June 20, 2024
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Senior Poskim and Rabbanim of Lakewood Encourage Daily Halacha Learning as Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Nears World-Siyum on Entire Mishnah Berurah

“I felt like I was in the lishkas hagazis of Lakewood,” said one Daf HaYomi B’Halacha magid shiur, after attending a unique, unprecedented gathering of leading senior poskim and rabbanim in Lakewood this past Motzei Shabbos, Parshas Chayei Sarah.

What was the nature of the gathering at the home of senior Beis Medrash Govoha posek, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Meir Katz, shlita? Why was it was so significant that it was attended by the most august senior poskim of Lakewood such as HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Ephraim Forchheimer, shlita, senior posek of Beis Medrash Govoha and rav of Khal She’eiris Adas Yisroel, HaGaon HaRav Osher Chaim Leiberman, shlita, senior posek of Beis Medrash Govoha and rav of Khal Zichron Shneur, HaGaon HaRav Avrohom Spitzer, shlita, the Skverer dayan of Lakewood, as well as numerous other prominent rabbanim and poskim including Rav Moshe Chaim Kahan, rav of Khal Yoel Meir and a posek of Beis Medrash Govoha, Rav Moshe Zev Feldman, a posek of Beis Medrash Govoha, Rav Simcha Bunim Londinsky, rav of Khal Ohr Gedalya and a senior rosh chaburah at Beis Medrash Govoha, Rav Chaim Weg, rosh kollel l’dayanus, Bais HaVaad?

The answer? They came to give chizuk to the ideal that every Yid, whether kollel yungerman, baal habayis or bachur, must incorporate the learning of daily halacha into one’s schedule.

These senior poskim came to give chizuk to the daily leaning of halacha through Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Daily Mishnah Berurah program and to hail the program in advance of its upcoming historic siyum on the second machzor of Mishnah Berurah. Dirshu’s nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, also attended and addressed the event.

Rav Moshe Chaim Kahan, the chairman of the evening, opened the event by thanking Rav Katz for opening his home to host the distinguished guests, and noting how the presence of poskim and rabbanim of such stature is a testament to the importance that they attach to daily limud halacha for all Yidden.

 

Rav Avrohom Spitzer, Skverer Dayan of Lakewood: ‘A Loyal Citizen Must Know the Law!’

Rav Spitzer, one of Lakewood’s most prominent poskim, cited the words of the Peleh Yoetz, who writes, “It is an obligation to learn the Orach Chaim order of Shulchan Aruch every day just as it is an obligation to put on tefillin every day!” Rav Spitzer explained that every move a Yid makes from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning until he closes them at night is dictated by halacha. It is impossible to observe halacha if one does not learn it regularly. Rav Spitzer then illustrated his point with a fascinating story about a driver who had a clean record but was nevertheless pulled over because he had snow on the roof of his car. When he came to fight the ticket in court he said, “Your honor, I am a loyal citizen. I am very careful to comply with the law. I have a clean driving record, but what can I do? I was not aware of this law. Please forgive me.”

The judge said, “You say you are a loyal citizen. How could a loyal citizen not be aware of the law? A loyal citizen must know the law!”

“We Yidden,” the dayan exclaimed, “must realize that we are obligated to know and observe halacha. ‘I didn’t know,’ is not an excuse. Baruch Hashem, Dirshu, led by Rav Dovid Hofstedter, has made a revolution in this inyan. They have facilitated the knowledge and learning of halacha by tens of thousands through their testing system. Ashrei Dirshu! Ashrei chelkam and ashreichem magidei shiur who stand at the front lines of the revolution! It is such a zechus!”

 

Rav Yaakov Forchheimer:
Teaching Halacha,
A Combination of Torah and Chesed

The arrival of Lakewood’s senior posek, Rav Yaakov Forchheimer, was greeted with tremendous yiras hakavod. Rav Forchheimer, in his clear, methodical way, imparted a strong message of chizuk regarding the importance of learning daily halacha. Rav Forchheimer focused on the tremendous zechus and chesed in which the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha magidei shiur are involved as they imbue so many Yidden with knowledge of daily halacha. He said, “Eliezer’s first words to Lavan and Besuel were, ‘Eved Avrohom anochi, I am a servant of Avrohom!’ Eliezer didn’t exist on his own; his whole existence was the fact that he was Avrohom’s servant. Chazal tell us that he was the main conduit of Avrohom’s Torah. He was doleh u’mashkeh, he drew out and gave to drink Avrohom’s Torah to the world. The Torah says that he therefore merited ascending to Gan Eden alive. That is the power of someone who gives over Hashem’s Torah to others.

“Eliezer was so effective in giving over emunah that Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky points out that even reshaim such as Lavan and Besuel were forced to admit that “M’Hashem yatzah hadavar.” That is the great zechus and Toras chesed of the magidei shiur of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha: the greatest zechus of Torah and the greatest zechus of chesed.

 

Rav Dovid Hofstedter:
Performing Every Action
Al Pi Halacha Brings Bracha!

Rav Dovid Hofstedter began by thanking all the distinguished rabbanim for coming and giving chizuk to Dirshu. He then expressed his hakaras hatov to the rabbanim and magidei shiur for their vital role in helping Dirshu succeed in its mission of bringing awareness of halacha to the daily lives of Yidden world over.

Rav Dovid gave over an intricate dvar Torah where he masterfully showed how we can learn from Avrohom Avinu and the Avos the ideal that a person must live with the Shechina during every second of his life. “Every act and thought must be weighed and judged on whether it is appropriate for the Shechina. “Hashem has nothing else in his word other than the four amos of Halacha. Thus, the Shechina rests on the lomdei and shomrei halacha, and therefore we must judge every act and thought. “Every Yid must judge his every action—even the most mundane—according to the din, to halacha.”

Rav Dovid then reminisced, “When we were planning the Kinyan Halacha program, we visited Rav Elyashiv. His response to the concept was ‘Avada! Hein hein gufei Torah—halacha is gufei Torah!”

“Baruch Hashem, klal Yisrael is blessed with so much limud haTorah, learning is thriving in yeshivos, kollelim, by baalei batim. Nevertheless, we must remember the gufei Torah, the learning of halacha. We must realize that everything in our lives is dictated by din. We are obligated to know these dinim, not chalilah at the expense of regular learning of Gemara and iyun, but in addition! Learning these dinim brings us great bracha from Hashem.”

 

‘On Behalf of Klal Yisroel,
I Would Like to Thank You!’

Rav Shmuel Meir Katz, the host of the evening, ended the evening by offering tips on how best to learn and remember halacha, and how every person, before paskening should think thoroughly about what he is about to say and not just pasken off the cuff. He explained that every rav has to also know how to say “I don’t know.” There are difficult shailos that come up that for which you won’t know the answer. There is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know” or “I need to look it up.”

Rav Katz concluded by praising Dirshu for the revolution they have made in the Torah world. Upon taking leave of Rav Hofstedter, Rav Shmuel Meir Katz said something that encapsulated so much: “Rav Dovid, on behalf of klal Yisroel, I would like to thank you!”

By Chaim Gold

 

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