the course of the seven-year cycle of the Daf HaYomi they would end up taking tests multiple times on the same material.

The way the program worked was that in addition to monthly tests on 30 blatt, Dirshu would create special tests every six months at the end of the bein hazmanim months of Tishrei and Nisan, when the avreichim would be tested on all of the material learned from the beginning of the machzor of Daf HaYomi in Brachos until where the Daf HaYomi was holding.

Last week, as the Daf HaYomi approached the end of Masechta Chulin and the anniversary of the second completion of Shas with the Kinyan Shas program is marked, 10 of the elite talmidei chachamim have completed the Kinyan Shas program twice! That means being tested multiple times on the entire Shas, many of them with Tosafos too!

These talmidei chachamim gathered at the home of Rav Berel for a dual purpose. First, to celebrate and thank Hashem for granting them the incredible zechus to achieve such a milestone and to thank Dirshu for facilitating it. The second reason was to encourage and give tips to the new generation of Kinyan Shas learners who, b’ezras Hashem, will be joining the program as it embarks on its third machzor.

All of the avreicheim were very emotional as they shared all kinds of eitzos and tips that enabled them to persevere, learn and review vast amounts of Gemara until they would be able to be tested on all of Shas at once and remember every single blatt in Talmud Bavli!

Rav Zushia Zilberstein was the first to speak. He gave what is perhaps the general approach that must be taken. He said, “Someone once asked the Maharsham of Berzhan how he remembers the entire Shas. He replied, ‘If you keep on chazering over and over… and over again, you don’t have to remember. All of it is fresh. So, first and foremost, a person must learn how to review and review, even a hundred times.”

Rav Eliyahu Fisher, another up-and-coming gadol baTorah, added, “What is critically important is the idea of kevius, of resolving and undertaking that no matter what I am determined to finish this project, to learn, chazer and be tested. Only when a person knows he has no choice but to take every test without ever skipping, can he succeed. This undertaking must be taken on as a life-mission that is impossible to relinquish.”

Rav Michoel Ulman related that what worked for him was using the Chazaras HaShas method created by Rav Sender Dolgin of Lakewood. It involves learning a new blatt every day, reviewing the previous one, reviewing the one from a week ago, three months ago and then a year ago. In this way, one is always reviewing everything he learned.

Rav Dovid Hofstedter, the nasi of Dirshu concluded by profusely thanking Rav Berel Povarsky for always being a pillar of support for Dirshu, “The Rosh Yeshiva has always so enthusiastically been there for Dirshu. Whether it was at the beginning of this Kinyan Shas program or making the effort to travel to America for the convention, the Rosh Yeshiva’s constant guidance and encouragement so strengthens us.”

By Chaim Gold

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