By Chaim Gold
“Eretz Yisrael, America, and Europe are on fire with daf hayomi b’halacha! At the recent Dirshu test—the first test on chelek vav—there were more than 3,500 new test takers,” Rabbi Avigdor Berenstein, senior member of Dirshu’s hanhala, exclaimed.
The milestone of daf hayomi b’halacha beginning Mishnah Berurah chelek vav has made waves in the wider Jewish world. Many new learners want to get in on the ground floor of a historic first siyum on the entire Mishnah Berurah. Chelek vav, which is primarily devoted to the halachos of the yomim tovim, is an ideal starting point as many people desire to attain a more meaningful yom tov permeated by halachic knowledge. It is said in the name of the Chazon Ish that the best way to truly connect with any aspect of avodas Hashem is through properly and comprehensively learning the specific, relevant particular halachos. Not only does learning the halachos of the yomim tovim open new vistas in shemiras halacha, it also opens the wellsprings of the pnimiyus, the inner essence of yom tov, enhancing it with a unique ta’am, a delightful spiritual insight.
In addition to the 3,500 new test-takers who are bringing true accountability to their learning, thousands more have joined the daily daf hayomi b’halacha without taking tests. To augment the increase in participants, Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein, Dirshu’s director of public affairs, has reported a significant number of new shiurim in daf hayomi b’halacha throughout the world. In Eretz Yisrael alone, more than 15 new shiurim have commenced in the main Torah centers as well as some smaller communities. In Europe, a new shiur has begun at the Bais Medrash Eitz Chaim in Amsterdam, Holland. Eitz Chaim is the home of the Kollel of Amsterdam, led by Rav Padwa. The shiur given by Rav Yisrael Sigal has already attracted a devoted following.
In Strasbourg, France, too, a new shiur delivered by Rav Michael Szmerla at the Adas Israel Congregation every weeknight after Minchah and Ma’ariv has been established. Numerous shiurim have been added to the roster in England, and by now virtually every neighborhood in England with an Orthodox Jewish presence boasts a daf hayomi b’halacha shiur.
A Brooklyn marketing firm begins every day, before the onset of work, with employees gathering together for a daf hayomi b’halacha shiur. Members enthusiastically declare how it has immeasurably enriched their day.
In Eretz Yisrael, several yeshiva ketanos have established shiurim, and special testing sites have been designated in order to accommodate those yeshivos whose schedules do not allow their bachurim to take the monthly tests at the regular sites.
Dirshu has also made available numerous opportunities to hear shiurim for those unable to personally attend. Listeners to the many daf hayomi b’halacha shiurim on Kol Halashon have increased significantly, and in the New York Metro Area, a radio segment of daf hayomi b’halacha is broadcast three times each day. Other highly useful tools are the daily newsletter available via e-mail as well as the monthly daf hayomi glossy bulletin with all kinds of interesting shailos and insights to enrich one’s learning and knowledge. Dirshu has empowered Jews who are interested in learning daf hayomi b’halacha to participate wherever they may be!
Rabbi Aharon Gobioff, director of Dirshu’s American operations, explains, “Without a doubt the tremendous siyata d’Shmaya that Dirshu has experienced and the massive increased enrollment is due to the call of numerous Gedolei Yisrael in the aftermath of the recent Dirshu Convention in Somerset, New Jersey. Prominent gedolim, including Rav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, shlita, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Kiryas Melech, and others, called on all of Klal Yisrael to incorporate the learning of halacha l’ma’aseh, practical halacha, into their daily limudim.”
HaGaon Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, HaGaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, HaGaon Rav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, and HaGaon Rav Nissim Karelitz, shlita, issued a Kol Korei addressed to “Acheinu Bnei Yisrael wherever they may be,” proclaiming: “It is therefore proper that every single person set aside time every day to learn halacha, and especially halachos that are of practical relevance, every day and every Shabbos. This daily learning of practical halacha should not be less than a half hour.”
The Gerer Rebbe and the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, also issued a call, with the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe writing: “Especially at this time when it is an eis tzarah l’Yaakov, and specifically in Eretz Hakodesh, where there are attempts to trample on the kavod haTorah and those who learn Torah.”
A new participant said, “I can’t even describe how much I have gained from learning daf hayomi b’halacha. Certainly, I always knew that chol hamoed was special, but I had no idea how intricate and detailed the halachos were. My observance of chol hamoed together with my whole attitude towards chol hamoed will change through my learning the halachos properly in the daf hayomi b’halacha. Would I have ever imagined that there might be a halachic issue with hiring and paying a babysitter on chol hamoed? What about making a bank transaction? What about laundry? What laundry can and can’t you do on chol hamoed? What about polishing your shoes? These and so many other things have enlightened me about what is permitted and prohibited on chol hamoed and has given me additional appreciation for the yom tov of chol hamoed. All of these issues are discussed in the Mishnah Berurah and in the Dirshu Biurim and Musafim that bring the piskei halacha of the gedolei haposkim on a panoply of modern-day shailos that have arisen since the publication of the Mishnah Berurah more than 100 years ago.”
Rav Dovid Cohen, shlita, rosh yeshiva of the Chevron Yeshiva, issued a letter before the commencement of chelek vav, stating, “Learning halacha, learning Mishnah Berurah, always needs strengthening. It is an absolute obligation for every Jew and particularly for a ben Torah. It is impossible to even describe the greatness and the zechus inherent when thousands strengthen themselves by learning Mishnah Berurah every day and then take tests on what they have learned to ensure that they remember. . . . In this zechus may we soon merit the geulah sheleimah.”
So if you really want to make every minute of your day, your Shabbos, your yom tov, one in which you meet Hashem and think about Him and His commandments, now is the time to join daf hayomi b’halacha.
If you have not done so yet, now is the time to change your life and transform every single day from the mundane into the holy by incorporating the daily learning of halacha into your life.
To join daf hayomi b’halacha, call 1-888-5-Dirshu or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. v