z5By Chaim Gold

“It is the best yom tov gift that I could have gotten!” That is the way one prominent talmid chacham expressed his joy at the release of Chelek Vav of the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah. The release of the new volume of the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah this summer, before the onset of the Yomim Noraim and the Sukkos season, has been joyously greeted by the Torah community worldwide. Chelek Vav covers all of the yomim tovim including chol ha’moed, in addition to Tishah B’Av and Chanukah and Purim as well. The completion of this sixth chelek is a true milestone affording lomdei Torah access to the special qualities of the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah in all six volumes.

Another extremely important, groundbreaking addition to the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah is the copious diagrams throughout hilchos lulav. One of the most difficult aspects of learning the sixth chelek has always been the laws of the four species. It was often difficult for even an accomplished learner to comprehend the varied scenarios regarding the kashrus of a lulav, esrog, haddasim or aravos. The Dirshu Mishnah Berurah’s precise diagrams bring an entirely new dimension to learning these important halachos.

Contemporary Questions, Age-Old Rulings

Talmidei chachamim have come to see the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah as an indispensible sefer for modern-day halachic observance. In the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah one can learn the hallowed words of the Mishnah Berurah, absorb the foundations of halachah, and simultaneously reference all of the myriad contemporary sh’eilos that have cropped up since the Chofetz Chaim wrote the Mishnah Berurah more than 100 years ago. The Dirshu Biurim U’Musafim published opposite the Mishnah Berurah enables the learner to learn the halachah and look at the opposite page to see all of the relevant halachic rulings from the great poskim that came after the Mishnah Berurah, right through the poskim of our time.

Especially when it comes to the yomim tovim, there are so many new realities that have not specifically been discussed in the Mishnah Berurah. In the more than 700 pages packed with fascinating sh’eilos and cross-references, one can find questions, such as:

– Can one wear Crocs on Yom Kippur? On the one hand, they are more comfortable than most shoes; on the other hand they are not made of leather. What about fake leather shoes? Must one worry about the fact that people might mistakenly think you are wearing leather shoes?

– Are the gedolim pictures that people hang up in the sukkah muktzah?

– Can one use Krazy Glue to glue together a lulav whose middle leaf has split?

In addition, the new Dirshu Mishnah Berurah has nuggets that can shed light on practical halachah in Eretz Yisrael in our time. When the Chazon Ish and the Steipler Gaon came to Yerushalayim, at what point did they tear their clothing in mourning over the Churban Beis HaMikdash?

Why did the previous Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe close his eyes from the time he came to the Old City until he arrived at the Kotel?

Completing The Picture

The Biurim U’Musafim have become an indispensible tool in limud halachah for good reason. Every effort has been expended to maximize its benefit.

Two entire kollelim were established for the express purpose of compiling the Biurim U’Musafim section accompanying every page of the Mishnah Berurah. One of the kollelim is headed by one of the gedolei horaah in Eretz Yisrael, HaGaon HaRav Nosson Kopschitz, shlita, Rav of the Kehillas Hacharedim of Bet Shemesh. The purpose of the copious research was to give those learning Mishnah Berurah the most comprehensive picture possible of all the material pertaining to the applicable halachos.

The “Musafim” component adds the Mishnah Berurah’s own additional words and rulings culled from other areas on the subject at hand. For example, if the Mishnah Berurah, when expounding on the laws of Yom Kippur, discusses one topic at length, and in the laws of Tishah B’Av discusses the same topic in a shorter, less elaborate way, the Dirshu edition will bring the Mishnah Berurah’s words from the other location. This frequently sheds light on the halachic ruling and enables the learner to see how the Chofetz Chaim himself ruled on a similar matter in a different place.

Another component is that of the Biurim. Often, in the main body of the Mishnah Berurah the Chofetz Chaim only writes the actual p’sak halachah without giving the reasons behind that ruling. It is not uncommon however, for the Chofetz Chaim to elaborate on the reasoning in his commentaries, Shaar HaTziyun and Biur Halachah. These commentaries also present halachic rulings not contained in the Mishnah Berurah which shed insight on the topic at hand. In a wonderfully cogent, concise manner, the Biurim part of the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah cites these rulings, thereby offering the learner a quick, comprehensive listing of related halachic rulings and explanations from the Chofetz Chaim in his other sefarim.

Current Rulings

Perhaps the most exciting component of the new Dirshu Mishnah Berurah is the “Lekutei Teshuvos” section of the Biurim U’Musafim. The Chofetz Chaim completed the Mishnah Berurah in 1907. Over the past century, umpteen technological advances and countless questions relevant to today’s lifestyle have arisen. All of these rulings are of course rooted in the original words of the Shulchan Aruch and poskim. The Dirshu edition of the Mishnah Berurah brings literally thousands of rulings from the gedolei ha’poskim of the previous generation as well as from contemporary poskim, each in its proper place in the Mishnah Berurah. Therefore, while learning the words of the Mishnah Berurah, the learner is empowered with the ability to know and understand the rulings of the great poskim on thousands of modern practical questions. Even more important, he can learn and understand how these modern-day rulings have their source in the original words of the Shulchan Aruch and Mishnah Berurah.

The rulings included in the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah are from such revered poskim as Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky, the Tchebiner Rav, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky, the Steipler Gaon, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, zt’l, and even our current poskim, ybl”ch, Rav Shmuel Wosner, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, and Rav Nissim Karelitz, shlita. In addition, all of the Chazon Ish’s rulings that pertain to the words of the Mishnah Berurah are brought in the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah.

It is thus no wonder that in the few years since the Dirshu edition of the Mishnah Berurah burst onto the Torah scene it has won the hearts of lomdei Torah throughout the world. With the completion of Chelek Vav, Dirshu has brought yom tov to Klal Yisrael early this year! v


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