Videocast featuring leading gedolim garners unprecedented pre-Rosh Hashanah inspiration.
“The Chofetz Chaim changed the briyah—he transformed the entire world! The entire agenda of klal Yisrael changed because of him and today, on his yahrtzeit, it is the time for us to make a decision—the decision to follow in his ways.”
Those were the passionate words of HaGaon HaRav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, shlita, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ateres Yisroel, in a stirring drasha seen by hundreds of thousands throughout the globe on Dirshu’s groundbreaking pre-Rosh Hashanah videocast in conjunction with Dirshu’s Seventh Annual Yom Limud and Tefilla marking the yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim.
Dirshu’s 7th Year of Giving Chizuk In Advance of the Yomim Noraim
Rav Ezrachi’s powerful drasha was part of a new, revolutionary program that Dirshu designed this year in honor of the 7th Annual Yom Limud and Tefilla to bring the message of the Chofetz Chaim to klal Yisrael on his yahrzeit, in advance of the Yomim Noraim.
For the past six years, Dirshu has been holding its annual Yom Limud and Tefilla to mark the yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim. The Yom Limud and Tefilla was established by Dirshu to give chizuk and to bring klal Yisrael together specifically on the auspicious occasion of the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrtzeit just before Rosh Hashanah in unified tefilla on behalf of all Jews and to encourage the continued learning of the Chofetz Chaim’s sefarim that have such power to invoke rachmei shamayim.
On this year’s Yom Limud and Tefilla, hundreds of thousands of Yidden throughout the world said perakim of Tehillim on behalf of klal Yisrael and learned halachos from the Mishnah Berurah and the sefer Zachor L’Miriam, both authored by the Chofetz Chaim.
With a Worldwide Impact
This year, Dirshu introduced a new program that exponentially increased the inspiration, enriching and encouraging klal Yisrael to emulate the path forged by the Chofetz Chaim in a most practical, lasting way.
They designed an incredible presentation that was shown on the Motzei Shabbos and Sunday preceding Rosh Hashanah and was seen and heard by hundreds of thousands throughout the world. The videocast, in both Hebrew and English versions, was addressed by leading gedolei Yisrael including the venerated, senior rosh yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, shlita, rosh yeshivas Ateres Yisroel of Yerushalayim; HaGaon HaRav Shimon Galei, shlita, well-known mashpia and rosh kollel; HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Hillel, shlita, rosh yeshivat Hamekubalim, Ahavat Shalom; Hagaon HaRav Nissan Kaplan, shlita, rosh yeshiva Daas Aharon; and Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita, nasi, Dirshu.
The English videocast was chaired by Rav Zev Smith, well-known maggid shiur in Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program and Irgun Shiurei Torah, while the Hebrew one was chaired by Rav Shlomo Miller. The videocast also featured musical interludes of chizuk with hartzig music by the renowned menagnim Motti Steinmetz, Zanvil Weinberger, Shlomo Cohen, Aharle Samet and a special, deeply moving composition about Radin and visiting the Chofetz Chaim’s kever that was composed especially for the event by popular writer Rabbi Nachman Seltzer.
Rav Nissan Kaplan:
‘What Better Segulah?!’
HaGaon Rav Nissan Kaplan, who spoke on the English videocast, said, “People in our generation are always seeking segulos. The Gemara tells us the best segulah. ‘He who learns halacha daily is muvtach, ensured, a portion in Olam Haba’ah. Can one get a better segulah than that?!! Now, on the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrtzeit, is the time to accept upon ourselves to learn the Mishnah Berurah daily! To learn the sefer Chofetz Chaim daily!”
Tens of Thousands of Children Throughout the World Absorb The Chofetz Chaim’s Message
Another component of the Yom Limud and Tefilla was the special programming featured in many hundreds of schools that impacted countless children across the globe.
The remarkable school-age program designed by Dirshu made a tremendous impact on tens of thousands of children both in major Jewish centers and in places far from Yiddishkeit hubs. The program was created with the singular goal of connecting children to the teachings and life of the Chofetz Chaim. Toward that goal, they wrote some hilchos Rosh Hashanah from the Chofetz Chaim’s sefer Zechor L’Miriam, together with hashkafa and mussar as taught by the Chofetz Chaim, and compiled them into age-appropriate, user-friendly, easy-to-understand booklets replete with magnificent illustrations, rare stories of the Chofetz Chaim and a brief history of the Chofetz Chaim’s yeshiva.
Throughout the diverse communities across the United States and Canada, a wide range of more than 150 boys’ and girls’ schools, chadorim and Bais Yaakovs that truly represent the entire panoply of Orthodox Jewry, participated in the Yom Limud and Tefilla school programs. They included schools from communities such as Monsey, NY; Lakewood, NJ; Brooklyn, NY; Manhattan, NY; Toronto, Canada; Houston, TX; Baltimore, MD; Cleveland, OH; Waterbury, CN; Phoenix, AZ; Passaic, NJ; Denver, CO; Boston, MA; Los Angeles, CA; and Providence, RI. In addition, countless chasidishe schools in Brooklyn, Lakewood and Monsey also participated.
Rav Dovid Hofstedter: The Struggle Is the Greatest Success
Rav Dovid Hofstedter, nasi of Dirshu, delivered a passionate, moving address in the videocast wherein he discussed one of the primary, unasked questions that many thinking Jews face at this time of year. “The Yomim Noraim is a tremendous opportunity, but with it comes a tremendous nisayon as well. The opportunity is obvious. It is a time when our tefillos are heard, a time of teshuva, etc. Simultaneously, many of us think, ‘We have been here before. We have tried and ultimately reverted back to our old lives?
Rav Hofstedter said, “When Yaakov struggled with the malach of Eisav, the pasuk says he was called ‘Yisrael, ki sarisa, because you struggled, vatuchal, and you prevailed.’
“The Chiddushei Harim asks, ‘Yaakov should therefore be called “vatuchal, you prevailed!” Why does the pasuk call him Yisrael after the word sarisa, struggle? He answers that the greatest success is the struggle itself! Striving to overcome obstacles is the greatest success. That is our tafkid.”
Rav Hofstedter then shared a deeply personal moment with the multitudes who were tuned in throughout the world, “Both my parents and my wife’s parents were Holocaust survivors. They lived through the kivshan ha’eish, the fiery furnace of the churban. Some people gave up hope after Hitler. Others didn’t. They didn’t give in to yiush, to despair, but they struggled and prevailed. From that struggle and that hope of that group of heroic survivors, the entire olam haTorah that we have today was built. Those survivors built it.
‘The Time Is NOW!’
Rav Zev Smith concluded with a passionate call to all Yidden, wherever they may be, to follow in the path of the Chofetz Chaim by bringing the learning of daily halacha into their lives. “The time to start is NOW!” he exclaimed. “Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is now learning the halachos of sukkah. It is the opportune time to jump in and begin to learn halacha l’maasah that you can incorporate into your life immediately!”
Dirshu is poised to complete the second machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha with a grand World Siyum. There is no better time to start learning Daf HaYomi B’Halacha by getting in, now, before the third machzor even begins!”