By
Chaim Gold
April 19, 2024

Kabbolas Shabbos Before Kabbolas HaTorah!

Massive Dirshu “Kinnus Olam HaTorah, Kabbolas Shabbos Event” to be Held Before Shavuos at Prudential Center

The Prudential Center?

Is Dirshu really renting out the Prudential Center?! And not even for a siyum? Why? Why would Dirshu make such a massive event to mark the beginning of hilchos Shabbos, Chelek Gimmel of the Mishnah Berurah, and Perek Bameh Isha in the Amud HaYomi that is set to begin just days before Shavuos?

The answer is simple. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Klal Yisrael finds itself in a tremendous eis tzarah. Most of us cannot recall a time such as this, when we are surrounded m’bayis u’mbachutz by enemies who are sworn to our destruction and annihilation and by “friends” who don’t seem to care if our enemies succeed.

Since October 7, Klal Yisrael finds itself in a state of war in Eretz Yisrael, where a bloodthirsty terrorist state wants to murder every single Jewish man, woman and child, peshuto k’mashmao. Not only that, but even those who are ostensibly friends, friends of democracy, friends of people with “similar values”, are preventing the Jews from defending themselves.

To make matters even worse, they are sitting at the sidelines, passively watching as rabid and open Jew-hatred and violence against Jews in the Western World has reached levels not seen or even contemplated since the 1930’s.

In Eretz Yisrael as well, there are those who are intent on trying to still the Kol Torah and trying to take our bachurim and avreichim out from the Beis Hamedrash.

We need drastic measures. We are in mortal danger. In ruchniyus and in gashmiyus.

Shemiras Shabbos, Learning Hilchos Shabbos and Gemara Masechta Shabbos: The Ultimate Shemirah!

What can be done? The Gedolei Yisrael of our generation have told us and echoed the call of Gedolei Yisrael of previous generations that learning hilchos Shabbos and even more importantly an enhanced level of shemiras Shabbos, brings a tremendous amount of shemirah to Klal Yisrael. Indeed, the Ibn Ezra writes in the famous piyut or zemirah that we sing on Shabbos, “Ki eshmera Shabbos, Keil yishmereini – when we watch over the Shabbos and make sure we observe it in accordance with every aspect of its halachos, Hashem will watch over us.”

The Gedolei Yisrael, shlita, of our time, HaGaon HaRav Dov Landau, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Slabodka, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, and Rav Reuven Elbaz, shlita, have all called on Klal Yisrael to upgrade and enhance their Shabbos observance. This can only be done by learning hilchos Shabbos. The understanding of hilchos Shabbos is further enhanced by simultaneously learning Masechta Shabbos. Thus it is clearly providential that at this difficult time, Dirshu’s Amud HaYomi and Daf HaYomi B’Halacha programs are both engaged in the learning of Shabbos, offering an unprecedented opportunity to make improvements in our observance of Shabbos.

The Mishnah Berurah in his introduction to hilchos Shabbos brings the words of Rav Yonasan Eibischutz (Yaaras Devash) who says that it is not possible to properly observe Shabbos unless one comprehensively learns its halachos.

The Chofetz Chaim further writes (Igros U’Maamarim 66) that it is a mitzvah to encourage people in each city to set up chaburos to learn hilchos Shabbos because “learning about hilchos Shabbos brings a person to actually be able to keep Shabbos properly…”

The Call of the Hour

It is for that reason that Dirshu’s hanhala feels that at this critical juncture in our history when Klal Yisrael needs such rachamei shomayim and are in many ways facing unprecedented challenges, both spiritual and physical, it is critically important that legions and legions of Yidden learn hilchos Shabbos, to know hilchos Shabbos and to observe Shabbos with the greatest hiddur possible. It is Dirshu’s most fervent tefillah that this shall undoubtedly swing the pendulum in our favor and help bring us the shemirah and yeshuos that we so desperately need.

That is why Dirshu, with the bracha and encouragement of Gedolei Yisrael from both Eretz Yisrael and chutz l’aretz, will be holding a massive event entitled “Kinnus Olam HaTorah, Kabbolas Shabbos Event” to mark the haschala of hilchos Shabbos in the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program. The event will be held on Sunday, 3 Sivan/ June 9, at the Prudential Center Arena in Newark, NJ. Leading Gedolei Yisrael will address the maamad of chizuk and tefillah and most importantly, encourage a kabbalah to learn and upgrade our hilchos Shabbos.

The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is an excellent vehicle to accomplish this goal. It involves a relatively small daily investment of time to learn an amud of Mishnah Berurah along with Dirshu’s Biurim and Musafim on the adjacent page that brings the piskei halacha of many Gedolei Haposkim on modern day questions and scenarios as paskend by the Poskei Hador who have come since the publishing of the Mishnah Berurah. This coupled with the fact that lomdei Dirshu are now in the middle of learning Masechta Shabbos in Talmud Bavli, presents an ideal opportunity to learn the foundational underpinnings of the halacha from the Gemara and then follow up with the practical halacha.

Those who commit to joining the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program for hilchos Shabbos will be given preferential seating and heavily discounted rates at the event.

The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program has had a transformational impact on Klal Yisrael. Now in its third seven-year machzor, the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha has enabled tens of thousands of learners to complete the entire Mishnah Berurah, gaining familiarity with the halachos in the entire Mishnah Berurah.

Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky: “The Program to Learn Mishnah Berurah… Has Been Received B’Sever Panim Yafos

Three years ago, the venerated Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Philadelphia, the Zekan Roshei HaYeshiva of our times, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Kaminetsky, shlita, penned a personal letter to the Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, thanking him for the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program.

In the letter, Rav Shmuel writes, “The program to learn from the sefer Mishnah Berurah written by the gaon hador, the Chofetz Chaim, has been received throughout the world b’sever panim yafos by Torah learners and especially in yeshivos all over the world. May Hashem enable this limud to continue, especially in yeshivos.

“His honor has merited to enable the learning of halachos every day which serves as a proper preparation for life for every ben Torah. This is especially true regarding halachos that are relevant in day-to-day life. My bracha to you from the depth of my heart is that you should be successful in everything you do.”

Rav Shmuel’s heartfelt call for learning halachos that are constantly relevant in day-to-day life was echoed by Gedolei Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, especially now at this critical time.

Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein: Shemiras Shabbos is Our Shemirah!

HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, Rav of Ramat Elchanan and one of the leading poskim of our generation, has been particularly passionate in advocating for the learning of Masechta Shabbos and hilchos Shabbos during this difficult time when asked what he thinks of the idea of Klal Yisrael coming together to learn Masechta Shabbos and hilchos Shabbos together in Dirshu’s Amud HaYomi and Daf Hayomi B’Halacha programs. The Gemara teaches us that if Klal Yisrael would keep two shabbosos, they would merit the geulah immediately. Perhaps two shabbosos can refer to the concurrent learning of Masechta Shabbos and hilchos Shabbos!

“We all know that shemiras Shabbos serves as the ultimate shemirah, the ultimate protection from our enemies,” Rav Zilberstein emphasized. “How much more so is learning Torah and learning about Shabbos a protection in these times when Klal Yisrael needs so much shemirah. Thus, it is important to tap into that shemirah to invoke rachmei shomayim on behalf of Klal Yisrael and enhance our limud haTorah, especially in areas of Shabbos, which is the mekor habracha, the source of all blessing.”

Rav Zilberstein told Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter at a meeting held in Rav Zilberstein’s home, “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? 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!”

The Vizhnitzer Rebbe: Shabbos has an Even Greater Power than Yom Kippur to Affect Kaparah!

The Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, quoted the profound words of the Taz at the beginning of his commentary on hilchos Shabbos.  “The Taz brings the well-known Gemara that states, ‘Whoever keeps Shabbos in accordance with halacha, even if he worships avodah zarah like the generation of Enosh, will be forgiven. From here we learn,’ the Taz says ‘that Shabbos has an even greater power than Yom Kippur to affect kaparah. When it comes to Yom Kippur, there are transgressions that are not even forgiven then, that require a person to undergo additional pain and suffering and even death to affect kaparah. However, keeping Shabbos according to halacha can engender a complete kaparah without suffering and without death.’”

The Rebbe then passionately exclaimed, “Who doesn’t want that?! G-d fearing Jews are always seeking ways to achieve selicha and kaparah. All they have to do is learn hilchos Shabbos and thereby merit to keep Shabbos according to halacha!”

The Rebbe concluded, “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 also quoted his father, the Yeshuas Moshe of Vizhnitz, who would constantly quote what he had heard from his own grandfather, the Ahavas Yisrael, that the words, ‘Vayanach bayom hasheviyi, He rested on the seventh day,’ means that Hashem placed all the bracha in the world into Shabbos. Therefore, those who keep Shabbos properly through learning the halachos of Shabbos are able to access all the brachos in the world.” 

It is a Golden Opportunity!

HaGaon HaRav Reuven Elbaz, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Ohr Hachaim and a member of the Shas Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah, focused on what he called “a golden opportunity” for lomdei Torah.

“I think,” he said, “that the fact that the Amud HaYomi is currently learning Masechta Shabbos and that the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha will begin hilchos Shabbos right before Shavuos offers a golden opportunity. One can learn Masechta Shabbos and thereby become familiar with all the concepts and sources of the halacha. Then, one can proceed to the next step to see how all those concepts and sources translate into halacha l’maaseh!”

“The Dirshu Mishnah Berurah,” he continued, “which helps every lomed truly understand the practical halacha as it relates to our times, gives us no excuse not to learn!”

Rav Elbaz added that he himself uses the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah daily and experiences remarkable to’eles, benefit from it.

“Mishnah Berurah Teaches You HOW to Understand the Halacha

A few years ago at a Dirshu siyum in Paris, France, HaGaon Hacham Shalom Cohen, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Porat Yosef, related that the fact that Sephardim do not always rule in accordance with the Mishnah Berurah should not in any way be a deterrent to Sephardim learning the Mishnah Berurah. He said, “Some might say that the Mishnah Berurah is a sefer written for Ashkenazim not for Sephardim. After all, we rule in accordance with Maran, the Bet Yosef, and they rule in accordance with the Remah. What then,” Rav Shalom asked, “would be the point of learning the Mishnah Berurah when its laws are not written in accordance with the Sephardic halachic rulings?”

“When one learns the Mishnah Berurah,” he answered, “one can truly understand the underlying premise of the halacha. I always tell my talmidim that although we Sephardim do not rule like the Mishnah Berurah, they should first learn the Mishnah Berurah and then learn the final outcome of the Sephardic poskim. After all, the Mishnah Berurah teaches you how to understand the halacha, not just what the halacha is. Therefore,” Rav Cohen concluded, “it is a wonderful thing that Dirshu has instituted the learning of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha daily learning of Mishnah Berurah.”

Now, in this very difficult period for Klal Yisrael, there is no room for complacency. We must utilize every tool, every eitzah of Torah, tefillah and chessed to try to tip the scales in our favor. We must show Hashem how much we value His Torah by rededicating ourselves to limud haTorah and yedias haTorah.

Learning Masechta Shabbos with the Amud HaYomi and following up with Hilchos Shabbos, with the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is a critically important shemirah. As the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is set to embark right before Shavuos on chelek gimmel of Mishnah Berurah, the chelek that encompasses Hilchos Shabbos, now is the time to accept upon ourselves with a true kabbalah to learn hilchos Shabbos, and to enhance and upgrade our shemiras Shabbos. The only way to do that, is by learning hilchos Shabbos.

We have a golden Opportunity this 3 Sivan/June 9, to embark on a journey that will transform us and bring the tremendous shemirah and bracha of Shabbos, upon ourselves and upon all of Klal Yisroel.  

Now is the time to be Mekabel Shabbos!

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