By Chaim Gold
Demonstrating the great importance of learning halacha every day, senior gedolei Yisrael from all three Moetzos Gedolei HaTorah came together for the first kinnus of the Nesius of Dirshu’s daf hayomi b’halacha program. Led by the centenarian rosh yeshiva Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, they traveled to the home of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe in Kiryat Vizhnitz in Bnei Brak.
Nesius members who participated were Rav Berel Povarsky, rosh yeshivas Ponovezh; the Vizhnitzer Rebbe; Rav Shimon Badani, rosh yeshiva Torah V’Chaim; the Sanzer Rebbe; the Boyaner Rebbe; Rav Dovid Cohen, rosh yeshivas Chevron; the Alexander Rebbe; and the Modzhitzer Rebbe, shlita, and Rav Binyomin Finkel, shlita, mashgiach of the Mir Yeshiva of Yerushalayim, who chaired the event.
In addition, Dirshu has an American Nesius of daf hayomi b’halacha led by roshei yeshivos and admorim. The American Nesius comprises luminaries of Torah and piety such as the Skulener Rebbe; the roshei yeshiva of Lakewood, Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler and Rav Yeruchim Olshin; Rav Yosef Harari-Raful, rosh yeshiva, Yeshiva Ateret Torah; Rav Matisyahu Salomon, mashgiach Beis Medrash Govoha; the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey; Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, rosh yeshiva of South Fallsburg; Rav Yechezkel Roth, the Karlsberger Rav; and Rav Asher Anshel Katz, the Vienner Rav, shlita.
Dirshu’s daf hayomi b’halacha has united venerated gedolei Yisrael across the spectrum of Torah Jewry, k’ish echad b’lev echad. These gedolim have come together not only to encourage Klal Yisrael to bring daily halacha into their lives, but also to give a sense of urgency that every Jew should be familiar with the halachos of daily living and thus realize the primacy of making a daily halacha seder.
A highlight of the gathering was the words of chizuk of Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman. He spoke about the importance of daily halacha, saying, “The foundation of a Jew is to conduct himself in accordance with the four orders of Shulchan Aruch. Nevertheless, from the very fact that the Chofetz Chaim wrote the Sefer Mishnah Berurah on the chelek of Orach Chaim (and according to those who maintain that it was his intention to write on all four orders, the fact that he chose to start with Orach Chaim) shows that one must learn halacha daily. Orach Chaim is unique in that it outlines the daily halachos that every Jew must know. This is the chelek that a person must live with every day of his life. Thus he must learn it every day of his life.”
The chairman of the evening, Rav Binyomin Finkel, mentioned that the daf hayomi b’halacha was established upon the advice of Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, zt’l.
The Vizhnitzer Rebbe addressed the assemblage, explaining the well-known words of Chazal, “Kol hashoneh halachos b’chol yom muvtach lo shehu ben Olam HaBa”—He who learns halachos every day is assured a place in the World to Come. “‘B’chol yom’ means every day, but it can also mean ‘throughout the day.’ When a person learns halacha daily, his entire day is one long manifestation of learning and fulfilling halacha,” concluded the Rebbe.
Although the Gerer Rebbe, shlita, was unable to attend, he told Dirshu leaders, “It is very important to convince and urge people to learn halacha. It is the desire of Hashem that every Jew should know practical halacha properly so that he can fulfill Torah and mitzvos in accordance with halacha. A tremendous responsibility rests upon marbitzei Torah and mechanchim to influence their talmidim to institute a non-negotiable seder in practical halacha. It is not sufficient to be a lamdan or someone who knows Torah. Without knowledge of halacha, a person is missing the orach chaim, the path of life that must characterize every Jew.”
Rav Badani cited pesukim to the effect that when the world is in a terrible situation, when Jewish blood is being spilled and so many want to ruin the Jewish nation, the solution to neutralize the middas ha’din and invoke middas ha’rachamim is to learn halacha.
The Sanzer Rebbe expanded on that idea, saying that the holy sefarim relate that the learning of halacha has the power to neutralize terrible gezeiros.
The creation of the American Nesius of daf hayomi b’halacha has similarly inspired American Jewry to recognize the importance of a serious daily halacha seder. According to Rabbi Ahron Gobioff, Dirshu’s American director, the enthusiasm shown by all the gedolei Yisrael, representing the Sephardic world, the yeshiva world, and the chassidic world, is deeply moving. They were full of praise and excitement about the benefits for all of Klal Yisrael that would be gained through mass enrollment in such a program.
In a beautiful display of the importance the American Nesius attaches to the daf hayomi b’halacha program, they signed a proclamation outlining the hashkafah behind the program and explaining why it has garnered such an enthusiastic worldwide backing of gedolei Yisrael. It says, “It is impossible to properly depict the importance of this undertaking, because the foundation of the life of a Jew is to conduct his life in accordance with Torah. . . . Baruch Hashem our generation has been worthy and we see kehillos comprehensively learning halacha all over the world. Together with the halacha program [Dirshu] also has established daily learning of mussar in the sefarim of the Chofetz Chaim. . . .
“From here we call on all G‑d-fearing Jews to be wise and join the tens of thousands already in the program and to give nachas to Hashem.”