By
Chaim Gold
February 16, 2024

Remarkable Achdus at Upcoming Dirshu Convention, as Gedolei Yisrael and Lomdei Dirshu Representing All Shevatim in Klal Yisrael Gather Together

Historic First Amud HaYomi Siyum on Masechta Brachos on Thursday Night

Every Dirshu Convention is a unique spiritual experience, but this year’s convention will have an added dimension - a special, Thursday night, historic Grand Siyum, the first siyum in the inaugural machzor of the new Amud HaYomi program. The Grand Siyum on Masechta Brachos, the first masechta in Shas, will be held at the Armon Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut on 13 Adar I/February 22.

This singular event to be held on Thursday night at the outset of the Convention, will be a first in Dirshu Convention history. The siyum will celebrate the new “Yomi” that has taken Klal Yisrael by storm with tens of thousands of participants the world over. Numerous leading Gedolei Yisrael will address the siyum.

There will also be a siyum on Masechta Bava Kama in the Daf HaYomi program on Motzoei Shabbos at the gala melava malka that will be held in the main ballroom of the Armon Hotel.

At the Amud HaYomi Siyum on Thursday night, the actual hadran and siyum will be made by HaGaon HaRav Hillel David, shlita,Yoshev Rosh of the Vaad Roshei Yeshiva of Torah Umesorah, a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, andRav of Kehillas Yeshiva Shaarei Torah of Brooklyn. The venerated Rav David, one of the senior Gedolim of America, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Amud HaYomi. It was Rav David who delivered a historic pesicha shiur on Masechta Brachos several months ago when the program was inaugurated and it is thus eminently appropriate that he should make the siyum. At that shiur Rav David gave important advice to both lomdei Amud HaYomi and Amud HaYomi maggidei shiur as to how to make the most of every shiur and every amud.

There will also be a special guest Gadol from Eretz Yisrael gracing the siyum with a keynote address, HaGaon Hatzaddik HaRav Shimon Galei, shlita. Rav Shimon, who is himself a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggid shiur, will share his feelings of chizuk after personally witnessing the remarkable revolution in Eretz Yisrael where over 500 Amud HaYomi shiurim have opened across the length and breadth of the country.

Participants at that siyum will have the distinctive opportunity to hear from HaGaon HaRav David Ozeri, shlita, Rav of the Yad Yosef Torah Center of Brooklyn, and HaGaon HaRav Shimon Zev Meisels, Rav of Beis Medrash Yismach Yisroel in Kiryas Yoel and a son-in-law of the Satmar Rebbe, shlita, and the Nasi of Dirshu, HaRav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita.

A Convention that Defies Description

Of course, Shabbos itself at the Dirshu Convention is so deeply inspiring that it is difficult to encapsulate with words. A Dirshu Convention is unique. It is a microcosm of the achdus through Torah that symbolizes the most beautiful qualities of Am Yisrael. It is a convention where men and women representing the entire gamut of Torah Jewry – Chassidim of all kinds, Litvish Yeshiva types, Ashkenazim, Sefardim – come together for one reason: to give and gain chizuk in the limud haTorah that both the men and women who attend know has transformed their homes, their family lives and the chinuch of their children.

The excitement and anticipation felt by Lomdei Dirshu as they look forward to the biennial convention is indescribable. It is a breath of Torah oxygen as they meet like-minded “brothers and sisters in combat” who set aside large portions of time daily to learn, chazer, learn and chazer again, learning the material for the comprehensive tests that every lomed Dirshu aspires to take successfully. These multitudes of talmidei chachamim come together with their counterparts, talking in learning and exchanging tips on how to enhance yedias haTorah and retention of the vast amounts of Torah that they learn. One cannot quantify, the chizuk they derive from realizing that they are a significant part of a massive global movement of yedias haTorah.

With the addition of the monthly Amud HaYomi tests this year, thousands of new test takers have joined the ranks of Dirshu and have begun to feel the taam of life as a “Dirshu Yid.”

In addition, the wives of lomdei Dirshu walk away from Shabbos on a high. Not only are they deeply inspired by the special women’s programing but perhaps even more so, from meeting other distinguished wives and mothers who truly understand what it means to be part of Dirshu with the inherent thrill of witnessing the hatzlacha of their husbands and/or sons after a test; or upon completion of a masechta, recognizing how, through Dirshu, the entire family becomes elevated and closer to Hashem.

Phenomenal Achdus

One Dirshu Yid, who called to register on the first day of registration, related, “I called immediately because I have still not forgotten the last convention! Where else can one have Ashkenazim and Sefardim, Yeshivaleit and Chassidim, Yidden from Cleveland, Baltimore and Toronto talking in learning with Yidden from New Square, Lakewood and Williamsburg? Torah is truly the ultimate unifier and the Torah in which all lomdei Dirshu immerse themselves, day in, day out, week in, week out, year after year brings together all segments of Klal Yisrael in the most harmonious symphony of achdus.”

A Shabbos of Highlights

One of the highlights of the Dirshu Convention that the lomdim look forward to is the iyun shiur delivered by a prominent Rosh Yeshiva. In past conventions, shiurim were delivered by such luminaries as HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, zt”l, whose shiur riveted the tzibbur Who can forget the shiurim of HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, shlita, or HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Feivel Schustal, shlita, at past conventions? This year, the shiur will be given by HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mesivta of Lakewood, and author of the magnum opus sefarim Gevuras Yitzchok.

At this year’s convention too, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Feivel Schustal will be delivering a shiur on Friday.

Another highlight of the convention in previous years has been the unique shailos and teshuvos sessions with two of the most prominent poskim of our times, HaGaon HaRav Reuven Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Staten Island and HaGaon Harav Yeicheil Michel Steinmetz, shlita, senior Skverer Dayan of Boro Park. This year too, Rav Feinstein and Rav Steinmetz will be taking questions covering all aspects of halacha and hashkafa.

Celebrating Learning with Relentless Learning

One of the most incredible chiddushim of a Dirshu Convention is the fact that nothing, not even a Dirshu Convention itself, can stop the relentless schedule of learning and chazering of lomdei Dirshu! In fact, Dirshu consecrates a large double conference room in the main hotel as a beis medrash open for learning 24 hours a day.

During an earlier convention, Rav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, the venerated Skverer Dayan of Boro Park, pointed out how despite the oneg Shabbos ending very late on Friday night, early the next morning, the designated beis medrash was literally full of people learning before it even became light outside! Rav Steinmetz, who was learning in the beis medrash in the early hours of Shabbos morning, was amazed, “Where else do you have a convention where not only is learning talked about, but it doesn’t stop?! Where else do you find, after the seudah on Shabbos afternoon, the ‘taanug’ of sleeping on Shabbos being replaced by the even greater pleasure of learning and chazering another blatt Gemara and another seif in Shulchan Aruch?!”

This year’s convention will be graced by numerous Gedolei Yisrael that will also include, HaGaon HaRav Dovid Goldberg, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Eisenberger, shlita, Roshei Yeshiva of the Telshe Yeshiva of Cleveland, the Kossover Rebbe, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Choeuka, shlita, Rav of Beit Haknesset Ohel Simha of Deal, NJ, HaGaon HaRav Nissan Kaplan, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Daas Aharon, and numerous others.

At the Motzoei Shabbos Melava Malka Siyum on Masechta Bava Kama, Rav Dovid Goldberg, Rosh Yeshivas Telshe, the Kossover Rebbe, Rav Shraga Feivish Hager, Rav Nissan Kaplan, and Rav Dovid Hofstedter will address the massive crowd. The hadran on Masechta Bava Kama will be given by HaRav Moshe Mordechai Lowy, shlita, Rav of the Agudas Yisrael of Toronto.

On Shabbos, between Kabbolas Shabbos and Maariv, Rav Nissan Kaplan will address the massive assemblage in the tent erected to enable all participants to daven b’achdus comfortably. Rav Yitzchok Sorotzkin will also deliver an important drasha at the Friday night seuda.

A highlight of the Shabbos promises to be the Sheves Achim on Friday night following the seuda where Rav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, Rav Shmuel Choueka, and Rav Yisrael Moshe Olewski, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Gerer Yeshiva in Boro Park, will address the crowd.

On Shabbos morning, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi of Dirshu is slated to deliver a lomdishe shiur, both a hadran on the Daf HaYomi of Masechta Bava Kama and a haschala on Masechta Shabbos with the Amud HaYomi.

A Surreal Sight on the Women’s Side

There will also be separate women’s programming throughout the Shabbos and during the melava malka.

In the past, it was impossible not to be moved by the surreal scene on the women’s side of the mechitza, as the hallowed time of hadlokas ner Shabbos approached. It is a sight! Women of all types, women bedecked with white tichels atop their sheitels next to women with sheitels and yet others with tichels all united as they light the Shabbos candles and the first word of conversation is, “In which program does your husband learn?” They talk about how fortunate they feel to be part of a program that transforms their home into a bastion of Torah and how they happily juggle the early morning hours of getting their kids off to school without their husbands who are deeply immersed in learning their respective Dirshu programs or how they manage bedtime at night as their talmidei chachomim are reviewing another blatt Gemara and another Rashi or Tosafos!

The response from lomdei Dirshu has been so overwhelming. Thousands of reservations have poured in from people wanting to attend the convention. Dirshu has booked and sold out both the Armon and Marriot Hotels.

Those wishing to participate in the Amud HaYomi siyum on Masechta Brachos on Thursday night can still RSVP and attend.

Another highlight at previous Dirshu Conventions has been Shabbos Mincha. During the course of Shabbos, all aliyos are given to the prominent roshei yeshiva and marbitzei Torah who attend the Shabbos.

There is only one aliyah that is sold on Shabbos and that is the aliyah of shelishi for kriyas haTorah of Mincha on Shabbos. Now, anyone familiar with Dirshu knows that the legal tender in Dirshu language is not dollar bills, but rather blatt Gemara. The aliyah is sold for dafim of Gemara! In the past, the coveted aliyah was bought by lomdei Dirshu for many thousands of blatt Gemara!

Following Mincha the climactic shalosh seudos is held, during which time all the men gather to sit together at this most hallowed time of Shabbos and hear divrei chizuk. Concurrently, there is a special ladies’ shalosh seudos program.

This year, shalosh seudos will be addressed by HaRav Yitzchok Zalman Gips, shlita, Rav of Khal Birkas Avrohom of Boro Park. Rav Gips is a popular Dirshu Amud HaYomi and Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggid shiur.

Shmuessen will be delivered by Rav Shlomo Eisenberger, Rav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz and Rav Moshe Benzion Weinberger, Rav of the Agudah of Flatbush.

“How Can I NOT Participate?!”

One prominent American Rosh Yeshiva put it succinctly, “How can I not participate at the Dirshu Convention?! This is an event with no agenda other than increasing limud haTorah - no political agenda, no fundraising or organizational agenda. It is, simply put, a celebration of dedication to learning. We are just coming to celebrate with Yidden who have invested days and nights over many years to learn, chazer and be tested. How can I not come?!”

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