“There has never been anything like this in South America! The size, the scope, and most importantly the excited anticipation for the first ever Amud HaYomi siyum on Masechta Brachos is just off the charts!” exclaimed Rabbi Daniel Cohen-Talgum, Dirshu’s South American Director. The excitement permeating Argentina, where the siyum will be held, as well as in Brazil, Panama and even Venezuela, is just amazing.
The siyum on Masechta Brachos in Amud HaYomi and Masechta Bava Kama in the Daf HaYomi program to be held on 25 Adar 1/March 5 will be held at the Luna Park stadium, a stadium that holds more than 5,000 people, is the largest single Torah venue ever seen in South America.
The fact that HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, shlita, venerated Rosh Yeshiva at the Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, will be travelling from Eretz Yisrael expressly to deliver the keynote address, and HaGaon HaTzaddik Rav Rafael Abuchatzeirah, shlita, will give a main address, have filled South American Torah Jewry with a tremendous feeling of excitement and anticipation.
The Demand is Exceeding Our Expectations!
Rabbi Cohen-Talgum relates, “We recently started selling tickets and the demand has way exceeded our expectations! Requests have been pouring in, not only from the more than 1,000 people learning in Dirshu’s various programs, but also from a very wide range of people representing the Sephardic and Ashkenazi communities along with Orthodox communities in shuls at various levels of observance.
“It is clear to me,” Rabbi Cohen-Talgum continued, “that Dirshu’s efforts to enhance Torah learning and its various programs that appeal to Jews representing the entire cross-section of the South American community have struck a deep chord with South American Jewry. After all, where do you have an organization whose only goal is to help others learn Torah?! All Dirshu wants is to enhance the ruchniyus of every Jew in Klal Yisrael! People in our community are responding to that altruism and want to be part of it.”
The siyum in Argentina is not the only siyum being held for the Spanish speaking community. In addition to the 5,000 Jews who will gather in Argentina, there will also be a large siyum on Masechta Brachos in Amud HaYomi and Masechta Bava Kama in the Daf HaYomi, in Mexico, with an expected attendance of more than 1,000 people. That siyum, to be held on 23 Adar 1/March 3 at the Hotel Camino Real Polanco Hall,in Mexico City, will also be attended by Rav Ezrachi and Rav Abuchatzeira and the enthusiastic eagerness in Mexico in both the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities is something to behold.
Over the past decade, Dirshu’s activities in South America and Mexico have expanded tremendously. Aside from the test takers in Dirshu’s flagship Kinyan Torah Daf HaYomi program, there has been a massive increase in Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners. With tens of shiurim throughout South America and Mexico, so many lives have been transformed through the daily learning of Halacha.
Nevertheless, Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein, a member of Dirshu’s Hanhalah who has been instrumental in facilitating and spreading Dirshu’s footprint in that region, relates, “As successful as we have been until now, nothing could have prepared us for the enthusiastic embrace of the Amud HaYomi program since its inception last October. Currently, there are more than ten shuirim in Buenos Aires alone! The shiurim are held at all times of the days starting from the pre-vasikin hours of the day, until late at night.
“There is a thirst for learning and a geshmak in the slower pace of the Amud HaYomi that affords a bit more iyun. The Amud HaYomi has become so popular that we are opening new shiurim for the start of Masechta Shabbos later this month. We were completely taken by surprise by the many hundreds of test takers who have signed up and take tests. The tremendous investment of time that goes into learning and chazara in order to take the tests is a testament to the dedication that South American and Mexican Jewry displays for limud haTorah.”
From “No Time” to Learn a Page of Mishnah Berurah to Earning High Scores in Amud HaYomi!
Rav Cohen-Talgum gives an example of the Dirshu revolution in South America. “Several years ago, I met a frum real estate developer here in Buenos Aires. He was a proud Jew and a philanthropist, but Torah learning was not at the top of his agenda. I urged him to start learning the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. He reluctantly agreed. After the first month of learning, I encouraged him to take the test. He responded that he is embarrassed to take a test because he knows he will not do well, so ‘what’s the point…?’ But I didn’t give up. I told him, ‘Please take it! Even if you get a low mark, you will see it will be a catalyst for more growth in learning.’ He agreed and indeed, his marks were very low at the beginning, but with time, he began to score higher and higher marks. Now he doesn’t get below a ninety.
“That is not the end of the story. When the Amud HaYomi began a few months ago, he decided to join. He became fully immersed in the Amud HaYomi and he now scores among our highest marks. This is from a man who told me that he was so busy that he didn’t even have enough time to learn an amud of Mishnah Berurah a day! Now, he utilizes every free second of his day to learn and chazer the Amud HaYomi. This is just one story of the transformative impact that Dirshu and especially the Amud HaYomi has had in our community,” concluded R’ Daniel.
Sold on Dirshu!
The siyum in Mexico will feature many highlights. Aside from the two visiting Gedolei Yisrael, Rav Ezrachi and Rav Abuchatzeira, the siyum will be addressed by Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Bezalel, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva Porat Yosef of Yerushalayim, and numerous local Rabbanim.
The siyum in Argentina will also feature inspiring music from inspirational singers, R’ Shlomo Cohen and R’ Motty Steinmetz.
The Siyum in Mexico, will feature, R’ Baruch Levine, and Rav Shlomo Cohen.
Many Dirshu Rabbanim and learners will be travelling from other countries in South America to join the siyum in Argentina. These will include delegations from both Brazil and Panama led by local Rabbanim and maggidei shiur and many lomdei Dirshu. The Rabbanim recognize the spiritual impact that Dirshu has made on their communities and feel a deep sense of hakaras hatov to Dirshu.
Rav Cohen-Talgum relates, “This season in South America is one when many are on vacation. Initially, I was a bit worried about making the siyum to coincide with the end of Masechta Brachos because I knew that so many people would be away. Perhaps there would not be such a large turnout. Despite my worries, however, I am amazed! Why? Because despite everything, we can’t sell tickets fast enough! Shuls from all over the country are turning to us,” Rav Cohen-Talgum continues, awed, “even shuls whose members one would not automatically associate with intensive limud haTorah. I realize that when it comes to Torah, you don’t have to sell anything. Torah sells itself.
“South America is sold on Dirshu!”