By Chaim Gold
Sukkos Bein Ha’zemanim of 5775 may have represented a turning point in limud halacha. Some 14,000 people worldwide devoted time to learning the halachos of yeshivas sukkah in the Mishnah Berurah through Dirshu’s popular daf hayomi b’halacha l’bachurim program. The bein ha’zemanim program culminated with thousands across North America and Eretz Yisrael taking Dirshu tests on what they had learned during bein ha’zemanim. The tests were similar to the monthly tests taken by the thousands of Dirshu daf hayomi b’halacha participants.
“The feedback from bachurim who participated in the program was phenomenal,” said Dirshu’s North American director, Rabbi Ahron Gobioff. “One bachur told me, ‘For some reason I was never able to find a geshmak and develop a cheishek to learn halacha properly. This time, my bein ha’zemanim learning through the daily Dirshu Mishnah Berurah program with the special copy of Dirshu’s Mishnah Berurah on hilchos yeshivas sukkah made such a difference. In addition to learning Mishnah Berurah, the biurim u’musafim section featured so many common she’ilos. My chavrusa and I both found such chiyus in learning all of the common scenarios and their halachic conclusions.”
Pinchos B., another bachur who took part in the North American program for bachurim, related, “The fact that Dirshu published a special chazarah booklet for us, a booklet that featured all of the practical piskei halacha derived from the material, was a tremendous aid in chazarah. In addition, learning towards being tested created a sense of urgency and propelled us to spend our last week of bein hazemanim chazering everything we had learned. I can’t describe the tremendous sense of accomplishment that I felt when I handed in my test.”
Dual Mission Accomplished
When the idea to make a special daf hayomi b’halacha bein ha’zemanim program was proposed, the hanhalah of Dirshu, in consultation with prominent roshei yeshiva and maggidei shiur, set two primary goals. First was to offer bachurim a framework for learning during bein ha’zemanim that would simultaneously be enjoyable and practical while providing a structure to bein ha’zemanim so that all the gains made during Elul zeman would not chalilah be lost. The second goal was to familiarize bachurim with the world of practical limud halacha and especially with the learning of Mishnah Berurah, the sefer that has been accepted as the final authority on chelek Orach Chaim.
“The daf hayomi b’halacha program had its beginnings in the home of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt’l,” said Dirshu’s director of public affairs, Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein. “Before the daf hayomi b’halacha program started, Rav Elyashiv released an enthusiastic approbation, hailing the program and its daily schedule of learning practical halacha. Rav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, zt’l, and ybl’ch, Rav Nissim Karelitz, shlita, added their own signatures to Rav Elyashiv’s letter, urging the learning of Mishnah Berurah, which the Chazon Ish called “the poseik acharon for our times.”
A Foundation For Life
In addition to the goal of learning the practical halachos of Sukkos, familiarizing bachurim with learning Mishnah Berurah was also an important goal. The bachurim who participated will likely continue to learn halacha, thereby bringing practical halacha into their lives and eventually into the families that they will establish.
Rabbi Rozenstein points out that the bachurim program in Eretz Yisrael titled Kinyan Sukkah had many thousands of participants while the program in North America had an additional 2,000.
In America, the program started the day after Yom Kippur with pesicha shiurim delivered in more than 15 communities. “I was amazed to see how my talmidim who participated in the program connected with learning halacha,” exclaimed a prominent post-mesivta maggid shiur. “I hope this experience will lead them to establish a daily Mishnah Berurah learning session for themselves, such as Dirshu’s daf hayomi b’halacha, when they are older. After all, how can a person go through every day of life without realizing that virtually everything he does is dictated and defined by halacha? When a person lives with the Mishnah Berurah, he lives with the cognizance of Hashem’s presence in his life, every second!” concluded the maggid shiur.
Reaping The Benefits
The daf hayomi b’halacha program has reached the final stretch towards the upcoming first siyum on the entire Mishnah Berurah since its establishment some six years ago.
Over the past year, enrollment in the daf hayomi b’halacha has increased tremendously as more and more people are recognizing the value of investing 30—45 minutes into learning daf hayomi b’halacha. Yes, learning daf hayomi b’halacha requires an investment of time, but it is time well spent because the person who learns daf hayomi b’halacha day after day will know what he is obligated to do every minute of every day–morning through night, weekday, Shabbos, and yom tov.
As the program proceeds to completion, the number of participants is steadily rising. More and more people wish to join a true Klal Yisrael movement that wants nothing other than as many Jews as possible to learn and observe halacha without compromise.
The first siyum will iy’H be held at the end of March 2015, with large siyum celebrations all over the world. A special Dirshu Shabbos for North American participants will be held to mark the siyum with a similar Shabbos in England as well. Major siyumim will also be held in France and South Africa. The biggest celebration will be the massive gala first siyum of the daf hayomi b’halacha at the Nokia Yad Eliyahu Stadium in Tel Aviv, where more than 12,000 people are expected to gather in festivity.
Getting In On The
Recently, at a gathering of prominent Dirshu members held at the Prima Palace Hall in Yerushalayim, Dirshu’s nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, spoke of the milestone represented by the first daf hayomi b’halacha siyum of Mishnah Berurah: “I have always wondered if, 90 years ago, at the first Knessiah Gedolah when the daf hayomi of Bavli was first introduced, everyone immediately grabbed the opportunity. My guess is that there were many skeptics scoffing: ‘Who said it will succeed? People will start but eventually they will lose interest and it will be forgotten.’ And then there were those who were not deterred by the naysayers and the skeptics–and they were the ones who succeeded in making the daf hayomi into the worldwide success and overwhelming facilitator of limud haTorah on the grandest of scales that it has become.”
“Similarly, at the initiation of daf hayomi b’halacha, there were naysayers too, but over the past six years thousands have joined and there is still room for thousands more,” exclaimed Rav Hofstedter emotionally. “Let us think for a second. If you had asked someone 90 years ago, ‘Do you want to get in on the ground floor of the daf hayomi, in a way that all the hundreds of thousands of future learners will build their accomplishments in daily limud Gemara on your foundation?’”
The time to join the daf hayomi b’halacha is now! Joining this relatively new daf hayomi as the current participants embark on chelek vav is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor; it is an opportunity to join a program that will illuminate Klal Yisrael for generations to come and enrich them by bringing Hashem into their daily lives through observance of halacha.
Join now, before the siyum!
By Chaim Gold