What does Dirshu do to celebrate the tremendous milestone of completing an entire chelek of Mishnah Berurah during an era of Corona restrictions?
They do things the way Dirshu always does things! They work with the circumstances in a way that is sensitive to public health and government regulations while simultaneously going out of their way to convey their admiration for lomdei Torah and give chizuk
Recently, lomdei Dirshu marked the great milestone of completing Chelek Hei of Mishnah Berurah. Completing Chelek Hei of Mishnah Berurah, which covers the complex halachos of Pesach and the oft neglected halachos of Yom Tov, is a tremendous achievement! Dirshu felt compelled to celebrate the achievements of its myriad lomdei halacha, who invest so much time and effort each day to fulfill the dictum of Chazal of “Kol hashoneh halachos b’chol yom muvtach she’hu ben Olam Habaah.”
Throughout the ups and downs of the global, terrible pandemic, which brought the world to a standstill, Dirshu learners and test takers, continued unabated. Often, learning was done by phone or zoom and in each locale, tests were taken in various innovative ways and venues. “In fact,” said Dirshu hanhalah member Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein, “During the pandemic we needed the zechusim of limud haTorah even more and our lomdim didn’t disappoint!”
Rabbi Rozenstein continued, “Under normal circumstances, Dirshu would have made a large gathering were many thousands would have come together to celebrate this milestone. Instead, scores of siyumim were held in Eretz Yisrael in many different cities, most outdoors and all in a socially distanced, compliant way.”
Numerous Siyumim; One Achievement!
One of the moving siyumim was the one held in the Old City of Yerushalayim where HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, shlita, venerated Rosh Yeshiva at the Mirrer Yeshiva, addressed a joint siyum for the four Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiurim that are held daily in the Old City. The achdus of Yidden of all types and stripes combined with the simcha of Torah and unity was palpable.
There were tens of other siyumim led by Gedolei Torah and horaah, many of them Daf haYomi B’Halacha maggidei shur.
Prominent among them was the siyum led by Rav Sariel Rosenberg, Rav of the Ramat David neighborhood of Bnei Brak and Av Beis Din of the Beis Din founded by HaGaon HaRav Nissim Karelitz, zt”l. Rav Rosenberg has been delivering a very well attended Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiur virtually since the inception of the program. In his remarks, Rav Rosenberg focused on the idea of kevius, the fact that the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha never stops. He praised the shiur members for their mesiras nefesh to maintain that kevius, despite the very difficult period of the pandemic. The shiur continued in various venues and variations, whether by phone, outdoors, and in anyway possible to safely continue so that lomdei halacha would continue to learn halacha each and every day. Rav Rosenberg also focused his remarks on the tremendous importance of learning halacha with a plan. He said, “It is impossible to be an observant Jew without making the learning of halacha a regular part of life.”
Another moving siyum on Chelek Hei, led by Rav Yehuda Aryeh Dunner, Rav of Central Bnei Brak, was also attended by Rav Meir Nankenski, Rav of the Beis Haknesses Hagadol of Bnei Brak where numerous Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiurim are held.
Rav Dunner’s shiur was one that similarly managed to continue throughout the difficult days of the Coronavirus. In the early days of the pandemic, Rav Dunner established an outdoor Corona minyan in the courtyard of his apartment building. That minyan continues until today and being that it was an outdoor location, the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiur was able to continue throughout. There was only a short period of time when they were forced to have the shiur via telephone. The siyum was held in the courtyard of Rav Dunner’s home. The atmosphere was permeated by a tangible simcha at the accomplishment of completing Chelek Hei and over the zechus that even in these difficult days, it was possible to hold a siyum celebrating the accomplishments of the members of the shiur. Many of whom persevered and never even missed a monthly test!
Among the various siyumim was the siyum for the French-speaking shiur in Bnei Brak by Rav Yehoshua Barchatz, Rav of a kehillah of French expatriates and Rosh Kollel of Kollel Eitz Chaim. That siyum was graced by Rav Shevach Rosenblatt, Rav and Av Beis Din of Bnei Brak, who delivered enthusiastic words of chizuk.
In Lieu of a Siyum: L’Chaim!
Aside from the numerous siyumim across the length and breadth of Eretz Yisrael - from Tzefas in the North to Ofakim in the South of the country, Dirshu wanted to show every member of a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiur in Eretz Yisrael how much they value their efforts and perseverance. They therefore sent a bottle of wine with a beautiful letter of chizuk signed by leading Gedolei Hador to each shiur participant. In this way, even if they were unable to attend a siyum due to Corona restrictions, they could at least hold a l’chaim and receive chizuk from the words of the Gedolim, that was enclosed.
In Yerushalayim, additional siyumim were held in Nevei Yaakov, led by Rav Yisrael Yitzchok Silberman, Rav of Nevei Yaakov, and in Bayit Vegan led by famed Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggid shiur, Rav Avrohom Weg, Rav of the Minyan Avreichim Shul.
In Modiin Illit, as well, a siyum was held by the shiur of Rav Yitzchok Luxenberg, Rav of the Neot Simcha neighborhood. With the advent of learning Chelek Vav in the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha cycle, Rav Luxenberg is poised to complete his second machzor as a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggid shiur. Rav Sariel Rosenberg came from Bnei Brak to participate and address the siyum. A drasha was also given by Rav Moshe Yosef Rizel, Rav of Kehillas Ketzos Hachoshen.
One of the most notable and beautiful aspects of all the siyumim was the phenomenal achdus that was present in every location. Dirshu and Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is a tremendous unifying force with Ashkenazim, Sefardim, Chassidim and the Yeshiva World all coming together under one banner, the banner of Torah and halacha. The siyum in Tzefas was a microcosm of this. The Rav of the city, Rav Mordechai Dov Kaplan, who is also a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggid shiur, participated along with Rav Eliezer Ernster, the Chassidic Rav of Kehillas Me’or Chaim; Rav Aryeh Faivelson, one of the prominent Litvishe Rabbanim; the Erlauer Rebbe of Tzefas and Rabbanim from Sefardic community.
Another wonderful development was the fact that in honor of the beginning of Chelek Vav, Dirshu distributed Chelek Vav, the final volume of the Mishnah Berurah to hundreds of shiurim across the country.
As Klal Yisrael begins the last chelek of Mishnah Berurah on its way to the completion of Machzor Sheini, Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners in six continents are embarking on the last leg of a seven-year journey of daily halacha, a journey that is having a transformative impact on them and all of Klal Yisrael.
By Chaim Gold