Senior Gedolei Yisrael Urge Klal Yisrael to Learn Daf HaYomi B’Halacha
“If our mouths were as full of song as the sea is full of water and our tongues as full of joy as the multitudes of the waves…” we would not be able to properly encapsulate the depth of feeling, joy, celebration, phenomenal achdus and inspiration at the Dirshu World Siyumim celebrating the completion of the Machzor Rishon of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. Certainly it was a celebration of accomplishment, seven years of yegiah, toiling in halacha as thousands completed the first cycle, but as much as it was a celebration over the past it was a demonstration of resolve for the future! Rivevos alpehei Yisrael, tens of thousands of Yidden from literally across the world, Eretz Yisrael, North America, Europe, South Africa, South America, Australia, all accepted upon themselves k’ish echad b’lev echad with a Kabbalas HaTorah-like achdus, to bring daily halacha and mussar into their lives. Last week, thousands of new shiurim began Siman Aleph, Se’iph Aleph in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim with Mishnah Berurah, tens of thousands of individual learners began the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha seder.
A United Kinnus Tzaddikim
The worldwide siyumim were essentially the inauguration of a new Daf HaYomi in Klal Yisrael that will enhance halachic observance throughout Klal Yisrael thereby saving multitudes from millions of issurim, transgressions that they heretofore did not know existed! Perhaps that is why the centenarian senior Gadol Hador, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, troubled himself to come and spoke with such feeling in his short words of bracha. Rav Shteinman said that a gathering such as the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is a ‘kinnus tzaddikim’ that is good for Klal Yisrael, that enriches Klal Yisrael and gives tremendous nachas ruach to Hashem!”
What Will We Answer After 120 Years?
The event in Tel Aviv’s Yad Eliyahu stadium opened with Dirshu’s indefatigable director of Public Affairs, Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein, calling upon HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, son-in-law of Rav Elyashiv, zt”l, and Rav of Ramat Elchanan, to deliver opening remarks. Rav Zilberstein related that when the Netziv, Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin, completed writing his magnum opus sefer on the She’iltos of Rav Achai Gaon he made a celebration. The speech he made then reverberated throughout the world. He explained that when he was a young boy he overheard his parents discussing his future. They said, “He is not that bright. We should apprentice him by a shoemaker and in this way he will be able to sustain himself…” upon hearing this, the Netziv resolved that he wanted to learn Torah. He applied himself with superhuman hasmadah until he became a gadol hador, a Rosh Yeshiva and author of some of the most important sefarim. The Netziv exclaimed, “Imagine if I would have become a shoemaker! After 120 years I would go up to shamayim thinking I had lived as G-d fearing shoemaker and they would demand from me, ‘Where is your sefer on the She’iltos of Rav Achai Gaon?!’”
Rav Zilberstein, thundered, “Today, because of Dirshu, countless talmidim have completed and been tested on the entire Mishnah Berurah, thousands have completed and been tested on the entire Shas! If not for Dirshu these learners would have come to shamayim and been asked, ‘Where is my Shas? Where is my Shulchan Aruch?!’ How much thanks do we owe Dirshu for enabling Klal Yisrael to reach its potential in Torah learning?!”
Addressing the siyum on Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, Rav Zilberstein related in the name of his illustrious father-in-law, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, that there is no greater kiddush Hashem than learning halacha!
The Entrance of Seventy Gedolim
Rav Zilberstein’s address was followed by one of the highlights of the evening, the entrance of more than seventy Gedolei Yisrael, Roshei Yeshiva, Admorim, and Poskim representing the entire cross-section of Klal Yisrael. Only several select senior gedolim did not come at that time, because they would arrive individually a bit later in the evening.
Rav Rozenstein then introduced HaGaon HaRav Yisrael Menachem Alter, shlita, the son of the Gerer Rebbe, shlita, and explained that the Rebbe, who was participating in the simultaneous siyum at the Binyanei Haumah Convention Center in Yerushalayim for a protracted period of time, sent his son to deliver his words of bracha and guidance. With great yiras hakavod Rav Alter gave over the exact wording of his father, in Yiddish and then Hebrew. What follows is a free translation. “Learning Mishnah Berurah is daily learning for the purpose of implementing what one learns. The underlying foundation of halacha is to fulfill Hashem’s mitzvos. A person needs knowledge of halacha in every step of his life. That is the only way he can live like a Jew in all areas of life. Chazal teach that Hashem loves the gates of halacha more than shuls and battei midrash. If one engages in what Hashem loves, he will certainly merit all the brachos in ruchniyus and gashmiyus!”
Moving Niggunim and Ruach
Throughout the evening, the drashos and appearances of Gedolei Yisrael were interspersed with heartwarming niggunim of hisorerus and simcha sung live by some of the greatest baalei menagnim such as R’ Issac Honig, R’ Shloime Cohen, R’ Arele Samet among others, accompanied by a world class orchestra of some 100 musicians. In addition, moving video presentations including Dirshu’s recent visit to the kever of the Chofetz Chaim were shown.
Rav Chaim Kanievsky Dancing in Celebration
Undoubtedly, what brought the crowd to its feet in passionate chizuk was the entrance of the senior Gedolei Yisrael at intervals throughout the next part of the program, beginning with the entrance of the sar haTorah, HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita. It is impossible to describe the electric atmosphere as Rav Chaim slowly made his way to the middle of the arena, to the head of the table of the Gedolim. One participant said, “I thought the roof would blow open!”
With Rav Chaim gracing the head, a radiant smile on his face, the Modzhitzer Rebbe, shlita, was called upon to complete chelek vav of Mishnah Berurah. The Rebbe cited the famed words of Tana D’vei Eliyahu that he who learns halacha daily is assured a place in Olam Habaah. The Rebbe said, “If a person wants to live a life of Olam Habaah in this world then he needs to live a life of halachos, a life al pi halacha.” After reciting the hadran in the presence of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Kaddish was recited. Immediately thereafter the music started playing and Rav Chaim painstakingly stood up and began to dance in his place, holding hands with Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi Dirshu, on one side and HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh, on the other. The crowd danced ecstatically, watching Rav Chaim dancing. It was a true manifestation of simchas haTorah!
The dancing was seamlessly followed by the venerated nonagenarian Rosh Yeshiva of Kamenitz, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Scheiner, shlita, who began chelek aleph of Mishnah Berurah, enjoining all to follow the words of the Shulchan Aruch, “To strengthen themselves like a lion in the service of Hashem!”
Binyanei Haumah Graced by Live Drashos from Gedolei Yisrael
Meanwhile in Yerushalayim’s Binyanei Haumah Convention Center thousands gathered to participate in their own siyum and hook-up to the live proceedings in Yad Eliyahu. The Kaliver Rebbe, shlita, was honored with making the siyum. The emotional symbolism as this survivor of Nazi atrocities tearfully recited the Kaddish was not lost on anyone. HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Ezrachi, shlita, R”M, Mir Yerushalayim, began the new machzor in Binyanei Haumah. He was followed by Rav Dovid Hofstedter who spoke live in Binyanei Haumah and then rushed to join the siyum in Tel Aviv. HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron, also addressed the large crowd in Yerushalayim before joining the event in Tel Aviv.
Rav Dovid Hofstedter: “Hashem’s Will is Daily Halacha and Mussar
The next major address at Yad Eliyahu was given by the Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter. Based on the Gemara in Pesachim and the Maharsha and Alshich, Rav Hofstedter showed that Am Yisrael’s power of achdus has the ability to bring even simple people to the level of bnei neviyim. “I recently had the zechus of davening at the kevarim of the Chofetz Chaim in Radin and of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. We went with Rabbanim representing every shevet in Klal Yisrael. We davened on behalf of all lomdei Daf HaYomi B’halacha present and future. The achdus permeating this siyum and the other Daf HaYomi B’Halacha siyumim has been phenomenal in nature. All of Klal Yisrael has come together for a single purpose – to demonstrate the value of learning halachah. The Derishah makes a famous statement cited by the Mishnah Berurah: If a person sets aside time for the study of Gemara and its commentaries, he has not fulfilled the requirement of kevius ittim l’Torah – having a set time for Torah study. A person must also designate a time for the study of practical halachah, for the Derishah explains, “That is the root and essence of our Torah.”
“The Mishnah Berurah also rules that a person must have a daily set time for the study of mussar for “the greater a person is, the greater is his yetzer hara and the antidote for the yetzer hara is the admonitions and teachings of Chazal.
“It is thus clear that it is literally the will of Hashem Himself for every individual to set aside a period of time each day for the study of halachah and mussar. Let us all accept upon ourselves to join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, to participate in the tests. In this zechus may we merit the ultimate simcha and achdus with the coming of Mashiach.”
Rav Badani: The Antidote to Tzaros is Perhaps Learning Halacha
HaGaon HaRav Shimon Baadani, shlita, member of the Nesius of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, said, “One who learns halacha every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah as it says, ‘Halichos olam Lo [the ways of the world are His]’ - do not read the word halichos, but rather halachos.”
Rav Baadani explained how the passuk, ‘Halichos olam Lo’ 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 Baadani 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 passuk that one who learns halacha every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah to teach that even when we are plagued by great tzaros, great travail and suffering, maybe the antidote is to learn halacha every day.”
Rav Edelstein: “Learning Halacha Can Transform One’s Spiritual Life”
The venerated elder Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, emotionally addressed the assembled, “Every one of the Chofetz Chaim’s sefarim was written to enrich Klal Yisrael and enhance their observance. Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is doing exactly that.” Rav Edelstein related that halacha can transform one’s spiritual life. “I have had talmidim who were not succeeding in learning and once they started learning halacha they blossomed in other areas of learning as well!”
Rav Shteinman’s Entrance, A High Point
Words cannot describe what transpired after Rav Edelstein’s address. Rabbi Rozenstein asked the crowd to welcome the senior Rosh Yeshiva of our time, Maran HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita. As the diminutive gadol slowly headed towards his seat at the head, the crowd of lomdei Torah could not contain their excitement. The eruption of simcha and ecstasy defies description as all craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the Rosh Yeshiva’s holy countenance.
There was a hush as Rav Shteinman, in his soft voice, cited the Gemara that, “A gathering of tzaddikim is good for them and good for the world. A gathering of Reshaim is bad for them and bad for the world.” Rav Shteinman said forcefully, “It is good to make gatherings like this! They strengthen us all, especially in [difficult times] like this. In this zechus may all of us merit kol tuv!”
HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef and Nasi of the Shas Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah, spoke about the unique quality of the Mishnah Berurah. “When one learns Mishnah Berurah, one can truly understand the underlying premise of the halachah. I always tell my talmidim that although we Sefardim do not rule like the Mishnah Berurah, they should first learn the Mishnah Berurah and then learn the final outcome of the Sefardic poskim. After all, the Mishnah Berurah teaches you how to understand the halacha, not just what the halacha is. Therefore it is wonderful that Dirshu has instituted the learning of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, daily learning of Mishnah Berurah.
The Sanzer Rebbe gave a comprehensive address pointing out that although they learned Torah in the time of the churban habayis, they did not trouble themselves to reach halachic conclusions and that brought to the churban. He went on to praise Dirshu for enriching Klal Yisrael with halacha. “Rav Dovid Hofstedter has many zechuyos, but the bringing of halachic observance to the masses on such a scale is a particularly unique zechus!”
Following the Sanzer Rebbe, a letter of bracha from Belzer Rebbe who could not attend due to health considerations was read by the Belzer Dayan, HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Friedman, shlita. The final address was given by the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, a member of the Nesius of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, who hailed the importance of learning practical halacha and urged all to join. He said that when a person accepts upon himself to learn and fulfill his halachic obligations he is empowered to beg Hashem for Torah knowledge and dveikus.
Following the Vizhnitzer Rebbe’s speech there was a beautiful musical interlude. Capitalizing on the remarkable, palpable achdus as all the shivtei Yisrael coalesced under the banner of Torah symbolized by Dirshu, a beautiful sheves achim was held. Moving niggunim and dancing by Rav Dovid together with other Gedolim and prominent members of Dirshu’s hanhala were sung as the enthusiastic crowd of more than 13,000 lomdei Dirshu sang and danced along.
Rav Hofstedter: “Now is a Golden Opportunity!”
At the sheves achim, Rav Dovid got up, microphone in hand and gave a personal, impassioned address, speaking as one brother would speak to another.
He said, “The Gemara makes a curious statement concerning the background for the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash. Why was the Land lost?’ Hashem Himself explained, ‘For they abandoned My Torah that I placed before them.’ Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: [This means that] they did not recite the brachos before Torah study.” The Acharonim are puzzled by the Gemara’s statement: Why was there any doubt as to why Eretz Yisrael was lost? Elsewhere, the Gemara states clearly that the reasons for the Churban were well known: “Why was the first Beis Hamikdash destroyed? Because of three things that took place: avodah zarah, immorality, and murder.” The Gemara cites a number of pesukim substantiating that contention. The second Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam.
“The Toras Chaim explains that the chachamim and neviim of the day were certainly well aware that the exile and destruction were caused by those cardinal sins. While they knew this, however, they were also plagued by a question they could not answer: The Jewish People in that generation were involved in Torah learning, and the Torah is the antidote to the yetzer hara. Why didn’t the Torah protect them?”
Rav Hofstedter showed that a lack of yiras shamayim was the reason that the Torah they learned did not protect them. “It is not enough to learn. The Bartenura says that the purpose of learning is yiras Hashem. The second bayis was destroyed because of sinas chinam. That terrible aveirah is also rooted in a ‘yirah deficiency’.
“Morai V’Rabbosai,” passionately exclaimed Rav Dovid, “Hashem is waiting for us to connect with Him through yiras chet. Now is the ultimate opportunity. The new cycle of the Daf Yomi B’Halachah program is beginning. We all have a golden opportunity to rise to the level at which fear of sin is the purpose and ultimate goal of our learning. The daily learning of the Mishnah Berurah with the relevant supplementary materials will cause our learning to have a practical aim while the study of the other works of the Chofetz Chaim will help us increase our dedication to the mitzvah of v’ahavta l’reiacha kamocha.
“Every one of us can recognize for himself that there is truly no other way to achieve this ideal. The only way for us to learn Torah in order to apply it to our actions is to learn halachah so that we will know what we are required to do. And the only way to learn in order to increase our fear of sin is to learn what constitutes a sin.
“Right now, we all have an opportunity to set up a learning schedule that revolves around the goal of increasing our fear of sin and our observance of the mitzvos, thus achieving a true connection to the wisdom and kedushah of the Torah and the Master of the Universe Himself.
“My friends, this is the time to make that commitment. This is the time to capitalize on the sense of kedushah and joy at this awesome occasion and to join the ranks of those who follow the Daf Yomi B’Halachah program throughout the world, to create a kiddush Hashem through the study and practice of halachah.”
A Week of Siyumim
The siyumim in Eretz Yisrael were the culmination of a week of spectacular siyumim worldwide. One of the truly unique siyumim was the one held in Downtown Paris on Sunday. This was the first major Torah event of such magnitude in the history of France! Thousands gathered at Les Docks Des Paris at a siyum headed by HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef and Nasi of the Shas Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah.
The enthusiasm of the crowd at the sight of luminaries such as Rav Cohen and the Kaliver Rebbe, shlita, of Williamsburg was heartwarming. The fact that Dirshu had come to France to enhance the Torah learning of French Jewry was clearly appreciated.
The major event was preceded by a meeting with over 50 of France’s prominent Rabbanim and Maggidei Shiur led by Rav Shalom Cohen and Rav Dovid Hofstedter. Rav Cohen and Rav Hofstedter ardently called on France’s spiritual leadership to impart the importance of learning halacha to their congregants and deliver and facilitate shiurim in daily halacha.
Keeping Together One Halacha at a Time
At the major event, the well-known Maggid, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, spoke very movingly weaving stories with words of inspiration. He picked up the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah, delineated the sefer’s unique qualities and urged every person who had not yet undertaken to learn Daf HaYomi B’Halacha to join a shiur and transform their spiritual lives for the better!
Rabbi Krohn related a powerful story how once at the Pesach Seder, just before vihe she’amdah, his three-year old grandchild asked if he could sit on his lap. “Of course, I answered affirmatively. When my grandson, with his cherubic voice, joined us in reciting vihe she’amdah, I couldn’t hold back my tears. So many nations have tried to destroy us! We have lost so many! When will it end?” I thought. “But if we unify, as echad, as one, they will not succeed.” Rabbi Krohn, his voice cracking with emotion continued, “The best way to keep together is to learn halacha, keep halachos together and join together as one in the wonderful program, that will enrich Klal Yisrael, Daf HaYomi B’Halacha.”
France’s Leading Rabbanim Address Event
Rav Naftali Levy, Director of Dirshu France, then called upon Rav Yosef Sitruk, former Chief Rabbi of France, who has previously spoken at the Dirshu world siyum and seen Dirshu’s impact from close. Rav Sitruk welcomed Dirshu’s presence in France and called upon French Jewry to access the unique bracha of being part of Dirshu.
One milestone was the siyum HaMishnah Berurah made by HaGaon HaRav Mordechai Rottenberg, shlita, one of Paris’s most prominent Rabbanim. Rav Rottenberg hailed the extraordinary nature of Dirshu, an organization whose entire purpose is to be mezakeh es harabbim. He praised Rav Hofstedter for revolutionizing limud haTorah in Eretz Yisrael, America, England and now France!
After the siyum the entire assemblage broke out in song. To watch the venerated Rav Shalom Cohen holding Rav Dovid Hofstedter’s hand, the Kaliver Rebbe, who suffers from a debilitating illness that limits his movements, clearly exerting himself, holding hands in celebration of the simchas haTorah was a sight that left an indelible impression!
HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Katz, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Mosdos Yad Mordechai, was honored with beginning the new machzor.
Bringing the Geulah by Doing His Will
Rav Dovid Hofstedter was then called to speak. The crowd sat riveted as Rav Hofstedter spoke in Hebrew interspersed with French. Rav Hofstedter said, “The fact that such a large crowd has gathered to celebrate the learning of halacha is a manifestation of Mi Keamcha Yisrael. Referring to the terrorist attacks on Jews earlier in the winter, Rav Dovid asked, “What is Hashem asking of us? Perhaps what we can do to invoke His rachamim and bring the geulah is to do His Will. The Ramban says that the geulah will come when Klal Yisrael does His Will. By conducting our lives in accordance with halacha we can bring the geulah.” Rav Dovid concluded, “My dear French Jews, I am so happy to be with you here today! Let us come together as one man with one heart and accept upon ourselves to learn the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha!”
The son of the Kaliver Rebbe, shlita then gave over a message in the name of his father and he was followed by the major address of HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen, shlita. When Rav Cohen stood up the crowd erupted in song, giving tremendous kavod to this senior Gaon and Rosh Yeshiva.
Rav Shalom Cohen: “Dirshu are Sheluchim of Hashem”
Rav Cohen said, “Morai V’Rabotai, the siyum of Shas ends with the words, ‘He who learns halachos every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah. From here we see that learning Gemara every day is insufficient. A person must learn halacha every day! If not, how will he know how to conduct himself?!” Rav Cohen, with a strength that belied his age, ended, “Dirshu, by making this program and all of its programs are the sheluchim of Hashem to increase love of Torah and knowledge of Torah!”
Creating an Iron Dome of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha
The events in Eretz Yisrael and France followed major siyumim in the United States, England and South Africa. In America, the siyum, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel of Stamford, Connecticut, was a memorable event. In addition to the more than 1,000 Lomdei Dirshu who were there for Shabbos, hundreds more joined the siyum on motzaei Shabbos.
The Hadran was made by the Skverer Dayan, HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita. HaGaon HaRav Aharon Feldman, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael Baltimore was honored with saying the Kaddish after which the entire assemblage broke out into an ecstatic rikkud. Following the dancing, HaGaon HaRav Reuven Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Staten Island, was asked to start the second machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha.
Rav Dovid Hofstedter then rose and with great feeling proposed the charge of the evening, “Morai v’rabbosai, let us all come together to create a new Iron Dome! A shield of chizuk and shemirah to fulfill the ratzon Hashem, an Iron Dome that will protect us from the invasion of the surrounding culture! We must come together k’ish echad b’lev echad and create a new Daf Yomi in Klal Yisrael, a Daf Yomi B’Halacha!”
Learning Halacha Impacts One’s Halicha
Another major address was delivered by HaGaon HaRav Malkiel Kotler, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood who came special on motzaei Shabbos to participate in Dirshu’s simchas haTorah. In his heartfelt remarks, Rav Malkiel said, “The Gemara tells us that, ‘everyone who learns daily halacha is assured a place in Olam Habaah, as the passuk states, halichos olam...’”
The Rosh Yeshiva expounded, “When a person learns halacha daily, his every halicha, his every step throughout the day is done in accordance with the Torah. This is what assures him Olam Habaah.”
On Shabbos, important words of chizuk were delivered by HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe and Mesivta of Lakewood and Hagaon Harav Shea Fuhrer, shlita, Rosh Kollel Bobov Toronto. An in-depth shiur was given by HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Miller, shlita, Rosh Kollel Avreichim of Toronto and Av Bais Din Bais Horaah of Lakewood.
Shalosh Seudos was a profound spiritual experience with powerful messages given by the gedolim who spoke: HaGaon HaRav Aharon Feldman, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael of Baltimore, HaGaon HaRav Yeruchem Olshin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Choueka, shlita, Rav of Congregation Ohel Simha in Deal, New Jersey, and HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zalman Gips, shlita, Rav of Kehal Birchas Avraham, Rosh Yeshivas Yeshiva Nehardaah and Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Maggid Shiur.
South Africa’s ‘Next Stage’
The next major siyum was held in South Africa. Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein said, “The Dirshu Siyum haschala of the machzor sheini of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha was the “next stage” in the maturing of the South African frum community.”
Dayan Yonasson Abrahams, Dayan on the London Beis Din, said, “There is a famous aphorism, ‘The devil is in the details.’ We say, ‘The Divine is in the details!’ The kedusha of halacha is in the details of halachic observance.”
Rav Dovid Hofstedter said, “For a Jew, learning and observing practical halachah is part and parcel of revealing the truth. This is how every Jew can discover his own connection to the Master of the Universe. Now is the time to commit to undertaking Daf HaYomi B’Halacha!”
Europe’s Finest Hour
Europe had never experienced a Shabbos and Motzaei Shabbos like Shabbos Parshas Vayikra. Held at the Horwood House Hotel, just over an hour from London, the participants were enriched with presence of the Modzhitzer Rebbe, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Yissocher Frand, shlita, R”M at Yeshiva Ner Yisrael of Baltimore, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Schiff, shlita, Rav of Antwerp and Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi of Dirshu.
The Motzaei Shabbos Siyum was especially inspiring with some 500 guests joining the 500 who spent the entire Shabbos together. The Modzhitzer Rebbe, shlita, was honored with making the haschalah of the new machzor that many thousands across the world recently joined. In his remarks, the Rebbe cited the well-known Tanah Dvei Eliyahu stating, “‘He who learns halacha every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah.’ Eliyahu Hanavi,” said the Rebbe, “has promised Olam Habaah to he who learns halacha, but Dirshu has enabled every individual to access that bracha by providing a framework to learn halacha daily and know and retain what one learns.”
Rav Dovid Hofstedter told an emotional story about his mother during the Holocaust that showed how adhering to halacha can bring great yeshuah. He ended his words with an appeal to the thousand attendees, “Let us join together to build a new Daf Yomi, a Daf HaYomi of shemiras halacha and ahavas Yisrael that will bring shemira, geulah and yeshua and overturn the tide of sinah to ahava and ultimately lead to the bi’as goel.”
The Rav of Antwerp, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Schiff, shlita, related that he was asked, “Couldn’t Dirshu have found a better time to make a siyum other than just before Pesach when everyone is so busy?” Rav Schiff answered, “That is exactly the message and secret of Dirshu! Dirshu enables one to find time to learn even when one doesn’t have time! Dirshu has taught people how to steal time that they didn’t know existed. Friday afternoons, motzaei Shabbos, early mornings…”
For the British community hearing Rav Yissocher Frand was a rare treat and Rav Frand did not disappoint. His brilliant address encompassed the takeaway message to Klal Yisrael from all of the siyumim. “Tomorrow morning, open up the Mishnah Berurah and start Siman Aleph Se’iph Aleph. Don’t wait! Do It!”