By Chaim Gold
Selichos is upon us, Rosh Hashanah is around the corner. It is a time for introspection, and tefillah. Moreover, it is the week of the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrzeit. Perhaps there is no person in recent generations to whom we owe more spiritual hakaras hatov, than the Chofetz Chaim, who bestowed upon us, the twin berachos of the Mishnah Berurah and the Sefer Chofetz Chaim, sefarim that illuminate our spiritual lives every single day of the year.
In recent years, the week of the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrzeit has been marked with remarkable achdus as Klal Yisrael the world over engaged in an ‘International Yom Limud and Tefillah’. Jews throughout the world gathered to recite specific chapters of tehillim and learn segments from the two seminal sefarim written by the Chofetz Chaim, the Mishnah Berurah and the Sefer Chofetz Chaim.
The Yom Limud and Tefillah, under the auspices of Dirshu and its kiruv arm, Acheinu, is designed to reach out with a message of achdus to all Jews from across the spectrum and at all levels of observance, promoting Torah learning and tefillah.
Countering Danger With Unified Tefillah
There is so much strife in the world, so much danger as countries threaten each other and natural disasters strike. There is so much polarization and heated rhetoric. The Yom Limud and Tefillah has been designated as a day of remarkable unity, a day when all Jews will learn the sefarim of the Chofetz Chaim and make a special effort to avoid discord, lashon ha’ra as well as any form of gossip, thereby combining sur mei ra with aseh tov.
This year’s Yom Limud and Tefillah is the fourth such event. Over the past three years, more than one million Yidden across the world participated in this auspicious day.
This year, too, Jews from all walks of life, spanning five continents will gather together on Friday, 27 Elul/September 7th to invoke rachmei shomayim in advance of the approaching Rosh Hashanah.
From skyscrapers in Manhattan, to classrooms in Texas; from the Kosel Hamaaravi to Teveria; from Melbourne, Australia, to Buenos Aries, Argentina, Yidden will come together to recite Tehillim and learn the sefarim of the Chofetz Chaim, whose yahrzeit is marked that week, while resolving to follow the hallowed path which he forged.
In Eretz Yisrael, hundreds of chadorim and Bais Yaakovs plan to participate, while throughout the diverse communities from across the United States and Canada, a wide range of more than forty schools that truly represent the entire panoply of Orthodox Jewry have signed up for the Yom Limud and Tefillah school programs. They included schools hailing from communities such as Monsey, NY, Lakewood, NJ, Brooklyn, NY, Manhattan, NY, Toronto, Canada, Houston, TX, Baltimore, MD, Cleveland, OH, Waterbury, CN, Phoenix, AZ, Passaic, NJ, Denver, CO, Boston, MA, and Los Angeles, CA.
Dirshu has prepared special, age-appropriate material for schools to bring the message and legacy of the Chofetz Chaim to life. The three different booklets, which will be distributed to participating boys’ and girls’ schools across the United States and Canada, have been specifically designed for three age groups: grades 1-3, 4-6 and 7-8. The booklets contain age-appropriate halachos from both the sefer Chofetz Chaim and Mishnah Berurah, inspirational and educational stories about the Chofetz Chaim, as well as age-appropriate, biographical material about the Chofetz Chaim and his life’s mission. The booklets are available in both English and Yiddish, thereby enabling each school to participate b’achdus in accordance with their mesorah. The schools will also say tehillim on behalf of Klal Yisrael and the tefillah of ‘Acheinu Kol Bais Yisrael’.
The Massive Gathering At The Kosel
One of the highlights of the Yom Limud and Tefillah will be a major tefillah gathering at the Kosel Hamaaravi led by numerous Gedolei Yisrael. The event at the Kosel that will begin with recitation of Selichos followed by vasikin tefillas Shacharis and special tefillos on behalf of Klal Yisroel. This incredible event of achdus where yidden from all walks of life led by gedolim representing the entire cross-section of Torah Jewry will come together in tefillah, k’ish echad b’lev echad, will be live-streamed in America on Thursday night, September 6 at 11 p.m., EDT
Aside from the event at the Kosel where many thousands are expected to attend, large tefillah gatherings will be held at other mekomos hakedoshim in Eretz Yisrael as well. Prominent among them will be special gatherings in Meron at the kever of Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai, Kever Rochel, the shul of the Ari Hakadosh in Tzefas and the storied Churva Shul in the Old City of Yerushalayim.
Businesses Take A Break For Klal Yisrael
Another important component to the Yom Limud and Tefillah is the fact that many frum-owned businesses with multitudes of employees have similarly pledged to take a few minutes on Friday 27 Elul/September 7, a busy workday, to participate in the davening and learning to mark the Yom Limud and Tefillah.
The effort to go well beyond the Torah observant community and to encourage Jewish Unity among the masses is being spearheaded by the Acheinu organization, the kiruv arm of Dirshu.
Last year, that effort was remarkably well received by secular Jews. In fact, this idea of the importance of Jewish Unity was even picked up by the secular press. Articles about the importance of the Day of Jewish Unity that coincides with the yahrzeit of the Chofetz Chaim appeared in numerous general publications such as Fox News, the Washington Times, the Huffington Post, the American Thinker, and the Jerusalem Post.
Tapping Into The Eis Ratzon
Every thinking Jew can’t fail to realize that we are living in truly perilous times. Even in the United States there is a certain sense of instability as the harsh political strife and extraordinary, mean-spiritedness has reached unprecedented levels. There is civil unrest and the threat of terrorism at home and abroad, that can have severe ramifications.
At this uncertain juncture we are in dire need of tremendous rachmei shomayim. Now, right before the yom hadin is the time to join together with untold numbers of Jews all over the world to daven for Klal Yisrael. The week of the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrzeit is also an exceedingly auspicious time to invoke Divine mercy.
Join with Klal Yisrael in the Yom Limud and Tefillah this Friday, 27 Elul/September 7, 2018, and tap into this unique eis ratzon!
To have your shul, school, or office participate, please call Dirshu at 732-987-3948, ext. 112.