Gedolei Yisrael From Across the Spectrum in Attendance

“In our city of Antwerp, we have morei horaah and poskim who have completed the Dirshu Kinyan Halacha program, both the first five-and-a-half-year machzor and the second five-and-a- half-year machzor. They have covered all major areas of horaah and are incredibly learned and expert morei horaah!” Those were the words of HaGaon HaRav Aharon Schiff, shlita, Rav of the Machzikei Hadas umbrella kehillah of Antwerp’s Charedi community, said at the Dirshu Kinyan Halacha European siyum, held at the prestigious Hall of the Aviation Suite, Thistle London, Heathrow.

HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shaul Klein, shlita, Rav of the Ohr Hachaim neighborhood of Bnei Brak and posek of the Mayaanei Hayeshua Hospital, one of Eretz Yisroel’s leading poskim, related that many of the morei horaah in Rav Wosner’s beis din have similarly completed Kinyan Halacha.

Rav Klein said, “Where do you have yungeleit who even during the bein hazemanim of erev Pesach and erev Sukkos when they are helping at home, spend their late nights learning and reviewing halacha for their twice yearly Kinyan Halacha bechinos at the end of bein hazemanim?!”

HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita, Skverer Dayan of Boro Park and one of America’s senior poskim, candidly remarked at the American siyum, “All of us morei horaah must give special thanks to Dirshu and its Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita. There is a tremendous shortage of poskim muvhakim in Klal Yisrael. This shortage places tremendous pressure on existing poskim who are too few to serve the many who come with sheilos. Dirshu already has a record from previous machzorim of Kinyan Halacha, of preparing those who are able to persevere and complete the unremitting program to become poskim muvhakim who are ready to serve Klal Yisrael.”

Those words of the gedolim were just some highlights of a remarkable series of siyumim in Eretz Yisrael, Europe and America to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 400 new morei horaah, who have completed the grueling five-and-a-half-year program of the third machzor of Kinyan Halacha and will go on to become morei horaah who will enrich Klal Yisrael and help Jews all over the world keep halacha.

The siyumim held on Motzoei Shabbos parshas Vayigash at the Binyanei Haumah Convention Center in Yerushalayim, the following night in London, at the Hall of the Aviation Suite, Thistle Heathrow and two nights later, on Motzoei Asarah B’Teves at the Eminence Hall in Boro Park, featured addresses by senior Gedolei Yisrael.

Among them in Eretz Yisrael were HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shaul Klein, shlita, a talmid muvhak of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Wosner, zt”l; HaGaon HaRav Sariel Rosenberg, shlita, ybl”ch, son-in-law of HaGaon HaRav Nissim Karelitz, zt”l, and Av Beis Din of Rav Karelitz’s beis din; HaGaon HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl, shlita, Rav of the Old City of Yerushalayim; HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Berkovitz, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Aish HaTorah; HaGaon HaRav Messod Ben Shimon, shlita, Rav of Bnei Brak; and HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Meir Stern, shlita, Dayan at Rav Wosner’s Beis Din and one of the most prominent talmidim of Rav Shmuel Wosner. There was also a special video address given by the venerated senior Rosh Yeshiva of Slabodka, HaGaon HaRav Dov Landau, shlita.

In England, the siyum was addressed by the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, of London; HaGaon HaRav Aharon Schiff, shlita, Rav of Antwerp; HaGaon HaRav Nosson Binyomin Eckstein, shlita, Belzer Dayan in London who heads Dirshu’s operations in Europe; HaGaon HaRav Aharon Schiff, Rav of Antwerp, and the special guest from Eretz Yisroel, HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Meir Stern, shlita.

In America, the siyum was addressed by the venerated posek, HaGaon HaRav Hillel David, shlita, Rav of Kehillas, Yeshiva Shaarei Torah, Yoshev Rosh of the Vaad Roshei Yeshiva of Torah Umesorah, and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel, HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita, Skverer Dayan of Boro Park and the special guest from Eretz Yisroel, HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Meir Stern, shlita. There was also a special video address given by the senior posek, Rav Shlomo Miller, shlita, Rosh Kollel of the Toronto Kollel.

All three siyumim were also addressed by Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita.


A Siyum Like No Other

Anyone who attended any of the siyumim could not but be deeply moved by the atmosphere of pure simcha that permeated the air. The siyum of Kinyan Halacha is like no other siyum. It is a culmination of a grueling five-and-a-half-year program where the lomdim learn Yoreh Deah chelek aleph and beis as well as large parts of hilchos Shabbos, hilchos hagalas keilim and other areas of halacha with great iyun starting from the Gemara, continuing on to the Tur with its mefarshim, carrying on to the Shulchan Aruch and the major mefarshim on Shulchan Aruch right up until the practical halachic rulings of the poskim of the last generations.

For those who have completed the first program there is a second five-year program that covers even more obscure areas of halacha such as hilchos mikvaos, ribbis, eiruvin, birchas haperios, the halachos of the writing and checking of sifrei Torah, tefillin and mezuzos and more.


HaGaon HaRav Dov Landau, Shlita: “Ashreichim, Fortunate Are You and Fortunate Is Your Lot!”

HaGaon HaRav Dov Landau, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Slabodka Yeshiva and one of the senior Gedolei Hador of our time was not able to make the trip from Bnei Brak to Yerushalayim to attend the siyum due to his advanced age. Instead, Dirshu’s senior hanhala members led by Rav Dovid Hofstedter visited him in his home in Bnei Brak where he gave short divrei bracha via video. In his words of bracha, he said, “What Dirshu is doing is extremely important. Ashreichim, fortunate are you and fortunate is your lot! What you have done [with this program] is very good. Not only very good, but very important [for Klal Yisrael]. Hashem should help that you should have hatzlacha in all the programs…”


Rav Hillel David: “The Secret Lies In Chazarah”

The siyum in America was a momentous event. One of the Rabbanim in attendance related, “It is rare to see a pure Torah event of such magnitude in Boro Park. To look at the dais and see venerated Rabbanim from both the Chassidish and Litvish worlds sitting side-by-side, celebrating the Torah accomplishments and milestone of welcoming a large group of new poskim to Klal Yisrael is not a regular sight in Boro Park. The kavod haTorah at that event imbued us all with chizuk.”

As the senior Posek, HaGaon HaRav Hillel David, shlita, approached the podium his profound simcha was clearly apparent on his face. He gave voice to that simcha by citing the words of the Medrash that, “Out of the one thousand talmidim who enter the beis hamedarsh only one emerges to become a moreh horaah.”

“What a simcha it therefore is to come here and rejoice with the mesaymim who have “completed this program that leads to horaah!” he exclaimed, “It is a great, rare simcha!”

Rav Hillel then went on to advise the mesaymim how to be successful as poskim. The secret lies in chazarah, constantly reviewing what you have learned, and never tiring of reviewing again and again. The greatest poskim did this.


Rav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz: “What A Zechus It Is To Endow Klal Yisrael With So Many New Poskim!”

HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita, the Skverer Dayan of Boro Park, and one of America’s senior Poskim, explained that learning practical halacha is the highest form of limud haTorah. The Shach paskens that if a person learns Torah without learning halacha, he has not fulfilled his obligation of kevius ittim l’Torah, of setting aside time for Torah learning. The Mishnah Berurah also rules this way. Rav Steinmetz also thanked the wives of the yungeleit. They are the backbone of the program. “Without their sacrifice, it would be impossible to provide Klal Yisrael with new morei horaah.” 

 By Chaim Gold