Members of Dirshu’s administration, led by Rav Dovid Hofstedter, recently visited the homes of a number of senior gedolei Yisrael to further preparations for the upcoming Dirshu siyum of Mishnah Berurah.
Standing in the humble abode of Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, or sitting at the simple table of Rav Dovid Soloveichik, shlita, and hearing their enthusiastic words was an eye-opening experience, filling the hanhalah of Dirshu with great chizuk and drive to strengthen Klal Yisrael with as many daf hayomi b’halacha learners as possible.
When Rav Shteinman was apprised that the daf hayomi b’halacha is mere months away from the siyum on the entire Mishnah Berurah, Rav Shteinman strengthened them in their resolve. Rav Shteinman explained that being able to enrich Klal Yisrael in such a way requires tremendous siyatta d’Shmaya.
Indeed, a couple of years ago, the hanhalah of Dirshu came to visit Rav Shteinman and he commented, “When Rav Meir Shapiro established the concept of learning a daf yomi, many skeptics said, ‘How will everyone be able to learn the difficult masechtos such as [those in] Seder Kodshim that cover areas of Torah that are not relevant in our times—masechtos which in the past only the greatest talmidei chachamim learned?’ Today, however, everyone knows how mistaken those skeptics turned out to be! Today we realize that because of daf yomi, all Jews have the opportunity to become ‘Shas Yidden.’ Similarly, with daf hayomi b’halacha, people think that chelek dalet is only for rabbanim and poskim. That is not true! Everyone will soon see how relevant chelek dalet is to them every Shabbos!”
Another venerated gadol, Rav Meshulem Dovid Soloveichik, shlita, rosh yeshiva of Brisk and son of the Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveichik, zt’l, said, “What is there for me to add about the importance of learning daily halacha? Chazal teach us, ‘He who learns halacha every day is assured that he is a ben Olam HaBa.’ In the Gemara we find tannaim worried over whether they would get into Olam HaBa. Avraham Avinu wondered if he would have Olam HaBa. Moshe Rabbeinu assured Yehoshua that he would have Olam HaBa. Here, however, Chazal promise that if one learns halacha daily, one will have Olam HaBa. Do we have any idea of the greatness of learning halacha?”
In light of the above remarks, the words of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Bnei Brak, Rav Yisrael Hager, shlita, especially resonate. When the Dirshu delegation met with the Rebbe and told him about the program in which thousands are participating and which will make its first siyum later this year, Rav Hager highlighted the importance of learning halacha daily. “Chazal teach us that he who learns halacha every day is assured Olam HaBa. This program gives every person the framework and ability to make a halacha seder each day and thereby merit Olam HaBa. It is a tremendous z’chus.”
Rav Yitzchok Scheiner, shlita, venerated rosh yeshiva of Kamenitz, has been a longtime admirer and supporter of Dirshu. Rav Dovid Hofstedter pointed out to Rav Scheiner how, with the investment of approximately 30 minutes to one hour each day of learning halacha, a person can save himself from transgressing thousands of issurim. If we combine the aggregate number of daf hayomi b’halacha members, we realize that the program has prevented hundreds of thousands of transgressions of issurei d’Oraisa and d’Rabbanan; it has saved thousands of people from issurei kareis, from malkos, and so many other punishments. Rav Scheiner responded, “There is nothing more important than learning a page of Mishnah Berurah every day. There is no Mishnah Berurah better than the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah.”
When Rav Scheiner was asked how we can inculcate a desire to learn Mishnah Berurah in talmidim he replied, “There is no better way to increase one’s desire to learn than by learning and joining. There is no learner of daf hayomi b’halacha who can say, ‘I didn’t need to do this!’ Mishnah Berurah is something that virtually everyone needs to learn and wants to learn. There is no sefer as pleasant as the Mishnah Berurah.”
The concluding words of Rav Dovid Soloveichik succinctly encapsulate the pivotal importance of joining the daf hayomi b’halacha now, while the program is engaged in chelek vav, the last chelek. “What do we say every day in the tefillah of Ahavah Rabbah? First we beg Hashem to enable us to ‘understand and elucidate’ Torah. Then we ask Him to enable us to ‘listen, learn, teach, safeguard, . . . and [lastly] perform’ the mitzvah. First a person must learn the Torah and try to understand it and its underlying foundations. In that way he will be able to progress into learning practical halacha and actually rendering halachic rulings. You have a great z’chus! Hashem has given you a great z’chus!”