July 13, 2024
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Thousands Begin Third Machzor of Dirshu Kinyan Halacha

“You are engaged in making the greatest possible nachas ruach to Hashem Yisbarach, the Nosein HaTorah, by learning Halacha comprehensively in the Kinyan Halacha program. Chazal tell us that Hashem has nothing in His world other than the four amos of Halacha. Let us think for a second. Hashem, the King of the world, has nothing else but the four amos of Halacha, and it is you avreichim who merit to be in this world of Hashem.”

These were the warm, powerful words of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Meir Wosner, rav of the Zichron Meir Neighborhood of Bnei Brak and rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin of Bnei Brak, at Dirshu’s first test in the third machzor of the Kinyan Halacha program.

“The crowds were massive at all testing sites,” explained Rabbi Avigdor Bernstein, a senior member of Dirshu’s hanhala, “because there were participants who have begun two separate Kinyan Halacha tracks. In addition to the thousands of new avreichim who have joined the regular 5½-year Kinyan Halacha program for the beginning of this new machzor and are poised to become future poskim and dayanim of klal Yisrael, there is a second track for those who have finished the previous 5½-year program that covers all of the major areas of hora’ah.”

The impetus behind establishing the Kinyan Halacha program was some of klal Yisrael’s most prominent poskim. They approached the hanhala of Dirshu, explaining that despite the phenomenal growth of Torah and limud haTorah in our generation, there remains a dearth of qualified poskim familiar with the intricacies of psak halacha. Even among those who understand Halacha, how many can immediately answer a shailah on all common areas of Halacha?

The idea was to create an environment where mature kollel yungeleit, who have already spent several years immersed in full-time learning, could progress to the level of lilmod al menas la’asos—to learn Torah in order to practice in a program that guides them through the details of the sugyos.

The first test in the third machzor of Kinyan Halacha was held in numerous locales across Eretz Yisrael as well as in major frum population centers in North America, Europe and around the world.

“One of the remarkable things about the various testing sites,” said Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein, Dirshu’s director of public relations, “was the fact that there was such a wide-ranging variety of test takers. It was not uncommon to look at one table in the large hall and see a Sephardic talmid chacham flanked on one side by a Chassidishe talmid chacham, on the other side by a Litvishe talmid chacham who was sitting next to a Religious Zionist talmid chacham all on the same bench! Dirshu is an organization that unifies all of klal Yisrael through the one thing that is our ultimate source of unity: the Torah Hakedosha itself!”

Rav Dovid Hofstedter, the nasi of Dirshu, pointed out that it is talmidei chachamim, and especially those who learn Halacha, that build and complete the world. Rav Hofstedter cited the words of Chazal that say: “He who learns Halacha is guaranteed a place in Olam Haba’ah. Chazal also teach us that talmidei chachamim increase peace in the world and are called builders of the world. What is the connection between increasing peace in the world and being a builder?”

Rav Hofstedter explained, “In Parshas Bereishis, we learn that Hashem rested on the seventh day. The creation was completed on the seventh day, and even though Hashem didn’t actually perform an action on that day, nevertheless Shabbos is the day that kedusha and ruchniyus entered the creation, thereby transforming the physical creation of the world into something spiritual.

“The purpose of Am Yisrael, the purpose of talmidei chachamim, is to instill ruchniyus in the mundane world, to serve as the connection between the mundane world and the Ribono Shel Olam. That is what completes the world. Perhaps this is why Chazal refer to talmidei chachamim as builders! They build the world, they complete the world! Shalom, peace, comes to the world when there is shleimus, completeness, in the world, when all of the components come together and everything is functioning as designed. It is thus the talmidei chachamim who are the builders of the world, who bring peace to the world.”

Rav Hofstedter expressed his tremendous admiration for the lomdei Kinyan Halacha who spend their days and nights learning Halacha with great depth, ensuring that they comprehensively understand the halacha and its underpinnings so that they will have the siyata d’Shmaya to be able to render correct halachic rulings.

At the Yerushalayim site, HaGaon HaRav Yisrael Gans spoke. Rav Gans has been giving invaluable guidance since the program’s inception. He explained that his rebbi, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, once said that the Shulchan Aruch possesses not four parts, but five. Before one even begins to study the four orders, there is the first part—the part that requires every posek to develop a keen understanding of who the petitioner asking the she’eilah is and how to speak specifically to that petitioner.

“Being a posek,” Rav Gans said, “is not only about knowing the halacha, it’s about how to apply it, knowing for whom one can rule leniently, as a sha’as hadechak, a case of extenuating circumstances, and for whom one must rule according to the simple or traditional understanding of the halacha.”

By Chaim Gold

 

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