September 28, 2023
September 28, 2023

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Siyumim of Rabbanim Highlight Integral Role of Telephone in Daf HaYomi B’Halacha

It was a unique siyum. A siyum on a daily limud learned by many thousands in all four corners of the world.

HaGaon HaRav Yisroel Gans, shlita, rav of Yerushalayim’s Mattersdorf neighborhood, maggid shiur at Yeshiva Kol Torah and one of the most prominent talmidim of HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, is a very busy man. Seven and a half years ago, Rav Gans was asked by Dirshu’s hanhala to deliver a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiur via telephone. Initially, he refused, stating simply that he did not have an extra second in his day. Ultimately, he was convinced that the zechus of talmud Torah d’rabbim was a sufficient reason to fit in the short daily shiur. Now, Rav Gans has completed the entire Mishnah Berurah in his telephone shiurim.

At the celebratory siyum, Rav Gans candidly admitted that when he began he had no idea of the power and reach of the shiur. “I realize now that through saying the shiur over the telephone, thousands of Yidden the world over can and do listen to the daily shiur as well as past shiurim that are on the system. I am literally flabbergasted when I get calls from people in Russia or Australia who are religiously listening to the daily shiurim and have a question that they need to ask. At times, I enter a taxi and the driver tells me that he listens to my shiur on Daf HaYomi B’Halacha! I myself did not realize what a powerful tool of harbotzas haTorah the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Mishnah Berurah shiurim that I am giving would prove to be,” Rav Gans concluded with great emotion.

In his powerful, heartfelt remarks, Rav Hofstedter cited the pasuk, “These are the judgments that you shall place before them,” from Parshat Mishpatim. Rashi comments, “Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Don’t think that you can just teach them a chapter or two without troubling yourself to make them understand the underlying reasons. Therefore, the pasuk says, ‘You shall place [it] before them like a shulchan aruch, a table that is set and prepared for eating…’”

Rav Hofstedter asked, “Shulchan aruch connotes a set table, meaning Moshe Rabbeinu summarized everything, making it easy for klal Yisrael to understand. On the other hand, the above Rashi clearly seems to indicate that klal Yisrael would have to invest effort in order to understand the underlying reasons for each halacha. This appears to be the diametric opposite of ‘shulchan aruch!’”

“The answer,” Rav Dovid explained, “is that when a person sits in front of a set table, everything that he needs, all of the necessary utensils to eat and drink, are placed in front of him. What Hashem was telling Moshe Rabbeinu is, ‘Don’t just tell them the halachos, rather give them the keilim, the utensils that they need so they will be able to eat and drink by themselves—to learn by themselves, to be able to compare and understand the halachos, thereby empowering them to be able to learn Torah and pasken by themselves.

“From here we see that the true ideal behind a shulchan aruch is providing a person with the tools, the utensils, the ability to understand not just the halacha, but the concepts behind each halacha as well. That is the singular greatness of the shiur of Rav Gans. It…enables the learner to understand the foundation of the halacha and the rationale behind it.”

Another Daf HaYomi B’Halacha event was held the same week at the home of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Eliezer Stern, shlita, celebrating another telephone innovation of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. Since thousands of people are learning the same daf of Mishnah Berurah every day, Dirshu has set up a hotline with a rotation of prominent rabbanim who are available to answer questions on the daf from 8 a.m. until 12 a.m.

Rav Stern said, “[I have heard] some of the shailos that they have been asked on the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and I am astonished by the quality and depth of the questions! I can’t even begin to depict the zechus that Dirshu has for bringing Torah and halacha to klal Yisrael in such a comprehensive manner,” Rav Stern concluded.

Perhaps the emotional words of the Nadvorna Rebbe, shlita, encapsulated the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha’s impact best when the Rebbe said, “We live in a generation with so many spiritual nisyonos; nevertheless, we see that Hashem planted Yidden with profound ahavas haTorah in our generation—Yidden who want nothing more than to learn Torah themselves and ensure that so many other Yidden learn Torah as well. They are ready to do whatever it takes to make Torah and halacha more accessible to Yidden, to give people a taam, a joy in learning, to make Torah pleasant and sweet. This is the enviable zechus harabbim that Dirshu has.”

By Chaim Gold

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