Worldwide Yom Limud and Tefillah on Yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim


Distinguished Rabbonim to Daven on Behalf of Klal Yisrael at Kever of Chofetz Chaim

By Chaim Gold

The yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim is a special eis ratzon, a remarkably opportune time to invoke rachamei shomayim. This year, on Tuesday, 24 Elul/September 27, Klal Yisroel will utilize this eis ratzon by engaging in an International Yom Limud and Tefillah. Jews from all over the world will recite specific chapters of Tehillim and learn segments from the two seminal seforim written by the Chofetz Chaim, the Mishnah Berurah and the Sefer Chofetz Chaim.

The Yom Limud and Tefillah, being held under the auspices of Dirshu and its kiruv arm, Acheinu, is designed to reach out with a message of achdus to all Jews from across the spectrum and at all levels of observance, promoting Torah learning and tefillah. There is so much strife in the world, so much polarization and heated rhetoric. Combining sur meirah with aseh tov the Yom Limud and Tefillah has been designated as a day when all Jews are urged to make a special effort to avoid discord, lashon hara as well as any form of gossip and learn the seforim of the Chofetz Chaim.

The Optimum Hakaras Hatov: Perpetuating the Legacy

Indeed, Yidden the world over owe a profound sense of hakaras hatov to the Chofetz Chaim for bestowing two gifts, the Mishnah Berurah and the Sefer Chofetz Chaim, upon us. Last year, Hagaon HaRav Shlomo Kanievsky, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Kiryas Melech and a son of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, addressed this issue in the aftermath of the visit to Radin, by a large group of Gedolei Yisroel. From Radin the delegation went to the Volozhiner yeshiva. In front of the Volozhiner yeshiva, Rav Kanievsky said, “The feeling that we must have as we approach the holy kever of Rav Chaim Volozhiner is an overwhelming one of hakaras hatov. The greatest way to express that hakaras hatov is to continue his legacy by perpetuating the derech of the yeshivos begun with Volozhin, educating our bachurim in that derech and supporting the yeshivos hakedoshos.” We can extrapolate from Rav Kanievsky’s message that the optimum expression of our hakoras hatov to the Chofetz Chaim for gifting Klal Yisrael with his seforim – such integral parts of our lives – would be to follow in his ways, learn his Mishnah Berurah and become familiar with the laws of lashon hara and permitted speech and be constantly cognizant of what comes out of our mouths. This is truly the essence of the Yom Limud and Tefillah, a day to bring the Chofetz Chaim’s Torah, tefillah and message of Ahavas Yisroel and achdus to us all.

A partial view of a previous Dirshu delegation to Radin.
A partial view of a previous Dirshu delegation to Radin.

Visits to Radin, Mir and Kovno

The climax of the Yom Limud and Tefillah will be a visit by a group of Gedolei Rabbanim to Radin who will daven at the kever of the Chofetz Chaim and at the Yeshiva of Radin on behalf of Klal Yisrael. Rabbanim slated to attend include HaGaon HaRav Chizkiyahu Yosef Mishkovsky, shlita, a close talmid of the Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, and menahel ruchani of Yeshiva Orchos Torah, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Eliezer Stern, shlita, Rav of Western Bnei Brak and a close talmid of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Wosner, zt”l, HaGaon HaRav Avraham Salim, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Me’or HaTorah, HaGaon HaRav Aryeh Zilberstein, shlita, Rav of the Gerer Community in Bnei Brak, HaGaon HaRav Simcha Hakohen Kook, shlita, Rav of Rechovot, and HaGaon HaRav Shimon Galei, shlita, Rav of the Osem Complex in Bnei Brak.

The distinguished delegation will also journey to the town of Mir where they will daven at the kevarim of the great Mirer Mashgiach, HaGaon HaRav Yeruchem Levovitz, zt”l, and the Rav of Mir, HaGaon HaRav Tzvi Hirsch Kamai, zt”l. Tefillos will also be recited at the kever achim at the Ninth Fort in Kovno, where HaGaon HaRav Elchonon Wasserman, hy”d, was murdered al kiddush Hashem.

Without a doubt the climax of the journey will be the tefillos and words of hisorerus at the kever of the Chofetz Chaim to be delivered by Rav Aryeh Zilberstein, Rav Avraham Salim and the ne’ilah shmuess by Rav Mishkovsky.

Generating a Tremendous Atmosphere of Goodwill and Achdus in Klal Yisrael

This year’s Yom Limud and Tefillah is the second such event. Last year’s event attracted some 500,000 Jews worldwide. This year, organizers hope to reach well past that goal, tapping into the innate feeling of every Jewish neshamah, that extraordinary times such as the ones in which we live, with threats from within and without call, for a concentrated effort in tefillah and achdus to invoke rachamei shomayim in the zechus of the heiligeh Chofetz Chaim who was so moser nefesh to promote these ideals among Klal Yisroel.

Hundreds of yeshivos, chadorim, schools, shuls and even individual businesses from across America, Eretz Yisrael, Europe, South America, South Africa and Australia, have signed up to participate in the yom tefillah on Tuesday 24 Elul/September 27. They will recite two chapters of Tehillim and learn the daily limud of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, as well as select halachos from the sefer Chofetz Chaim.

The anticipated Yom Limud and Tefillah has already begun generating a tremendous atmosphere of goodwill and achdus amongst Klal Yisrael. A peek into just a few of the institutions in America that have signed up to participate and take advantage of the auspicious time to daven with so many likeminded Yidden attests to that achdus.

The partial list includes Shaagas Aryeh – Lakewood, NJ, Yeshiva Ohr Eliyahu – Los Angeles, CA, Yeshiva Derech HaTorah – Cleveland, OH, Yeshiva Torat Emes – Houston, TX, Torah Day School of Phoenix, Torah Day School of Atlanta, Talmudical Academy – Baltimore, Yeshiva High School of Arizona, Torah Day School of Dallas, Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael – Boston, Torah Academy of Boston, Providence Hebrew Day School, New England Academy of Torah, and the Providence Community Kollel. Some of the participating shuls are, Mevakshei Hashem – Brooklyn, NY, Ahavas Yisrael – Cleveland, OH, Beis Medrash Kol Aryeh – Lakewood, NJ, Satmar Beis Medrash – Lakewood, NJ, Zichron Schneur – Lakewood, NJ and Beis Medrash of Westgate of Lakewood. These are in addition to the hundreds of similar institutions across the length and breadth of Eretz Yisroel and many locales in Europe, the Former Soviet Union, Mexico, South America, Canada, South Africa and Australia.

“The Nazis are Gone, the Communists are Gone, but the Chofetz Chaim and His Mishnah Berurah are Eternal!”

Another closing of circles, as it were, will be the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiur in the Chofetz Chaim’s sefer Mishnah Berurah delivered by Rav Dovid Hofstedter at the Radin Yeshiva established by the Chofetz Chaim. A shiur in the seforim written by the Chofetz Chaim, in the yeshiva founded by the Chofetz Chaim some 75 years after Radin’s Jews were killed by the Nazi’s, embodies the ideal of ‘Netzach Yisroel lo yishaker.’ Indeed, at a previous journey to the Chofetz Chaim’s kever, Rav Hofstedter said, “Hitler destroyed so much of European Jewry. He thought he could wipe them out, but he didn’t. The Communists tried to destroy the Jewish religion. They caused a tremendous churban, but they still did not succeed. The Nazis are gone, the Communists are gone, but the Chofetz Chaim and his Mishnah Berurah are eternal!”

Join Klal Yisrael This Tuesday, 24 Elul/September 27!

We are living in truly perilous times. Even in the United States there is a certain sense of instability, as we are in the throes of a tumultuous and nasty presidential election. There is civil unrest as well as the threat of terrorism at home and abroad that can have severe ramifications. At this uncertain juncture we are in dire need of tremendous rachamei shomayim. Now is the time to join together with untold numbers of Jews all over the world to daven for Klal Yisrael. The yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim is a remarkably auspicious time to invoke Divine mercy.

Now is the time to Join with Klal Yisrael in the Yom Limud and Tefillah this Tuesday, 24 Elul/September 27 and tap into this unique eis ratzon!