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10 Av 5764 - July 28, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











22nd Annual Mifal HaShas Gathering
by A. Cohen

Gedolei Yisroel called for increased Torah study as a response to the harsh decrees on the Torah world during the 22nd Annual Nesius Meeting of the Worldwide Mifal HaShas, held this year at the home of HaRav Gershon Edelstein, one of the roshei yeshivos at Yeshivas Ponovezh in Bnei Brak. "Increasing the light of Torah is the most gainful response to all of the decrees seeking to constrain and bring about the collapse of the yeshiva world, chas vesholom, and in the merit of the Torah their aims will not be achieved."

Headed by HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, HaRav Nissim Karelitz and the Admor of Tzanz, other participants at the meeting included HaRav Shaul Alter, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Sfas Emes; HaRav Yitzchok Bartler, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Itri; HaRav Menachem Tzvi Berlin, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Chaim Ozer; HaRav Avrohom Genichovsky, one of the roshei yeshivos of Yeshivas Tchebin; HaRav Yisroel Grossman, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Pinsk Karlin; HaRav Nosson Geshtetner, gavad of Kiryat Agudas Yisroel in Bnei Brak and rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponim Meiros; HaRav Tzvi Drabkin, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Grodna- Be'er Yaakov; HaRav Michel Zilber, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Zevihl; HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, rov of Ramat Elchonon, HaRav Amram Zacks, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Slobodka; HaRav Yosef Lieberman, rosh kollel of Kollel Shomrei Hachomos; HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky, one of the roshei yeshivos of Yeshivas Ponovezh; HaRav Chaim Feinstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Beis Yehuda; HaRav Menashe Klein, gavad of Ungvar; HaRav Ephraim Fishel Rabinowitz, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Boyan; HaRav Tzvi Rotberg, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Beis Meir; HaRav Nachum Rothstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Nezer HaTorah; and HaRav Eliyohu Shmuel Schmerler, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Tzanz.

Opening remarks were made by the host, HaRav Gershon Edelstein. "It is hard to speak about such a matter as the honor and importance of the Torah, particularly Mifal HaShas," said HaRav Edelstein. "Just as we see the tremendous success among the large number of bochurim and avreichim tested through Mifal HaShas, particularly during the recent period when Torah knowledge has weakened . . . Many of those tested achieve increased knowledge of Torah and this is kovod haTorah. How can one speak about this and praise it when words fail--devar sfosayim ach lemachsor?" He closed with a blessing, asking HaKodosh Boruch Hu to help the organization to continue its success.

HaRav Shteinman spoke briefly, saying sefer Devorim begins with reproach and ends with Zos Habrochoh, "for through Torah learning and repetition and review, curses are transformed into blessings . . . "

The Admor of Tzanz began by extending blessings to the Nesius before surveying the accomplishments and growth of Mifal HaShas, citing successes such as Dirshu, which tests thousands of bnei Torah on the Daf Yomi, and Shaarei Horo'oh, which tests thousands of avreichim on horo'oh. "And if Mifal HaShas had the financial means it could increase the number of participants dramatically, but the lack of funding hinders this, and the gedolei Torah assembled here are asking that blessings be given to this holy enterprise to allow it to bear the heavy burden, for it has a uniqueness and takes priority. The difficult state of all Torah institutions is known to all and everybody has an obligation to bolster support for Torah institutions, and Mifal HaShas among those, so that it may expand and support hundreds of additional bnei Torah knocking on its doors asking to join."

The gathering was led by the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Tzanz, HaRav Eliyohu Shmuel Schmerler, who said hundreds of new lomdim joined Mifal HaShas this year even though stipends are not currently available due to the difficult financial situation. He mentioned the names of several gedolei Torah who passed away over the past year including HaRav Boruch Rosenberg, rosh yeshiva of Slobodka and a member of the Mifal HaShas Nesius, HaRav Sender Freund, HaRav Gedaliah Nadel and the Admor of Rachmastrivka, zt"l. He also read aloud letters from HaRav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg and the Admor of Erlau who were unable to participate.

Later the gathering focused on the presentation of a detailed report on the past year at Mifal HaShas and an involved discussion on the program of study, review and tests planned for 5765. Eventually it was decided that participants in the 30-daf per month program would study masechtos Beitzoh, Yevomos, Kesuvos, Chagigah and Taanis, while participants in the 20-daf per month program would complete maseches Gittin and then continue with Kiddushin and Bovo Kammo. In the Horo'oh - Shas and Poskim division, scholars in the Even Ha'ezer program would continue from Siman 67, Hilchos Kesuvos Vegittin with the Pischei Teshuvoh, including the sugyos from the Shas that apply to the halochos being studied. Participants in the Orach Chaim program will study Hilchos Yom Tov and Hilchos Pesach, including the Mishnoh Berurah, Biyur Halochoh and Shulchan Oruch HaRav.

The gathering closed with inspiring words from HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky, one of the roshei yeshivos at Yeshivas Ponovezh, who mentioned the great merit of the Admor of Tzanz in founding Mifal HaShas Worldwide and it is known as his accomplishment, "much as we find the Torah is named `Toras Moshe' because he was totally dedicated to it and Beis Hamikdosh is named after Dovid Hamelech, for we see the blessed fruits issuing from this enterprise, great talmidei chachomim who grow in Torah."


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