Gedolei Yisrael Urge Learning of Masechta Shabbos and Hilchos Shabbos in Dirshu’s Amud HaYomi and Halacha Programs
“The Gemara teaches that if Klal Yisrael would keep two Shabbosos the geulah would come immediately. Perhaps we can say that this refers to the learning of both Masechta Shabbos and hilchos Shabbos,” said HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Chevron, to a delegation of senior members of hanhalas Dirshu led by Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter who recently met with him in his home in Yerushalayim.
It was Rav Dovid Cohen who, even before the Amud HaYomi’s inception, ardently hailed the establishment of the program because he presciently saw that it would address an important need and fill a void for Klal Yisrael.
“Even I was Surprised by the Way Amud HaYomi has Conquered the Hearts and Minds of Klal Yisrael!”
Rav Cohen has been a major advocate of the program since its inception and has enthusiastically hailed Dirshu’s Iyun Ha’Amud booklets that infuse the Amud HaYomi with a unique geshmak in learning by endowing the Amud HaYomi learner with many of the foundational aspects of each sugya’s lomdus in a user-friendly way.
He explained that the limud established by Rav Meir Shapiro for Klal Yisrael is extremely necessary because by nature, every person needs a mechayev and a framework that obligates him and enables him to learn with a plan, in an orderly manner. Otherwise, one’s daily obligations get in the way and rob him of learning time. In Rav Meir Shapiro’s generation, people had more time for learning. They would spend hours every day in the shteibel and the Daf HaYomi was therefore an ideal limud. Today, people are much busier with the overwhelming obligations of everyday life and need a limud with more geshmak to engage them. Even bnei Torah need a certain geshmak to enable them to sustain their goals in bekiyus. The Amud HaYomi program, which gives a person more time to cultivate a real geshmak in learning, addresses all these needs. “That is why I encourage it,” Rav Cohen explained.
He added, “That being said, even I was surprised by the way it has conquered the hearts and minds of Klal Yisrael in such a short time! I can tell you,” he told Rav Hofstedter, “this is just the beginning. You will see in the future how many more people will upgrade their limud haTorah by joining the program and how it will literally take over Klal Yisrael.”
Masechta Shabbos Plus Hilchos Shabbos Equals a Golden Opportunity!
The Dirshu delegation also met with HaGaon HaRav Reuven Elbaz, shlita, Rosh Yeshivat Ohr Hachaim and a member of the Shas Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah. Rav Elbaz focused on what he called “a golden opportunity” for lomdei Torah.
“I think,” he said, “that the fact that the Amud HaYomi is about to start Masechta Shabbos and that the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha will begin hilchos Shabbos in a few months 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! It is amazing how Dirshu has ‘set the table’ for the lomdim by producing such wonderful sefarim. Their Iyun Ha’Amud booklets enables lomdim to easily access and understand the underpinnings of the sugya and the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah 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.
HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, Rosh Yeshiva at the Mirrer Yeshiva and one of the elder Roshei Yeshiva of the generation, was simply amazed as he perused the Iyun Ha’Amud booklet, exclaiming, “Moiredig! Moiredig!”
He then expressed his fervent hope that the pace and schedule of the Amud HaYomi would give the learners a true geshmak in iyun, while enabling them to cover ground and complete masechtos on schedule. Indeed, Rav Yitzchok himself is scheduled to travel to Argentina where hundreds of lomdim have joined the Amud HaYomi program, to participate in the Amud HaYomi siyum on Masechta Brachos there.
“We are Living in Yemos HaMashiach!”
One of the most gratifying aspects of the Amud HaYomi is the way it has brought entire kehillos together, on the same page, literally! One such kehillah is Khal Adas Yerushalayim commonly known as Kehillas Hamasmidim led by Rav Elimelech Mintzberg. The kehillah has thriving branches in Yerushalayim, Bet Shemesh, Modiin Illit, Beitar and other places. The kehillah decided to adopt the Amud HaYomi as their official limud and soon, tens of shiurim will be established in each of their centers. Both kollel yungeleit and baalei battim are learning the Amud HaYomi. The kollel yungeleit have added it to their regular kollel schedule and the baalei battim had adopted it as their main limud.
At an event held together with senior members of Kehillas Hamasmidim and its Amud HaYomi Maggidei shiur, Rav Mintzberg spoke passionately about the limud haTorah revolution that he has witnessed in the kehillah since the Amud HaYomi began the cycle with Masechta Brachos on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan.
“I feel,” he said, “that if my father, Rav Leibel Mintzberg who led the kehillah for decades, would be here, he would say that we are living in yemos haMashiach! Wherever I go I see our baalei battim and avreichim deeply immersed in the limud, learning, chazering and taking tests in a way that we have never witnessed before. Yes, yemos haMashiach is an age when everyone has the ability to become a talmid chochom! That is what I am seeing today in our kehillah. Everyone is so taken up with the limud. There are no words to describe our profound gratitude to Dirshu for being the catalyst for this revolution!”
The Antidote to The Difficulties of Galus
In his remarks at the Masmidim event, Rav Dovid Hofstedter noted the darkness of the galus in which we find ourselves and the difficult times facing Jews both in Eretz Yisrael and throughout the entire world.
“Hashem has given us the antidote to combat the difficulties of galus!”he exclaimed. “He has given us special siyatta d’Shmaya, He has endowed Klal Yisrael with the Amud HaYomi and the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. Even within this terrible galus Hashem has shown us ha’aras ponim. The way Klal Yisrael has embraced this limud, the night kollelim, the different programs in various kehillos where tens of thousands have immersed themselves in this limud and are taking tests, show how Hashem has sent us this antidote! Torah protects and Shabbos protects.”
The Largest Beis Medrash in the World!
Rav Aryeh Zilberstein, one of Dirshu’s most successful maggidei shiur, has hundreds listening to his Amud HaYomi shiur in person and many thousands throughout the world listening to the recordings of his shiurim. He inherited the clear, eloquent powers of elucidation from his illustrious father, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita.
At a special gathering for Amud HaYomi maggidei shiur, Rav Zilberstein said, “We are part of what is certainly the largest beis medrash in the entire world! This beis medrash encompasses many tens of thousands of people who are learning the Amud HaYomi. Yes, everyone may, in practice, be learning in his own local beis medrash, but we are all connected. The Gemara teaches that the more people who learn together, the greater hashraas haShechina there is. I think,” Rav Zilberstein proclaimed, “this amazing new Amud HaYomi program brings the Shechina and so much bracha because, by its very nature, it pushes the lomed to keep on learning. It is relentless, yet doable. The monthly tests that create a tremendous feeling of obligation to not only learn the amud well, but to review it repeatedly until it is so clear in one’s mind that one can take a test on it.”
Indeed, the siyum on Masechta Brachos and the beginning of Masechta Shabbos will coincide this year with Dirshu’s Annual Convention this coming weekend of Shabbos Parashas Tetzaveh, February 22-25, in Stamford, Connecticut, to be graced by leading Gedolei Yisrael who will impart chizuk and guidance.