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12 Iyar 5766 - May 10, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Inauguration of the Dirshu Kinyan Halochoh Program

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

A shiver of awe passed through everyone present at this momentous occasion. Thousands of elite avreichim assembled in one hall. It was not just an event; it was another brick laid in the edifice of the Torah empire that is Dirshu.

"You will yet be telling your children and grandchildren that you took part in this historic assembly," declared HaRav Avrohom Yaakobson, rav of Be'er Yaakov, to those present. "Here, at this assembly, a new concept is being introduced: Kinyan Halochoh!"

Wednesday, the 28th of Nisan 5766, was the first day of the learning program of Kinyan Halochoh. Inaugurating the incredible undertaking of the participants was this gathering attended by many gedolim. A certain solemnity was in the air, opening with the distribution of the Kinyan Halochoh kits which contained material about the program. The feeling continued until the end of the event. The whole affair bespoke kovod HaTorah and yiras Shomayim.

"It is an auspicious day for the entire Olom HaTorah when so many people gather together who are willing to give themselves over to a limud that will bring them a kinyan halochoh", proclaimed HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner. In his opening remarks he wove together many divrei Chazal regarding the importance of learning halochoh.

"This is the essence of Torah" (hein hein gufei Torah), was Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv's shlita comment to the Dirshu delegation headed by its Nosi Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter, when they came to receive his sanction for the program. "They must learn Shulchan Oruch with the Tur and Beis Yosef. Then you will be able to comprehend how the Shulchan Oruch concluded with that particular halochoh. Limud in this manner is very, very important and is the essence of Torah."

The objective of Kinyan Halochoh is for its participants to gain an essential grasp of halochoh. The first goal in the program is to complete hilchos Shabbos. Following a course of study that will last a year-and-a-half, about 1500 avreichim will apply themselves to halochos such as shehiya, hatmonoh, bishul and hotzo'oh, as well as concepts such as mimtzo chafotzecho and vedaber dovor. They will learn through the relevant portions in the Shulchan Oruch, going back to the sources in the gemora, and on to the Tur and Beis Yosef, and through the mareh mekomos that are sent to them monthly.

HaRav Wosner quoted the Ya'aros Dvash: "Anyone who does not learn hilchos Shabbos three times will certainly desecrate the Shabbos." He continued, "There is no set of halochos that is dealt with at such length in the Shulchan Oruch as these. It is a great thing that you have undertaken to learn them halochoh lema'aseh."

HaRav Moshe Shaul Klein told the gathering how appropriate it is for the program to start with the laws of Shabbos. In order to acquire a grasp of halochoh one must be able to translate the sources into halochoh lema'aseh — practical law. He followed with a riveting shiur in hilchos Shabbos.

The crowd listened in fascination to the opening shiur of HaRav Nissim Karelitz on the topic of mitzva bo yoser mibishlucho. They also were read a letter from HaRav Moshe Sternbuch in which he writes: " . . . When many people learn together (the same material) there is special siyata deShmaya, as is said in the name of the Chofetz Chaim. May you all be blessed with bircas HaTorah, especially Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter, the Nosi of this important organization, who merited this great mitzvah."

Maran HaRav Wosner ended his address similarly, "How vast is the share of one who has already merited great mitzvos in strengthening limud haTorah — Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter. As we know, one mitzvah leads to another and so this mitzvah of encouraging learning of halochoh has also come to him. I bless him that he should see success in all he does."

About half-a-year ago the program was founded in the homes of the gedolei hador, with whom Dirshu's representatives met. In meetings with HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, and HaRav Nissim Karelitz, the green light was given to implement this ambitious plan. They praised Dirshu for the initiative and gave directions on how to formulate the program.

Much effort was invested in the building of the actual curriculum. "No one thinks you can decide halochoh just from learning the Shulchan Oruch. You cannot learn it without learning the sources first. The Shulchan Oruch was intended as a review for one who already knows the source and reasoning for the law," explained HaRav Klein in his comments about the program.

HaRav Klein, a member of the beis din of HaRav Wosner, led the group of talmidei chachomim that devised the actual course of study. It is designed to encourage learning halochoh in depth. It also contains the hallmark of Dirshu's programs and success — a regular system of tests with generous stipends for those achieving success in them. This maintains a framework and gives incentive to the participants.

Dirshu is used to the thirst that Klal Yisroel displays for ways to strengthen limud haTorah. Dirshu has already responded with a variety of undertakings: programs for yeshiva bochurim, early morning learning sessions, the Talmudo program, Kollelei Baalei Batim, the Chaburas Kollel Dirshu of Lakewood in the Kollel Shas Be'Iyun Program, the Kinyan Torah Daf Yomi testing program which includes tests on Mishnayos, and the awesome Kinyan Shas program. These activities circle the globe: Eretz Yisroel, North and South America, Europe, and Australia.

The Kinyan Halochoh program was designed specifically for people serious about reaching a level of psak halochoh, and the original plan called for 500 people to be accepted worldwide. However, Dirshu was unprepared for the massive interest shown in this new plan. Literally thousands of applications came in, accompanied by heartfelt pleas to be accepted and enthusiastic letters of approbation from Roshei Yeshivos and Kollelim.

As a result, Dirshu has allowed those who would otherwise qualify but were not accepted into the first 500 spots, the ability to still receive the mareh mekomos and take the tests until they reach their goal: a real kinyan in halochoh lema'aseh.


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