The frenzy to obtain tickets for the sold-out World Siyum to be led by the gedolei hador this Motzei Shabbos Chanukah in the Binyanei Haumah Convention Center has compelled Dirshu to open five new remote venues in strategic locations throughout Eretz Yisrael.
Participants will be able to watch a livestream of the event and celebrate the simchas haTorah, the accomplishments of the lomdei Torah who have finished Shas as well as with those who have completed Dirshu’s “Kinyan Chochma” mussar-learning program.
As Dirshu embarks on its remarkable series of World Siyumim in Jewish centers the world over, Dirshu has answered the call of the myriad lomdei Dirshu in Eastern Europe who have echoed the words of the Bnei Yisrael, saying, “Lamah nigara, why should we be deprived?” To answer that call, Dirshu will celebrate three World Siyumim in Eastern Europe.
Pinsk, Minsk, Radin and Now Cape Town!
The first will be a Shabbos convention on Shabbos Parshas Terumah, February 28-March 1, in the city of Pinsk, where there is a thriving frum community with members regularly taking Dirshu tests.
On Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei, March 20-22, there will be a Shabbos convention in the city of Minsk, where the community’s Torah accomplishments will be celebrated. Who would believe that the city where such luminaries as HaGaon HaRav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Kamenetzky, zt”l, and HaGaon HaRav Reuven Grozovsky, zt”l, learned in their early youth, in the pre-World War I era before Communism took hold, will now hold a World Siyum celebrating the completion of Shas?!
Another community that would perhaps be deemed by some as the “end of the world” that is joining the family of Dirshu World Siyumim is the city of Cape Town, South Africa, where a World Siyum celebration will be held on 19 Teves/January 16 at the Radisson Blu Le Vendome Hotel and Convention Center. That siyum will be a day after the large World Siyum in Johannesburg at The Deck Convention Center, a large venue that is already completely sold out. The contagious simchas haTorah is spreading through the world as Yidden flock to celebrate the Torah accomplishments of the mesaymei haShas.
Manchester Event City Sold Out
Another example of the tremendous anticipation in advance of the Dirshu World Siyum is what is transpiring in Manchester, England. Months ago, Dirshu took the bold step of renting Event City, the largest indoor venue in the entire Greater Manchester area to celebrate the siyum. The site, which holds many thousands of participants, is already completely sold out, and Dirshu has opened a nearby auxiliary location with an additional 1,000 seats to accommodate the lomdei Torah and ohavei Torah who deeply want to participate in an event of kavod haTorah, simchas haTorah and chizuk haTorah on a scale never previously seen in Manchester.
The Manchester siyum also shared another very important milestone. It is the only siyum being held on the actual day that the Daf HaYomi completes Shas. That momentous day, 8 Teves/January 5, 2020, will be a historic day in the history of Manchester Jewry and World Jewry as the myriad members of klal Yisrael will collectively exclaim, “Hadran Alach Masechta Niddah V’chol Shas Bavli!”
Yerushalayim Siyum in Binyanei Haumah This Motzei Shabbos
As this year’s World Siyumim, beginning with a massive siyum this Motzei Shabbos Chanukah at Binyanei Haumah, come ever nearer, those who merited attending the pervious siyum HaShas at the same Binyanei Haumah Convention Center cannot help but be flooded with memories of the colossal kiddush Hashem! At that time, addresses were given by HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Scheiner shlita, rosh yeshiva of the Kamenitz Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, shlita, rosh yeshiva, Yeshiva Ateres Yisrael, HaGaon HaRav Simcha Kook, shlita, chief rabbi of Rechovot, HaGaon Dayan Aharon Dovid Dunner of London and HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sitruk, zt”l, former chief rabbi of Paris.
The words of Rav Scheiner, the elder rosh yeshiva of our time, still ring in the ears as he encapsulated the revolution wrought by Dirshu in the world of Torah learning and the defining role that Dirshu has in the eyes of the gedolei Yisrael. He said, “When you learn with Dirshu, you’re not only mesayem Shas, you sweat through it! I know how Dirshu transforms the lives of those who participate in the program not from hearsay, but rather because I’ve had the opportunity to see it firsthand, as one of my own grandchildren has just finished the cumulative Dirshu test on the entire Shas! My grandson is now a baki b’Shas. It’s tough, it requires a true commitment—but look how far you can go!” Rav Scheiner concluded, “Dirshu has built an empire of Torah the likes of which I am not sure has ever existed in the history of klal Yisrael.”
Rav Dunner then encouraged his listeners, exclaiming, “Let’s talk tachlis! We’ve heard all the wonderful things that Dirshu does, how those who learn with its programs become Shas Yidden, become proficient in halacha. They know that already; they have experienced it. What about those of us who have not yet experienced it? Now, at the beginning of Shas once again, perhaps this is the time to start to learn in a way that will lead to talmudo b’yado?
“I do not say,” Rav Dunner explained, “that one must davka join the Daf Yomi program. There are many other programs for accountable Torah learning. The main thing that we all must take home with us today from this special, momentous Siyum HaShas is to make a serious commitment to our learning; to set aside time that is consecrated for learning without interruption. No picking up cell phones, no other distractions, just learning in a way that will lead a person to ultimately be counted among those about whom it is said, ‘Ashrei mi sheba l’kan v’talmudo b’yado’!”
The Closing of a Circle
One of the most poignant moments at that event was when Rav Dovid Hofstedter’s father-in-law, Reb Avrohom Bleeman, a survivor of the Holocaust who endured a host of concentration camps, stood up and said the Kaddish after the siyum. Then, Reb Avrohom stood on the stage and, accompanied by the pure voices of the Shira Chadasha Boys’ Choir, sang a song that he had personally heard from Rav Meir Shapiro, founder of the Daf Yomi, when he was a young child and Rav Meir came to the town where he lived in Poland and taught the song to the children of the community.
It was a closing of circles. This Holocaust survivor, who had undergone the horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, was now singing at a Siyum HaShas, celebrating the accomplishments of thousands who had been tested on Shas. The Nazis are in the dust heap of history, but netzach Yisrael lo yishaker—nothing can detract from the eternal nature of klal Yisrael. Reb Avrohom Bleeman, his son-in-law, his children and grandchildren are finishing Shas—and ensuring that thousands of others will, too.
This ideal of netzach Yisrael lo yishaker will once again be celebrated this Motzei Shabbos at Binyanei Haumah and at all of the other World Siyumim where lomdei Dirshu in six continents will celebrate the profound transformation that can be made in one’s life following a true commitment to limud haTorah.
By Chaim Gold