Imagine you are on a train, traveling toward your destination. You look to your right and see a fellow passenger. Attempting to be friendly, you ask him where he’s heading. He shrugs his shoulders and says, “I don’t know.” Confused, you ask again. He repeats, “I’m just riding the train. I don’t know where I’m going.” At this point, you begin to wonder if this guy is out of his mind. Who goes on a train without a destination in mind?

Program Designed with the Guidance of Poskei Hador, of Previous Generation, Rav Elyashiv, Rav Wosner and Rav Nissim Karelitz

It hasn’t happened in five years, but now it is happening. Dirshu is again opening registration for its highly successful Kinyan Halacha program, a five-year structured program wherein avreichim learn and are comprehensively tested on all the material in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De’ah required to obtain semicha along with select parts of Shulchan Orach Chaim. Those aspiring to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the sugyos and halachos learned for semicha, both in America and Eretz Yisrael, are applying for permission to enroll in the coveted program.

There was a peasant farmer in old Russia standing at the side of the road, weeping profusely. As he stood there, the Czar happened to pass by in his royal coach. The Czar saw the peasant, and when he noticed him weeping, he stopped his chariot to inquire what was wrong. The man tearfully explained that he had no land to farm, and thus he and his family were starving. The Czar, touched by this man’s misfortune, pulled out a stake from his chariot and drove it into the ground. He then gave the peasant three more stakes and instructed him: “Walk as far as you wish, and then drive this stake into the ground. Turn, walk again as far as you wish, and then place the next stake in the ground. Finally, turn again and walk as far as you’d like before placing the last stake in the ground. The land between the four stakes will be yours as a gift from me, the Czar.”

He had been controlling himself for so long, had come so far, but he just couldn’t hold himself back anymore. Everyone else was asleep, so no one else would even have to know. Internally, he was struggling, pulled in every direction, unable to make a decision. On the one hand, there was a convincing and confident voice persuading him to do it, to give in to the urge: “If you eat it, it will feel so good!” On the other hand, there was a quieter, more subtle voice attempting to use reason and judgment. “But this is ridiculous. It’s wrong, destructive, childish, just foolish. You’ve done this before, and hated yourself afterwards; you felt disgusted, ashamed. You know that you’ll feel the very same way in about five minutes if you do it again. This has never ended well for you.” As a bead of sweat drips down the side of his cheek and he stares at the chocolate cake, he tries to weigh his options.