By Chaim Gold
It was Sunday night, 2 Cheshvan/October 26, at the Dirshu testing site in Lakewood. The Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood, HaGaon HaRav YeruchemOlshin,shlita, had just finished addressing the hundreds of test takers celebrating the completion of Seder Moed in Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi Kinyan Torah program. Rav Olshin turned to Dirshu’s North American Director, Rav Ahron Gobioff and said, “Reb Ahron, after seeing all of those talmideichachomim taking tests, I feel satiated. Does one need anything else?Does one need to eat or sleep after such spiritual nourishment?!”
All over the world, siyumimwere held on Seder Moed this past month as the Daf HaYomi completed Masechta Chagiga, the final masechta in Seder Moed, but perhaps one of the most uniquely inspiring siyumim was the Dirshu Siyum at the Prima Palace Hotel in Yerushalayim during the week following Sukkos.
TheDirshu Siyumthere was graced by numerous Gedolei Yisrael including the venerated senior gadol, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Scheiner, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Kamenitz Yeshiva and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, HaGaon HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva of Yerushalayim and HaGaon HaRav Moshe Chodosh, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Network of Ohr ElchononYeshivos.
These Gedolim and numerous other Rabbonim came not just to celebrate the SimchasHaTorah of completingSederMoed, but even more to show their deep appreciation for the comprehensive method in which lomdei Dirshu complete a Seder in Shas. In short, they came to celebrate kinyanhaTorah, a much deeper level of limud haTorahwhich is the raison d’etre of Dirshu.
Seder MoedSiyumimAcross the Globe
In North America, lomdei Dirshu were treated to a unique tribute to their kinyan Torah at the recent monthly test. In Lakewood, the crowd heard profound words of chizuk hailing their accomplishments from HaGaon HaRav YeruchemOlshin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood. At the Boro Park testing site, HaGaon HaRav Zev Smith, shlita, a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggidshiur addressed the assemblage. In Monsey, HaGaon HaRav Eliezer Simcha Lieff, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah of South Monsey impressed upon the test takers the magnitude of their accomplishments. In Williamsburg, HaGaon HaRav Efrayim Tzvi Rosenberg, shlita, Vizhnitzer Dayan, delivered a drasha and the assemblage in ShikunSkver was addressed by HaGaon HaRav Shalom Pollack,shlita, a prominent Dayan in the community.
Rav Yitzchok Scheiner: “Ohavei Torah and Ohavei Hashem Yisbarach Should Increase Manifold!”
In his brief remarks, Rav Scheiner praised Dirshu’s founder and Nasi, Rav Hofstedter for helping create an entire generation of lomdeiv’yodeiShas. He then gave a heartfelt bracha that “ohavei Torah and ohavei Hashem Yisbarach should increase manifold and that Dirshu should continue to accomplish great things and grow without limit!”
Rav Moshe Chodosh: “With Dirshu, an End is Not an End… It’s a Beginning!”
In his moving drasha, Rav Moshe Chodosh related a dvar Torah that encapsulates and defines Dirshu. He cited a fascinating question that was posed to the Radvaz. “Why, on Simchas Torah when we finish ParshasVezosHabracha do we not lein the maftir first?Rather we first leinBereishis and only afterwardslein the maftir?”
In a teshuvah, the Radvaz responds, “The reason we read ParshasBereishis on Simchas Torah and do no wait until the following Shabbos is so that the Satan should not come claim that, “They finished the Torah and that is it! They think they can rest on their laurels!” We therefore start Bereishis as a declaration of our intent to continue learning Torah without respite. That is why,” the Radvaz concludes, “Despite the halachadictating that we should say Kaddish upon completing one sefer before continuing to the next sefer, after VezosHabrachawe don’t say Kaddish. Instead, we immediately continue with Bereishis, without any break whatsoever. In Torah there is no break. Finishing one part of Torah, finishing one Masechta is a great accomplishment.That more than anything marks the haschala, the beginning of a new masechta.”
Rav Hofstedter: The Difference Between a Lomeid Torah and an OseikB’Torah
The Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter delivered an in-depth shiur, where heexplored the question at the end of MasechtaChagigah,on whether the prohibition against doing melacha on CholHamoed is Torah mandated, mi’d’Oraysah or Rabbinic mandated, mi’d’Rabbanan.
In his introductory words of chizuk, Rav Hofstedter quoted the mishnah in Masechta Avos, “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi teaches: Every day a Heavenly Voice (Bas Kol) goes forth from Mt. Horeb and proclaims ‘Woe to the creatures because of the shame caused to the Torah. For whoever does not engage in Torah is called, “Rebuked” as is said, “Like a golden ring in a swine’s snout…[Avos 6:2]'”
“The pasuk that the mishnah brings would appear to be problematic,” Rav Hofstedter proposed. “A golden ring is beautiful.The implication is that the person is engaged in something beautiful but he is not doing it properly, hence the comparison to a beautiful ring in the nose of a pig. But the mishnah just said we are talking about someone who does not engage in Torah learning. What is beautiful about that?!”
Rav Hofstedter then suggested an insightful explanation into the mission of Dirshu. He explained, “The mishnah does not state, whoever is not a “lomeid” Torah, a Torah learner; rather, it says whoever is not “oseik“, engaged in Torah learning. Being oseik in Torah means that you toil in Torah, you are fully engaged in Torah, seeking to reach the ultimate clarity and retention of everything you learn. Kinyan Torah, really acquiring Torah, requires the person to be an oseikb’Torah. “Being an osek in Torah is the true kiyum of the Daf Yomi!” Rav Hofstedter exclaimed passionately.
Rav YeruchemOlshin: Dirshu’s Transformative Emphasis on Chazarah!
Rav Olshinrelated in the name of the Chassid Yaavetz that the famed mishnah in PirkeiAvos that states, “L’fumtzaarahagrah – the reward a person gets is dependent on the amount of effort invested” – refers primarily to the reward for chazarah, review. As the Chassid Yaavetz explains, it is much more difficult to review than to learn things from scratch.
Rav Yeruchem continued with a fascinating story. “A youngbachur learning in the Lomza Yeshiva in PetachTikvawould rise immediately after the Rosh Yeshiva finished delivering his shiur, go stand in a corner and begin reviewing the entire shiur by heart. Some bachurim viewed his conduct as a bit strange but that bachur took no notice. He wanted to know the shiur. Nothing else mattered to him. Do you know the name of that bachur?His name was Chaim Kanievsky! That is the power of chazarah!” thundered the Rosh Yeshiva. “Those bachurim may have thought it strange but no one knows who they are today! Rav Chaim, however, became a Sar HaTorah and a GadolHador!”
Rav Olshin concluded by saying that he has already attended several Dirshu events and each time he is simply amazed by how Dirshu participants learn and chazer with such diligence.