It is barely two weeks since the launch of the global Amud HaYomi program and the Amud HaYomi is spreading across the world!
Hundreds of shiurim and night kollelim began learning the Amud HaYomi this past Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan starting Masechta Brachos daf beis amud aleph. Thousands of chavrusos began learning the amud together across the world from Melbourne to Buenos Aires, from Lakewood to Bnei Brak, from Antwerp to Texas, and from Johannesburg to Caracas, Venezuela.
Rav Hillel David: The Unique Maalos of Amud HaYomi
In addition, pesicha shiurim were delivered on the first amud in Brachos by Gedolei Yisrael from all over. HaGaon HaRav Hillel David, shlita, Yoshev Rosh of the Vaad Roshei Yeshiva of Torah Umesorah, a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, and Rav of Kehillas Yeshiva Shaarei Torah, gave a live, practical lesson on how one can learn the amud and simultaneously cite wonderful chiddushim from the rishonim and acharonim and seamlessly weave them into the amud.
At the conclusion of his shiur, Rav Hillel spoke about the unique maalos of Amud HaYomi. He explained that it goes without saying that an Amud HaYomi shiur should be given for the same amount of time as a daf yomi shiur. “A maggid shiur,” he explained, “can have the opportunity to point out the way Rashi learns the Gemara and cite the opinion of Tosafos that differs with Rashi. He has the luxury of being able to explain why Tosafos argues on Rashi. If he prepares well, he can truly convey the underpinnings of the sugya. For example, in Masechta Brachos, one can learn so many foundational halachos of brachos by looking in the Rashba, Ritva or Rabbeinu Yonah. A maggid shiur has the time to convey these things as he is going through the amud.
“Similarly,” Rav David pointed out, “the Chazon Ish writes in the first letter in his sefer Igros HaChazon Ish that it is not good that the last generation relinquished the learning of the Maharsha. The Maharsha enables us to understand basic pshat in so many sugyos.” Rav Hillel continued that for the generation that was raised in the Torah centers of Europe it was pashut that one must learn Maharsha. When I was a young child,” he reminisced, “I remember davening in an old shteibel in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. An elderly baal habayis was sitting there learning from a large Gemara and noticed me learning. He asked, ‘You are learning Rashi?’ When I replied affirmatively, he asked me, ‘Are you learning Tosafos as well?’ When I again answered affirmatively, he was very pleased. It was only when I answered that I was not learning the Maharsha that he gave a krechtz and asked me ‘Why not?’”
With a twinkle in his eyes, Rav David exclaimed, “If you learn the amud for an hour, you have time to look up a Maharsha! Not only that,” he continued, “but if one learns the Amud HaYomi like this, then it is even worthwhile to wait fifteen years to make a siyum haShas!”
Rav Hillel highlighted that the better a person learns and the more geshmak he has in learning, the more yiras shamayim he develops. “The Amud HaYomi, when learned properly,” he concluded, “will not only increase a person’s Torah knowledge but will also add to his yiras shamayim!”
Increasing Mesikus HaTorah
During the first two weeks since the start of the Amud HaYomi, Dirshu’s offices both in America and Eretz Yisrael have been bombarded with phone calls. Many, many people have called to ask that a shiur be set up in their shul or neighborhood. Many maggidei shiur have called with offers to deliver shiurim. Thousands upon thousands of Yidden have signed up to join the program and receive the Iyun Ha’amud Kuntres that offers interesting maareh mekomos and chiddushim on the Gemara, Rashi and Tosafos on every amud.
The first Dirshu Amud HaYomi test is coming up at the beginning of the month of Kislev, 6 Kislev/November 19, and it is expected that tens of thousands of Yidden all over the globe will be taking the test and tasting the sweet taste of accomplishment and mesikus haTorah.
The truth is whether one takes the test or does not take the test, the Amud HaYomi is an opportunity for every learner to experience the mesikus haTorah and be part of a framework that will empower him to gain an understanding of Shas over the course of time.
The Skverer Rebbe: More Torah, More Light
Recently, a Dirshu delegation came to Shikun Skver to receive a bracha from the Skverer Rebbe shlita, for this new transformative undertaking. The Rebbe was extremely pleased to hear about the new Amud HaYomi program, and he told them, “The truth is that in Skver we also have an Amud HaYomi program with a different schedule. I remember when our program was originally proposed, I was a bit hesitant and didn’t immediately give it my blessing. I was afraid,” the Rebbe said, “that perhaps limiting the learning to an amud would make some people learn less, not more. We know that when it comes to kedushah, to anything holy, we always go up and we can never go down. In the end, however, I did agree, and I realized that any apprehension that I had was unfounded. The Torah learning in the kehillah just became stronger. Torah is like a candle. When you light one candle from another, the second candle begins to give light without minimizing the first one’s light. It is the same thing with Torah. Another shiur, another program doesn’t take away from existing programs, it just adds more and more light… I saw this with the Amud HaYomi. It didn’t take away from the Daf HaYomi, on the contrary, as result of the Amud HaYomi more people also started learning the Daf HaYomi.”
Indeed, in the Skverer Kehillah in Shikun Skver, three separate, new shiurim for Amud HaYomi have been started in addition to the kehillah’s existing Amud HaYomi shiurim and Daf HaYomi shiurim. The more Torah, the more light.
The Rebbe gave his warm bracha that “the Amud HaYomi should bring more Torah and more simcha to Klal Yisrael as the passuk tells us that Torah is mesamchei lev, it makes the heart happy.”
Rav Shlomo Eisenberger: “The Last Amud Hayomi Shiur That I Attended was Given by Rav Shach!”
Another pesicha shiur on Masechta Brachos was given by the venerated Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Eisenberger, shlita. Rav Eisenberger reminisced that the last time he attended an Amud HaYomi shiur was in the Ponovezh Yeshiva and the maggid shiur was the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Shach! He said, “When I learned in Ponovezh many decades ago, Rav Shach delivered a blatt shiur. That zeman we were learning Masechta Kesubos. When the Ponovezher Rav, Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman suggested to Rav Shach that he learn five blatt a week in the blatt shiur, Rav Shach protested that it was too much. In the end they each compromised, and Rav Shach began delivering shiur on one amud a day.
“I think the Amud HaYomi is an amazing idea! Not everyone can do a full blatt. In an amud, there is so much more that the maggid shiur can speak about. I remember how much Rav Shach spoke about on each amud. It is a real toeles…”
Rav Eisenberger then spoke about the difficult period in which Klal Yisrael finds itself. “During a time when Klal Yisrael finds itself in such a precarious situation, every chizuk in learning is so important and brings so much benefit.
“When the original Daf HaYomi was established 100 years ago,” Rav Eisenberger continued, “one of its great benefits was the achdus that it brought to Klal Yisrael. Everyone was learning the same daf on the same day. The Amud HaYomi will bring additional achdus to Klal Yisrael. When fighting an enemy, one needs a koach hameached, a unifying force. Perhaps Hashem is demanding more achdus from us. There was so much strife among the Jewish people and now perhaps the tikkun for that is achdus, with more and more Yidden unifying through limud haTorah.”
Rav Shlomo continued, “The Gemara says that one of the first things that a person will be asked when he comes to the beis din shel maalah is ‘Kavata ittim l’Torah - did you set aside time to learn Torah?’. Simply understood, the question is, ‘did you make a set time for yourself to learn Torah every day?’. Let us offer another explanation. In sefer Koheles, Shlomo Hamelech cites many ‘ittim – times.’ There is an eis l’smoach, a time for joy and an eis l’vkos, a time to cry, an eis milchama, a time of war and an eis shalom, a time of peace and the list goes on.
“Perhaps the word ‘ittim’ in that question means, ‘did you learn Torah even in times when it was difficult, such as during a time of simcha?’ When a person is making a simcha, he is so busy. Did you find time to learn even then, at that time? When a person is facing a challenge, it is an eis l’vkos, a time to cry. Did he nevertheless continue with his learning seder even when it was difficult? Perhaps that is what ‘kavata ittim’ means - did you set aside the time even under great adversity? A kevius like the Amud HaYomi gives a person the framework to be immersed in learning no matter what is going on his life!”
Rav Dovid Hofstedter: “Without Torah the World is Suspended in Limbo”
Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi of Dirshu, also delivered a pesicha shiur, during which he explained in great depth many of the foundational sevaros related to the first amud of the masechta. The shiur, given in Toronto, was broadcast to chavrei Dirshu around the world.
At the end, Rav Dovid gave divrei chizuk for a few minutes regarding the situation in which we currently find ourselves. He noted that Shas begins with the halachos of Kriyas Shema to teach us that first and foremost, before anything, we must have emunah, we must accept upon ourselves the ol malchus shamayim.
With great passion, Rav Hofstedter exclaimed, “The entire world saw what happened on Simchas Torah in Eretz Yisrael. The entire world shuddered and was shocked by the barbaric acts perpetrated against Yidden in Eretz Yisrael. It seemed almost as if the kiyum ha’olam, the continuation of the world as we know it, was in doubt. Chazal tell us that for 26 generations until Hashem gave the bris of the Torah, the world was hanging in limbo, as it were. When we accepted the Torah and mitzvos upon ourselves, the foundation of the world solidified. It was no longer suspended in limbo.
“When we see today how it appears that the foundation of the sustenance of the world as we know it, is in doubt, we are doubly obligated to strengthen ourselves in the bris of Torah, because only Torah puts the world on a solid foundation. When we strengthen ourselves in Torah, that shields us and saves the world as Chazal tell us, “‘Im lo brisi yomam v’layla chukos shamayim v’aretz lo samti - were it not for klal Yisrael observing My Torah and mitzvos, the laws governing heaven and earth would have never been established.’”
“What we must do is accept upon ourselves the ol Torah and increase our learning both in quantity and even more so in quality.”
The Rachmastrivka Rebbe: “The Amud HaYomi is a Wonderful Opportunity!”
The Rachmastrivka Rebbe, shlita, of Yerushalayim, was extremely pleased when informed of the establishment of the worldwide Amud HaYomi program. He said, “The fact that Dirshu has established a new daily learning program, the Amud HaYomi, is a very great, important thing. There are many who find it difficult to learn the daf yomi. There are others who would rather learn less every day but want to still have time to review the previous days’ learning. Some like to spend more time on meforshim. For these people, the Amud HaYomi is a wonderful opportunity.”
A New Kevius, a New Zechus
The message of the Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe delivered through his son, was a message that was extremely appropriate for today’s precarious times. He said, “During this difficult period in which we live, there is a special zechus that comes with spreading Torah and facilitating more Torah learning all over the world. The Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh says that Moshe Rabbeinu did not want to redeem batlanim min haTorah, those that do not sit and learn Torah. The new Amud HaYomi program that will exponentially increase Torah learning, should serve as a zechus to finally bring Moshiach, whom we are so awaiting!”
To join Amud HaYomi or to find a shiur near you, please contact Dirshu at 1888-5Dirshu or Info@dirshunj.org