Rav Akiva Schlesinger, shlita
Rav Akiva Schlesinger, shlita
Rav Akiva Schlesinger, shlita

By Chaim Gold

Dirshu’s daf hayomi b’halacha program of daily Mishnah Berurah learning is completing chelek hey of the Mishnah Berurah, the volume dealing with the laws of Pesach and the laws of yom tov. This milestone marks the beginning of chelek vav, the final volume of the Mishnah Berurah–propelling daf hayomi b’halacha to its first siyum on the entire Mishnah Berurah.

In the six years since its inception, daf hayomi b’halacha has evolved into a worldwide program, in which thousands of individuals throughout six continents are bringing halacha learning into their daily lives and taking tests on it to ensure accountability.

Daf hayomi b’halacha has spawned hundreds of daily shiurim in cities and communities in both mainstream and exotic locales. From Jewish metropolises such as Brooklyn, Lakewood, Yerushalayim, and Bnei Brak, to less travelled Jewish destinations like Kiev, Berlin, Portland, and Buenos Aires, daf hayomi b’halacha has been taking Klal Yisrael by storm. The daily halacha program has been ensuring that Jews world over are cognizant of Hashem in every action done throughout the day to make sure that it is in consonance with halacha, thereby arousing the incomparable berachah of Chazal that teaches, “He who learns halachos every day is assured a place in olam ha’ba.”

Dirshu and daf hayomi b’halacha span the entire world. Last year, Dirshu celebrated its world siyum haShas in Yerushalayim and, recently, Dirshu celebrated its Shabbos kinnus olam haTorah for the American Dirshu community. Now Europe, too, is having a major event–a large-scale siyum on chelek hey of Mishnah Berurah to pay tribute to the accomplishments of lomdei Dirshu, particularly those participating in the daf hayomi b’halacha program. The siyum is scheduled for December 23 at the Finchley Synagogue in London, and promises to bring together the Torah communities of London, Manchester, and Gateshead, as well as contingents from France, Belgium, and Switzerland.

The celebration will be attended by numerous gedolei rabbanim representing the entire cross-section of the community and will also be graced by some 15 daf hayomi b’halacha maggidei shiur from London, Manchester, Gateshead, Paris, and Antwerp.

The keynote address will be given by Rav Shmuel Akiva Schlesinger, shlita, rav of the City of Strasbourg, France, and a powerful, eloquent speaker whose inspiring derashos leave an indelible impact on his listeners.

The well-known maggid Rav Paysach J. Krohn is flying in for this event, and will give a major address. Rav Dovid Hofstedter, the Nasi of Dirshu, will also be participating.

Hundreds of Dirshu participants throughout Europe take monthly tests, in addition to the few hundred participants in Dirshu’s numerous daf hayomi b’halacha shiurim. They have joined together with thousands of others amongst Klal Yisrael in bringing practical halacha into their lives.

The host city for the siyum, London, is no stranger to Dirshu celebrations. A number of years ago, a massive Dirshu siyum was held at the Yesodei HaTorah Hall there and was addressed by Rav Ephraim Padwa, shlita, Rav of the Charedi Kehilla; Dayan Aharon Dovid Dunner, shlita; and the special guest speaker from Eretz Yisrael, Rav Asher Weiss, shlita, rosh kollel of Machon Minchas Osher L’Torah V’Horaah.

At that time, Dayan Dunner passionately addressed how vitally important it is for each individual to have a seder hayom, a daily learning schedule, that enables him to maximize his time and his sipuk hanefesh, his spiritual satisfaction from learning, and how Dirshu’s programs are tailor-made to aid in reaching this vital goal.

Rabbi Avigdor Berenstein, a senior member of Dirshu’s hanhalah, explained, “Chelek hey in the Mishnah Berurah is a section of which lomdei halacha with limited time often choose to learn only the seemingly more relevant halachos. Many of the important simanim which, on the surface, seem to either be very intricate or not as relevant to our times, have until now been neglected by many. Countless individuals suffice with learning the beginning of chelek hey, which deals with the halachos of bedikas chametz and biur chametz, and then skip over to the Seder night, thus missing numerous vital halachos. There are the halachos of taaruvos chametz, the halachos of what one must do if, G-d forbid, he finds chametz in his house on Pesach; there are the halachos of kashering keilim, baking matzos and the list goes on . . . The halachos of yom tov are also among the most intricate halachos, especially the numerous fine differences between the halachos of yom tov and Shabbos.

“What has happened is a revolution. The thousands of Dirshu daf hayomi b’halacha participants didn’t just learn these areas perfunctorily. They learned them and reviewed them together with the Dirshu biurim u’musafim that depicts hundreds of modern-day scenarios that emanate from these halachos and they were tested on all of them! They have brought so much more halacha into their lives. They have brought Hashem in, invited Hashem, as it were, into their yom tov, into their Pesach in an unprecedented way.”

Several years ago, the Posek Hador, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt’l, encouraged the hanhalah of Dirshu to create halacha programs whereby lomdei Torah would be encouraged to learn, understand, and know halacha l’ma’aseh, practical halacha. Over the course of the past six years, lomdei Dirshu in its kinyan halacha and daf hayomi b’halacha programs have followed through on Rav Elyashiv’s guidance and have wrought a transformation in the Torah world. Before long, Klal Yisrael will be enriched with thousands of new beki’im in all six volumes of Mishnah Berurah!

Rav Mordechai Gifter, zt’l, the legendary rosh yeshiva of Telshe Yeshiva, grew up in America of the early 20th Century. While many were running away from Yiddishkeit, he embraced limud haTorah and went on to become a gadol hador. As a young bachur, he decorated both the left and right sides of his yeshiva dormitory room walls with pictures of Gedolei Yisrael with handwritten captions underneath the names. In the middle, he left an empty space with the telling caption, “Why not you?” This pushed him to learn with hasmadah, to review and to know.

Those who have not yet joined daf hayomi b’halacha have the opportunity, with as minimal an investment as a half hour a day, to join the movement that is transforming the lives of Yidden the world over. We can quote Rav Gifter and ask the resounding question, “Why not you?”

To join daf hayomi b’halacha’s daily learning of one amud a day of Mishnah Berurah, and to receive calendars and/or shiurim locations, please call 888-5-Dirshu or e-mail info@kolleldirshu.org. v

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