By
Chaim Gold
May 24, 2024

“When Eliyahu Hanavi Will Come, The First Thing He Will Demand is Shabbos!”

A Clarion Call for Shemiras Shabbos from the Home of HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, Shlita

It was a small meeting in the home of Rav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, but one that is destined to make a big, massive, transformative change in Klal Yisrael.

Last week, a delegation of prominent Rabbanim in Lakewood led by HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Meir Katz, shlita, senior dayan and posek of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, gathered in the home of HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mesivta of Lakewood and Telshe, to discuss and strategize on how to stir more awareness of the imperative to learn hilchos Shabbos. The laws of Shabbos encompass so many areas of daily life and if a person doesn’t make an effort to learn them properly and comprehensively, even if he is a “shomer Shabbos,” he will sadly not be able to properly be shomer the Shabbos. He and his family will inadvertently transgress multiple halachos.

The meeting was also graced by the Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita, who pledged to utilize Dirshu’s worldwide network to help facilitate greater awareness of the imperative to learn and know hilchos Shabbos.

Among the other Rabbanim in attendance were, HaRav Moshe Chaim Kahn, Rav of the Willam Street shul and dayan in Beth Medrash Govoha, HaRav Moshe Zev Feldman, dayan in Beth Medrash Govoha, HaRav Dovid Merling, Rav of Khal Zichron Yaakov, HaRav Eliezer Ralbag, Rav of the Lakewood Courtyard Shul, HaRav Chaim Weg, Rosh Kollel Bais Havaad and Rav of the Sunset Grove community, HaRav Yisrael Zucker, Rav of Khal Ner Avrohom and a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Maggid shiur at Beth Medrash Govoha, HaRav Chanoch Saltz, dayan at the Beis Horaah of Lakewood, and numerous others,

Imagine Hearing that You Have Been Mechallel Every Single Shabbos!!

With a tinge of sadness in his voice, Rav Hofstedter commented, “Imagine what happens after 120 years of life. A frum Yid comes up to shomayim and is asked, ‘Were you a shomer Shabbos?’ His answer? ‘Of course, I was a shomer Shabbos! I am a frum person….’ Imagine if the Beis Din Shel Maalah then answers, “But you have not kept one Shabbos in your entire life! Without realizing it, you have been mechallel Shabbos every Shabbos!”

Rav Yitzchok Sorotzkin added, “I would like to share a chiddush that I heard in the name of the Chofetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim said that it is a davar barrur, something as clear as day, that when Eliyahu Hanavi comes to herald the coming of Moshiach, the first thing he will muhn, the first thing he will demand will be an accounting for shemiras Shabbos!”

Rav Sorotzkin then continued, “The Chofetz Chaim said that there is virtually no one who can say, ‘I am a shomer Shabbos k’halacha. Certainly, if you are not a talmid chochom, you cannot make such a claim. If you are a talmid chochom it is your responsibility to make your friends and neighbors aware that one must learn hilchos Shabbos if he wants to truly keep Shabbos!”

Rav Sorotzkin’s wordshighlighted the purpose of the gathering in his home - to try devising ways to encourage the learning of hilchos Shabbos.

When the numerous Rabbanim sitting at the table were asked for advice on how to arouse this awareness, there were several responses.

What was clear from all of the Rabbanim is that it was tremendously important to seize the opportunity presented by the fact that the popular Dirshu Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program will begin hilchos Shabbos this coming Shavuos, as the program embarks on Chelek Gimmel of the Mishnah Berurah.

If a person starts learning hilchos Shabbos with the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha this coming Shavuos, he will complete hilchos Shabbos within a year and a half. Can we even begin to imagine how many mitzvos assei’s and lo saseis he will have saved himself from transgressing just by dedicating a half hour per day to learning hilchos Shabbos?

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

Rav Eliezer Ralbag, made a profound point. He said, this year is an especially auspicious time to start learning hilchos Shabbos. Why? Because the Amud HaYomi is also currently learning Masechta Shabbos. Many tens of thousands of people across the globe have been investing heart and soul into learning Masechta Shabbos. They have recently learned about hotzaah, carrying on Shabbos, about cooking and baking on Shabbos, about insulating food on Shabbos… they are already familiar with the sugyos. “What an amazing opportunity for them to take it to the next level and learn the actual halachic outcome. All their knowledge of the masechta will give them so much more clarity! It would almost be a shame not to follow through!”

Rav Chaim Weg, added that indeed, he has repeatedly seen that when a person who learns the halachos is actually familiar with the sugyos in the Gemara, the halacha becomes so much clearer and relevant to him, it becomes “lichtig!”

Rav Dovid Hofstedter then reminisced about his years as a yeshiva bachur in Eretz Yisrael. “I learned in Yeshiva Bais Hatalmud of Yerushalayim when Rav Dov Schwartzman was the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Moshe Shapiro was a maggid shiur and yblch, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Feldman, shlita, today, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Ner Yisrael of Baltimore, was the mashgiach. One winter zeman we learned Masechta Shabbos. I remember Rav Aharon Feldman urging us all to simultaneously learn hilchos Shabbos, saying, ‘You already learned the sugyos, you understand the underpinnings of the halacha, if you learn the halachos now, you will find it so geshmak and will gain so much!’”

Shabbos, the Mekor of Bracha and the Height of Shemirah

After much discussion, Rav Yitzchok Sorotzkin and the other Rabbanim agreed that it is important that Rabbanim in kehillos the world over should devote time on this coming Parshas Bechukosai to encourage their kehillah members to make a kabbalah to learn hilchos Shabbos with a plan.

There is no better opportunity than to be mekabel Shabbos on Shavuos, the day of Kabbolas HaTorah! On Shavuos, the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha will begin learning hilchos Shabbos, what an amazing zechus!  

It is for this very reason that a massive gathering at the Prudential Center in Newark just three days before Shavuos, on 3 Sivan/ June 9 has been planned, to mark the haschala of hilchos Shabbos and get as many people to join as possible, and make this kabbolla before kabollas HaTorah.

The reason for the large gathering in the Prudential Center is that nothing is too much when it comes to encouraging the limud of hilchos Shabbos. Shabbos is the mekor habracha and the greatest shemirah.

Dirshu is also making hundreds of new shiurim in hilchos Shabbos available in shuls all over the world. There are also many audio and digital options to hear shiurim daily from the most gifted maggidei shiur in the world.

Today, Klal Yisrael finds itself in an extremely precarious situation from within and without, both in Eretz Yisrael and the diaspora. We desperately need bracha and shemirah and Shabbos can provide both!

Let us answer the call of the Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbanim. Let’s be Mekabel Shabbos -- K’Hilchaso!

For reservations and more information, please contact: 929-522-1121 or visit DirshuSiyum.org.

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