“It is a time of war, a time when we need so much shemirah! How can we achieve shemirah? How can we invoke rachamei shomayim for all of Am Yisrael, for the soldiers at the front, for all those who live in Eretz Yisrael and for all Yidden around the world who are under attack?” exclaimed HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, Rav of Ramat Elchanan and one of the leading senior poskim of our time. “The answer is simple! It is staring us in the face. It is a one-word answer. ‘Shabbos!’ Yes, when we keep Shabbos, enhance our shemiras Shabbos, Shabbos keeps us, Shabbos guards us from difficulty and tragedy!” Those passionate words of Rav Zilberstein were said at a seminal meeting with leaders of hanhalas Dirshu, led by the Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita.
Rav Zilberstein was commenting on the hashgacha pratis that Dirshu’s two most popular learning programs will embark shortly on learning Masechta Shabbos - both Dirshu’s widely popular Amud HaYomi program and Daf HaYomi B’Halacha.
Shabbos is Shemirah!
Since its inception on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan of this year, the Amud HaYomi program has opened nearly 1,000 shiurim the world over with many tens of thousands of participants! The new daily limud “yomi’ with which Dirshu has gifted Klal Yisrael has taken off in an unprecedented way, literally conquering the hearts and minds of Klal Yisrael - whether it is baalei battim seeking a limud that enables them to gain a kinyan and have a geshmak; whether it is kollel yungeleit seeking a systematic way of being koneh Shas while simultaneously learning it in a non-superficial way; whether it is bachurim¸ yes, thousands of bachurim, who have taken to the limud! There are even a number of yeshivos that actually have so many bochurim learning as part of the program that Dirshu has agreed to make those yeshivos into monthly testing sites, so that the bachurim do not even have to leave yeshiva to take the tests.
The Amud HaYomi will be beginning Masechta Shabbos in less than four weeks, 9 Adar 1/February 18, and it was about this that Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein and numerous other Gedolei Yisrael with whom Dirshu met have expressed their joy. “Shabbos is a shemirah,” is the message that came through loud and clear.
Not only will the Amud HaYomi begin learning Masechta Shabbos but Dirshu’s other massive program, its Daf HaYomi B’Halacha daily learning program will also embark on hilchos Shabbos, Chelek Gimmel of the Mishnah Berurah in a few months’ time. Thus, not only will lomdim be able to learn Masechta Shabbos with the Amud HaYomi, but at the very same time as they are deeply immersed in the sugyos of hilchos Shabbos they will also be able to learn the halacha l’maaseh of Shabbos with the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program.
Leading Gedolei Yisrael including HaGaon HaRav Dov Landau, shlita, have urged the learning of hilchos Shabbos as a shemirah in response to the war that has been raging since Simchas Torah. Currently, anyone participating in Dirshu’s two flagship programs, has the opportunity to not only achieve a kinyan in Masechta Shabbos and hilchos Shabbos but also to bring rachamei shomayim upon Klal Yisrael who needs it so much during these trying times.
Twin Powers: Shabbos and Achdus
When hanhalas Dirshu met with the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita in his home in Bnei Brak, Dirshu’s Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein asked the Rebbe, “In what area should we seek to be mechazek ourselves in light of the current matzav?”
“Shabbos is the mekor habracha,” the Rebbe responded, “The Torah was given on Shabbos. Likras Shabbos lechu v’neilcha, when we come and meet Shabbos by engaging in learning about Shabbos and learning the halachos of Shabbos, we tap into the source of our bracha and that endows Klal Yisrael with a special shemirah.”
The Rebbe then turned his focus to Rav Hofstedter and highlighted another important ideal that brings Hashem’s shemirah on Klal Yisrael, the ideal of achdus, of bringing so much unity among Klal Yisrael. He said, “Dirshu has the zechus to bring tens of thousands of Yidden together in learning the Torah hakedosha. They are coming likras Shabbos, to greet the Shabbos by learning the Gemara and halachos of Shabbos. Embarking on this with so many Yidden together is a tremendous manifestation of achdus. Certainly, the twin powers of achdus and Shabbos contain within them the most important ingredients needed by Klal Yisrael to prevail in these difficult times!” concluded the Vizhnitzer Rebbe.
Siyum On Masechta Brachos In Vienna
History was made just over one-hundred years ago when the Daf Hayomi was established by Rav Meir Shapiro at the First Kenessia Gedolah in 1923 in Vienna. Now, history will once again be made on February 19 when the first Siyum of the Amud Hayomi cycle will be held in the same hall in Vienna on Mesechta Brochos. The Siyum in the Sofiensäle Hall will I”YH be graced by many Gedolim from across the world, commemorating this historical event.
HaGaon HaRav Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky, shlita, venerated Mashgiach of Yeshiva Orchos Torah and a talmid muvhak of HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, delineated the remarkable, unprecedented success of the new Dirshu Amud HaYomi program as it is poised to conclude Masechta Brachos and embark on Masechta Shabbos.
He asked a question. “Why was Yehuda chosen by Yaakov Avinu to go to Mitzrayim before the other brothers to establish a yeshiva in Goshen? We know that shevet Yissochor was a shevet of Gedolei Torah. Why couldn’t Yissochor establish the yeshiva?”
He answered in the name of the Nesivos Shalom of Slonim, that after a yeshiva has already been established, you can find many people who can give shiurim and help keep the yeshiva running properly. However, when it comes to starting a yeshiva, building a foundation for a new makom Torah, you need a ‘gur aryeh,’ a lion like Yehuda, a revolutionary leader who has the power, initiative and tenacity to make sure it happens in the best way possible. This pshat came to mind when I was thinking about the new, revolutionary Amud HaYomi program that Rav Hofstedter and Dirshu have gifted to Klal Yisrael,” Rav Mishkovsky continued.
“Just think when Rav Meir Shapiro established the Daf HaYomi, it was an extremely ambitious project. The program would not have caught on and become a Klal Yisrael limud without the support of the Gedolei Yisrael of that time, especially the support of the Imrei Emes of Ger. In this case, we have seen this program become a Klal Yisrael program in a matter of weeks or a few months!” Rav Mishkovsky exclaimed. “We see baalei battim who have so identified with the program because it allows for time to have a geshmak in learning. We see kollel yungeleit grabbing onto the program because it affords them a plan to learn Shas at a pace that they can understand and retain the knowledge. We see bachurim who have found such newfound energy in learning as a result of the program’s having caught on and even becoming an official seder in some yeshivos. Without a doubt this program is a tremendous zechus for Klal Yisrael!”
Perhaps Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein best encapsulated the Torah’s view on this by saying, “Everyone in Klal Yisrael must be involved in the battle for Eretz Yisrael. Torah is akin to our atom bomb. It is the ultimate shemirah for Klal Yisrael and when Yidden embark on learning Masechta Shabbos and hilchos Shabbos with diligence and complete focus, there is no better shemirah for all of Klal Yisrael!”