New Machzor to Start Chelek Aleph of Mishnah Berurah, on 2 Nissan/March 22
By Chaim Gold
There was a special aura surrounding and encompassing the long table in the home of HaGaon HaRav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha, this past Sunday, 17 Adar/March 8. Around the table sat many of Lakewood’s most prominent Rabbanim and Poskim. The table soon filled up with additional Rabbanim who sat on chairs lined up against the wall. The meeting featured prominent senior Lakewood Rabbanim such as HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Meir Katz, shlita, senior Dayan of Beth Medrash Govoha, HaGaon HaRav Osher Chaim Leiberman, shlita, senior Dayan of Beth Medrash Govoha and Rov of Kehal Zichron Shneur, HaGaon HaRav Avrohom Spitzer, shlita, Skverer Dayan of Lakewood and HaGaon HaRav Aharon Zuckerman, shlita, Rov of Khal Zichron Pinchos, and so many others.
The purpose was to hear divrei chizuk from the Rosh Yeshiva on the importance of learning daily halacha and taking advantage of the opportune time for all Rabbanim – both those in attendance and those unable to attend – to encourage their mispallelim to learn daily halacha or attend shiurim on halacha. “With the hisorerus regarding limud halacha at its peak as a result of the siyum of Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and the beginning of the new machzor on Sunday, 2 Nissan/March 22, now is a favorable time to be me’orer your respective mispallelim to learn daily halacha,” said the Rosh Yeshiva.
“The fact that the Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood saw fit to host the Rabbanim of the town in his home,” stressed Rav Aharon Gobioff, Dirshu’s American Director, “for the express purpose of encouraging them to use the opportunity of commencing the new machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha to urge their congregants to join is a tremendous testament to the importance that the Rosh Yeshiva attaches to learning halacha for everyone and the trust he has in Dirshu as an achsania shel Torah that facilitates chizuk haTorah of all types.”
Indeed, it was a unique maamad that will undoubtedly bring great bracha to Klal Yisrael due to the fact that so many more people will bring daily halacha, mussar and the resultant cognizance of Hashem Yisborach into their lives.
“It is Doable and Starting on 2 Nissan!”
One important point made by HaRav Moshe Chaim Kahan, shlita, Rov of K’hal Sholom V’Reyus and a popular Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggid shiur, pointed out about Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is that those unfamiliar with the program are sometimes confused and think that it requires the learning of two full sides (blatt) of the Mishnah Berurah every day. That is a misconception. The program features one amud of Mishnah Berurah daily for five days a week. The second amud is the Biurim and Musafim on the corresponding page that references many modern day scenarios derived from the particular halachos being learned in the Mishnah Berurah. Friday and Shabbos are consecrated for chazarah and no new material is required on those days. Thus, it is a program that does not take a tremendous amount of time and is very doable. This coming 2 Nissan/March 22, will be the first amud in machzor sheini.
HaGaon HaRav Malkiel Kotler: Daily Halacha Transforms Every Halicha
In his heartfelt remarks to the Rabbanim, the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Malkiel said, “The Gemara tells us that, ‘Everyone who learns daily halacha is assured a place in Olam Habaah, as the passuk states, halichos olam…'”
The Rosh Yeshiva expounded that, “When a person learns halacha each day his every halicha, his every step throughout the day is done in accordance with the Torah. This is what assures him Olam Habaah. Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program gives every Yid the opportunity to be a shoneh halachos b’chol yom and to become a ben Olam Habaah because when he learns halacha his every step will be taken in accordance with Hashem’s desire through the observance of halacha.”
What are the Duties of a Rav?
The Rosh Yeshiva then quoted his father, HaGaon HaRav Shneur Kotler, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha, who said that there was once a machlokes among great Rabbanim of previous generations as to what constituted the primary duties of a Rav. One posited that the main duty is to answer shailos. Another said the main duty is to stand in the breach and ensure that the community maintains a certain standard. The Chofetz Chaim, however, explained that the main duty of a Rav is to learn Torah with his congregants.
“Perhaps,” the Rosh Yeshiva exclaimed, “learning Mishnah Berurah daily in a program such as Daf HaYomi B’Halacha contains all three of these components. It teaches psak halacha, it empowers a person to keep a high standard of Yiddishkeit and it is limud haTorah! Now is the time to encourage all to join because you cannot compare someone who learns halacha to one who does not,” concluded the Rosh Yeshiva.
Bringing Halacha into Modern-Day Scenarios
The next speaker, Rav Moshe Chaim Kahan eloquently showed how the Shulachan Aruch Harav, the Chayei Adam and the Mishnah Berurah all rule that it is most important for a person to learn halacha l’maaseh, to learn Torah that is meivi lidei maaseh – that enables him to practically incorporate what he learns as halacha l’maaseh. He explained how it is wonderful that baalei batim have a sedorim in Gemara but in addition it is vital that they also learn practical halacha. As a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggid shiur, Rav Kahan pointed out that he has seen how even those who did not previously have a geshmak from learning Mishnah Berurah have been transformed through the Dirshu program. “One reason for this,” Rav Kahan explained, “is that the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah brings every halacha into the 21st Century by depicting the modern-day scenarios. The beauty of the program is that it teaches you where the source of modern day halachic scenaries, what the halacha is or at least enables you to know what shailah to ask one’s Rav.”
Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe, Shlita, Asks Chassidim to Join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha
America was not the only place where Gedolei Yisrael recently put out a clarion call to Klal Yisrael to join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. This past Motzaei Shabbos in Yerushalayim, the Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe, shlita, devoted a major part of his address to his Chassidim encouraging them to join the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program. Because Purim in Yerushalayim fell on Friday, the Purim tish was pushed off until Motzaei Shabbos. At the joyous tish, the Rebbe spoke but his words took on an air of great seriousness when he told the throngs that he has a special request to make of the Chassidim. He explained, “The Chofetz Chaim said, ‘if a person does not have time to learn, he should add more time for learning in his schedule, and he will see that he has more time. The koach haTorah is such that it provides one with time he did not think he had. Baruch Hashem our kehillah has succeeded in instituting its amud yomi Gemara program where so much Gemara is being learned. We must thank Hashem for this zechus. Nevertheless,” continued the Rebbe, “I want to do something that will provide every person with more time to learn. I would like to add a page of Mishnah Berurah learning to the schedule as well. Not only will you find more time to learn, but you will become a ben Olam Habaah as the Gemara teaches, ‘Everyone who learns daily halacha is assured a place in Olam Habaah.’ Everyone is seeking ways to merit Olam Habaah and here we have a havtacha, an assurance from Chazal! Can there be anything greater than that?!”
With a smile, the Rebbe concluded, “The words of Chazal are better than any check… even an American check!”
“Therefore, I propose that on 2 Nissan, we all start learning halacha together with the new machzor in the Dirshu program. In this zechus Hashem will certainly bestow bracha and hatzlacha on all of us…”
Worldwide Siyumim, Worldwide Hisorerus
The tremendous hisorerus and encouragement of the Gedolim comes as Dirshu is set to start its many worldwide siyumim with its American Siyum on Mishnah Berurah this coming Shabbos in Stamford. The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut will be transformed this Shabbos into a giant beis medrash; a beis medrash filled with limud haTorah and a beis medrash celebrating the unique simchas haTorah of thousands who are being mesayem the entire Mishnah Berurah in the machzor rishon of Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program.
Dirshu’s Shabbos Kinnus Olam HaTorah to be graced by the einei ha’eidah, many of North America’s most prominent Gedolei Yisrael, is first and foremost celebrating the siyum of the machzor rishon of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. In addition, it will be a celebration of the tremendous jump in enrollment for the machzor sheini of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha slated to commence at the beginning of Chodesh Nissan. The Shabbos will also celebrate the accomplishments of all lomdei Dirshu who participate and take regular tests in Dirshu’s myriad programs.
Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi of Dirshu, related that, “The Shabbos Kinnus Olam HaTorah where a special group of talmidei chachamim will gather and their accomplishments will be hailed is a time for hodaah al ha’avar and zaakaah al ha’asid, to give thanks for the extraordinary siyatta diShmaya and bracha that has been showered on Dirshu until now and to daven and look forward to the future.”
Day by day more Yidden are making daily halacha and mussar an integral part of their lives by mastering the six volumes of Mishnah Berurah and participating in Dirshu’s numerous other programs of accountable limud haTorah.
Although the Shabbos is already sold out, the Motzaei Shabbos Grand Siyum Melave Malka in the Hotel’s main ballroom is open to the public. A large crowd of participants, both lomdei Dirshu who were not able to come to the Shabbos and those who do not (yet) participate in a Dirshu program, is expected.
A Time to Celebrate with One’s Brothers
Rabbi Aharon Gobioff, Dirshu’s American Director, put it simply when he said, “When your brother makes a simcha you show up! All of Klal Yisrael are brothers. Now, so many brothers have achieved a monumental accomplishment that took 7 years of daily learning of halacha and have completed the entire Mishnah Berurah. It is time to celebrate with them, revel in the special kavod haTorah and kvell over the fact that so many are learning practical halacha, such an integral part of Hashem Yisborach’s Torah, in a way that until now seemed an impossible dream!”
The Gemara teaches us that the tana, Rav Yosef said, “Even when one person makes a siyum it is a reason to celebrate.” How much more so when such a large, significant swath of Klal Yisrael makes a siyum after having learned and been tested on the Mishnah Berurah! That calls for a true siyum where everyone is invited!
It is for that reason that Dirshu has invited the general public to join them at the siyum on Motzaei Shabbos, to sit together with the mesyamim and celebrate with their brothers, to dance with live music and to hear the moving, powerful words of Gedolei Yisrael who will passionately address the true call of the hour for Klal Yisrael. It is for that reason that bussing is being provided from many communities, to enable everyone to come celebrate with their brothers.
A Singular Agenda – Limud HaTorah!
One prominent American Rosh Yeshiva who will be participating put it succinctly, “How can I not participate? This is an event with no agenda other than increasing limud haTorah among Klal Yisrael. There is no political agenda, no fundraising or organizational agenda. It is, simply put, a celebration of dedication to learning. We are just coming to celebrate with Yidden who have invested days and nights over the span of many years to learn, chazer and be tested. How can I not come?”
Without a doubt, the Keynote session on Motzaei Shabbos featuring the Grand Siyum and Melave Malka promises to be an extraordinary maamad with the participation of tens of leading gedolim, moving drashos and an outpouring of extraordinary simcha, singing and dancing, as the mesaymim and their ‘brothers’ celebrate incredible limud haTorah accomplishments. It is one of those events that you don’t want to miss!
At the event, the siyum of the Mishnah Berurah will be made by HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita, Skverer Dayan of Boro Park. HaGaon HaRav Meir Hershkowitz, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Bais Binyomin of Stamford, located just a few minutes away from the hotel, is slated to recite the Kaddish after the siyum and the haschala of machzor sheini of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha will be made by HaGaon HaRav Reuvein Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Staten Island.
The Melave Malka will also feature addresses by HaGaon HaRav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood and Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter.
One prominent rov related, “Imagine if you could have had the opportunity to participate in the first siyum haShas of Daf HaYomi held in Lublin in 1931!? What an opportunity! Today we all have the opportunity to participate in the siyum of the machzor rishon of Daf Hayomi B’Halacha. What a zechus, what an opportunity!