May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Unprecedented Turnout Across North America at Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha L’Bachurim Program

This bein hazmanim, if a person happened to walk into battei medrash in virtually every community throughout America and many worldwide, he would almost certainly have encountered bachurim learning hilchos birchas hashachar and pesukei dezimra as part of Dirshu’s highly popular Daf HaYomi B’Halacha L’Bachurim program. Over this Sukkos bein hazmanim, some 28 communities participated in the program. Of course, the large Jewish centers such as Brooklyn, Lakewood and Monsey had record participation, but many smaller communities featured substantial turnouts as well. Whether the bachurim lived in Toronto, Providence, Boston, Baltimore or even way down under in Melbourne, Australia, they were learning Mishnah Berurah every day and getting a real taste of how daily halacha learning with a defined, accountable program can transform one’s day and one’s bein hazmanim.

Another special perk for the myriad bachurim in the main Jewish centers were the pesicha shiurim delivered at the beginning of bein hazmanim by distinguished roshei yeshiva and rabbanim. In Boro Park, on 7 Tishrei/September 20, the shiur was given by HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zalman Gips, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Nehardaah and Beis Medrash Birchas Avrohom of Boro Park where the shiur was held. Other shiurim were delivered on Thursday, 11 Tishrei/September 24, the day after Yom Kippur; in the Five Towns by HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Bender, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah of Far Rockaway, at the Agudas Yisrael of West Lawrence; in Flatbush by HaGaon HaRav Eliezer Ginsburg, shlita, Rosh Kollel of the Mirrer Yeshiva of Brooklyn and Rav of the Agudas Yisrael Zichron Shmuel shul of Flatbush, at the Agudas Yisrael Bais Binyomin branch; and in Lakewood by HaGaon HaRav Zev Smith, shlita, a Daf HaYomi Maggid Shiur and Maggid Shiur for Irgun Shiurei Torah, at Kehal She’eris Adas Yisrael.

Dirshu has provided all participants in the program with numerous aids to ensure that every bachur would have the optimum learning experience. Among those aids were: beautiful Dirshu Mishnah Berurah booklets with the daily schedule, specially designed English sikkum pamphlets summarizing each day’s learning, and pre-recorded CD of shiurim in both English and Yiddish with separate tracks for each day’s learning material.

At the Flatbush shiur, Rav Eliezer Ginsburg impressed upon the boys the importance of not superficially learning the halachos in the Mishnah Berurah. He masterfully showed how a dispute between the Mechaber and the Rema was really rooted in a foundational machlokes haRishonim. “If you go to the source, you begin to appreciate the towering greatness of the Chofetz Chaim!” Rav Ginsburg explained. He then continued by quoting Rav Dovid Leibowitz, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim and nephew of the Chofetz Chaim, who related that he had merited learning with the Chofetz Chaim some of the sugyos upon which he was writing the Mishnah Berurah. “Rav Dovid would learn with his uncle for nine hours straight, without a break. On a day when he was unprepared, the Chofetz Chaim simply would not learn with him. When you realize the depth of the Mishnah Berurah, halacha comes to life. It is no longer just dry facts,” said Rav Ginsburg.

Rav Zev Smith: Hashem’s Gems and Ornaments

Rav Zev Smith echoed that sentiment in his shiur in Lakewood. “This bein hazmanim, there is almost no weekday time between Yom Kippur and Sukkos; nevertheless, so many choshuve bachurim came to listen to the shiur and participate in the program. This brings to mind a moving story about the Sfas Emes,” Rav Smith said. “The Sfas Emes once received a letter from a chassid who wrote him a deep shtickel Torah from the foxholes where he was forced to fight as a soldier for the Czar’s army during the Russo-Japanese war. When he read how this soldier was thinking in learning with mesiras nefesh under such conditions, the Sfas Emes said, “About these ovdei Hashem we can say, they are Hashem’s gems and ornaments.” Similarly, you bachurim are giving Hashem such nachas and creating such simcha in shamayim by spending your bein hazmanim learning Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha for Bachurim.”

Rav Gips: The Pivotal Importance of Halacha

Rav Yitzchok Zalman Gips spoke about the importance of learning halacha for bachurim. “In the middle of Shemoneh Esrei, when a bachur is not certain if he said Mashiv Haruach or Yaaleh V’Yavo he cannot go to the bookshelf and look up the halacha in the Mishnah Berurah. He must know it in advance.” He also praised the bachurim for spending their bein hazmanim in such an exemplary way.

Rabbi Gobioff concluded, “There is no question that Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha L’Bachurim has not only transformed bein hazmanim for untold numbers of bachurim, but in addition it has whet their appetite to devote time to learning Mishnah Berurah daily in a way that they will retain it for a lifetime!”

By Chaim Gold

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