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18 Teves 5766 - January 18, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Daf Yomi Gathering Marks End of Eruvin, Beginning of Pesochim

by Betzalel Kahn

Gedolei Yisroel shlita, including Maran HaRav Eliashiv, HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, HaRav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, the Admor of Belz, the Admor of Novominsk, the Admor of Nadvorna, the Admor of Boyan and HaRav Yisroel Hagar joined thousands of Daf Yomi lomdim and maggidei shiurim for a major event at Binyanei Ha'Uma in Jerusalem to mark the completion of Masechta Eruvin and the beginning of Masechta Pesochim.

To accommodate the large number of participants Meoros HaDaf HaYomi, which organized the event, reserved the main hall of the International Congress Center, as well as adjacent halls where the proceedings were screened live for ladies and the overflow crowd. The event was also broadcast live at gathering points in Bnei Brak, Kiryat Sefer, Ashdod, Rechasim, Elad and Beit Shemesh.

The event began with tefillas Arvis, led by HaRav Eliezer Turk, a rov in Achuzat Brachfeld and a ram at Yeshivas Ahavas Torah in Kiryat Sefer. The opening speaker and emcee was HaRav Dovid Zicherman, who cited the verse "Vayehi biyeshurun melech behisaseif roshei om yachad shivtei Yisroel" (Devorim 33:5). "HaKodosh Boruch Hu is elevated and exalted when Am Yisroel gathers together to honor the Torah. Every gathering intended to strengthen the religion is a gathering for the sake of Heaven, all the more so if the gathering is done to accept the yoke of Heaven and to strengthen Torah learning. Then it is not merely a gathering for the sake of Heaven, but also a gathering for accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven."

He was followed by Jerusalem Mayor Rabbi Uri Lupoliansky, who said, "We have the privilege to celebrate here today with joy, the completion of maseches Eruvin and the beginning of maseches Pesochim. At this uplifting, elevated, tremendous event in honor of Torah `we will sing and rejoice with the Torah, for it is our strength and our light.' In the name of Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh Vehamikdosh, the King's palace, we host the learners of the Daf Yomi and halochoh. Happy is the city that sees with pride and joy the multitudes of lomdim who arrive to celebrate the joy of Torah."

The Mayor went on to say that with the City of Jerusalem at the center of the international stage and a source of political and local disputes, "now I have come," as the angel says to Yehoshua bin Nun (Yehoshua 5:14), to note the great importance of an event of this kind in our city, Ir Hakodesh. Within the gates of Jerusalem they are engaged in Torah study and these are the ones upholding Jerusalem and our real, firm hold on Jerusalem in the palace of the King is based on calls by gedolei Yisroel, led by Rabbenu Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv shlita, to integrate the daily halochoh with the Daf Yomi. These are the gates of Tzion referred to in the verse "Oheiv Hashem shaarei Tzion" (Tehillim 87:2), which are the gates noted for the study of halochoh — sheorim hametzuyonim behalochoh.

"The Meoros organization and its head, HaRav Kovalsky, along with his many maggidei shiurim, has the merit of disseminating Torah and horo'oh throughout Eretz Hakodesh, led by Jerusalem, at hundreds of educational institutions, at thousands of mikdashei me'at, in offices and in factories. At this event where multitudes from the world of Torah and Chassidus have gathered together for a genuine instance of sanctifying the Name of Heaven and Torah joy, all of us are feel encouraged to increase the number of soldiers for Torah, its halochos and its ways. Ashreichem ve'ashrei limudeichem," concluded Rabbi Lupoliansky.

After the Mayor stepped down HaRav Dovid Zicherman read aloud a letter of support sent by HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz.

Chief Rabbi Moshe Shlomo Amar then took the podium, saying, "HaGaon R' Meir Shapira of Lublin ztvk"l, founded the study of the Daf Yomi, while HaRav Chaim Dovid Kovalsky amplified the call to this takonoh by disseminating the Daf Yomi around the world and went even further based on the advice of gedolei hador by adding two halochos, which complements the in-depth study with practical study, and nothing could be more important than this."

Afterwards a letter written by HaRav Shabsai Aton, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Reishis Chochmoh, was read aloud. HaRav Aton was present at the event but was too weak to address the audience.

In his continuing remarks HaRav Zicherman called HaRav Kovalsky "the great rosh yeshiva of the world of Daf Yomi learners," saying every kehilloh in every town in Israel has at least one Daf Yomi shiur and HaRav Kovalsky restored the crown to its rightful place, for HaRav Shach zt"l would often ask, "Where have the Masmidim Society, the Shas Society and the Ein Yaakov Society gone since the Churban of European Jewry? And indeed HaRav Kovalsky, with his prodigious energy, went from city to city, from town to town and from business to business calling for shiurim to be started at all hours of the day."

HaRav Kovalsky taught the final daf of Eruvin as the enormous audience followed along in special booklets printed in honor of the event, and he added words of encouragement for the study of the Daf Yomi.

Before maranan verabonon entered the hall HaRav Zicherman related a story told by HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein about how his father-in-law, Maran HaRav Eliashiv, once paid a visit to a sick talmid chochom on Erev Shavuos. "When is kabolas haTorah on Shavuos?" the sick man asked Maran, "For mumim heal at the time of kabolas haTorah."

HaRav Eliashiv replied, "Kabolas haTorah is at the time of the reading of Aseres Hadibros and at that time one must have intention to receive the Torah. The greater your acceptance of the Torah, the more your mumim will heal."

Added HaRav Zicherman, "Even in the middle of Teves we have merited kabolas haTorah, for if maranan verabonon shlita took the trouble to come here with mesirus nefesh to celebrate together with us, this is truly a kabolas haTorah and we will accept upon ourselves to learn halochos from the Daf Yomi and we will merit, together with gedolei hador shlita, to receive Moshiach Tzidkeinu."

At that point HaRav Kovalsky announced enthusiastically, "We have the merit of receiving Maran Posek Hador shlita, who is entering the hall." The audience responded by rising to its feet and bursting out in a long round of "Yomim Al yemei Melech tosif" as Maran HaRav Eliashiv, followed by HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, HaRav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, the Admor of Belz and the Admor of Novominsk filed in one after the next and took their seats on the dais, joining several long rows of prominent roshei yeshivos and rabbonim, including HaRav Shmuel Deutsch, HaRav Dovid Cohen, HaRav Dov Yaffeh, HaRav Moshe Shapira, HaRav Dovid Shapira, HaRav Leib Minzberg, HaRav Ezriel Auerbach, HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, HaRav Mordechai Gross, HaRav Binyomin Rimer, HaRav Michel Barniker, HaRav Avrohom Eliashiv, the Admor of Nadvorna, the Admor of Boyan, the Admor of Sochotchov and HaRav Yisroel Hagar.

HaRav Zilberstein then addressed the audience, followed by HaRav Shteinman (see sidebars). After the Rosh Yeshiva spoke he was given the honor of reciting the end of maseches Eruvin and Hadran aloch. After the Admor of Nadvorna recited Kaddish, the Admor of Belz took the podium as well (see sidebar).

The Admor of Novominsk, who serves as the Rosh of Agudas Yisroel of America, also spoke, saying that tens of thousands of Jews participate in the Daf Yomi in the US, largely at the impetus of Agudas Yisroel.

HaRav Kovalsky then taught the first two halochos related to the Daf Yomi at the beginning of maseches Pesochim.

Afterwards maranan verabonon took their leave as the audience sang "Ki Orech Yomim Ushnos Chaim."

The program concluded with a performance by chazan R' Chaim Eliezer Hershtik and choir singing led by R' Meir Adler.

Excerpt from HaRav Shteinman's Address

Commenting on the verse, "Mimizrach shemesh ad mevo'o" the Medrash says Yehoshua was arguing with the sun when he told it, "Shemesh beGiv'on dom" and there was a whole debate between them. For every element in Creation has a task of its own—inanimate, growing, living and speaking [i.e. man]—and each task is different. The sun is inanimate but it has the task of moving to fulfill the verse, "Mimizrach shemesh ad mevo'o mehulol sheim Hashem" and the sun travels around the world and praises HaKodosh Boruch Hu 24 hours a day and its movement is praise of the Name of Heaven.

The sun tells Yehoshua, "I was created two days before man was created and I have had to praise [Hashem] ever since I was created, which began before Odom Horishon was created. I have my own task to do without man, so why are you telling me to stop in place? My task remains," claimed the sun to Yehoshua. Replied Yehoshua, "Since the arrival of Avrohom Ovinu, man's powers have changed; he is greater than before and all kovod Shomayim must pass through man, because Avrohom Ovinu began with the Torah and HaKodosh Boruch Hu created the world for the sake of Torah. He wanted to bring about kovod Shomayim by having man learn Torah, and this has been the real goal since the days of Avrohom Ovinu. Since man needs the sun to stay still, this is what you must do," and the more we increase Torah study and setting fixed times for Torah the greater the kovod Shomayim.

The Belzer Rebbe's Address

With the permission of the rabbonim geonim, the admorim, the tzaddikim, roshei yeshivos, the lomdei Torah, the bnei yeshivos and last and most cherished of all, the esteemed baalei batim who set aside fixed times for Torah study. All of us must learn from the people who set times aside for Torah. It has already been said in the name of a certain godol, why does the gemora refer to those who learn Torah every day as "kovato itim leTorah?" It is based on the words of the verse in Mishlei, "Vekava es koveihem nefesh," and Rashi interprets the word "koveihem" as "gozleihem," from the word "gezeiloh" or "stealing." Those who set fixed times aside for Torah study are stealing from their own time for Torah study. At the end of Eruvin the gemora says, "Omar R' Yochonon, ilmolei lo nitno Torah, hoyinu lomdim tznius michatul vegezel minemoloh..." ("Said R' Yochonon, had the Torah not been given we would learn modesty from cats and stealing from ants..."). All of us must learn from baalei batim to steal from our own time for the sake of Torah.

The Mishnoh in Ovos says, "R' Meir omer, `Havei mema'et be'esek va'asok baTorah, vehavei shefal ruach bifnei kol odom, ve'im bitalto min haTorah yeish harbeh beteilim kenegdecho...'" ("R' Meir says, `Minimize your business dealings and engage in Torah, and be humble before every man, and if you refrain from Torah there are many ways to make you idle..."). Rabbenu Yonah notes the separation between the first phrase of the mishnah and the last phrase of the mishnah.

The explanation is that the first part of the mishnah speaks about a ben Torah who comes upon a business opportunity he has to engage in and on this it says, "Minimize your business dealings and engage in Torah." Even though you engage in Torah day and night and minimize your business dealings to engage in Torah, be humble before every man. Do not become haughty before baalei batim who set fixed times for Torah.

And afterwards the Tanna speaks about the kovei'a itim leTorah, for this demands great chizuk. Oftentimes an urgent business matter comes along that is hard to postpone. Says the Mishnoh, if you refrained from Torah study there are many things to come along and make you idle. And if you labored in Torah by stealing from your time to labor in Torah, which comes through toil and not easily, He has much reward to give you. Hashem Yisborach will send blessing in your endeavors so that with little effort you will have blessing and success in your business dealings.

I would like to bless the maggidei shiurim who devote time to the task of preparing the shiur, making efforts to explain to each [participant] according to his level of understanding, especially the hard masechtos like Shabbos and Eruvin. May Hashem bless you with all the blessings and may we all have the merit to raise the banner of the Torah in Yisroel speedily.


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