Great Anticipation as Senior Gedolei Yisroel Expected
to Attend and Address Lomdei Dirshu
By Chaim Gold
A Dirshu Convention is unique. Simply put, nothing can compare to it in the frum world today. It is a microcosm of the achdus through Torah that symbolizes the most beautiful qualities of Am Yisrael. It is a Convention where men and women representing the entire gamut of Torah Jewry – Chassidim of all kinds, Litvish Yeshiva types, Ashkenazim, Sefardim – come together for one reason: to give and gain chizuk in the limud haTorah that both the men and women who attend know has transformed their homes, their family lives and the chinuch of their children.
Lomdei Dirshu look forward to the biennial Convention with tremendous anticipation. It is a breath of Torah oxygen as they meet with like-minded “brothers and sisters in combat” who set aside large portions daily to learn, chazer, learn and chazer again, learning the material for the comprehensive tests that every lomed Dirshu aspires to take successfully.
This year, the demand was so great that within hours of the Convention being publicized, it was sold out. Understanding the integral role that the Convention plays in the lives of their lomdim and wives, Dirshu quickly worked to secure more venues. As of this writing, the Dirshu guests will be staying at the Armon Hotel [formerly the Crowne Plaza] in Stamford Connecticut, and the adjacent Holiday Inn Hotel, as well as a third hotel in the area, to be announced. In addition a massive tent for the shul will be erected where the multitudes of participants will be able to daven in an atmosphere conducive to the seriousness of a tefillah experience that a Dirshu Yid expects.
Plans are also underway to secure a large ballroom in a nearby hotel to accommodate the anticipated overflow crowd of guests that will come after Shabbos to participate in the Melava Malka Siyum.
The Armon and the Holiday Inn Hotel are already fully booked and now Dirshu has secured a third hotel nearby to accommodate the tremendous response. “Unfortunately, even the third hotel will be insufficient to accommodate all those who desire to come,” said Dirshu’s North American Director, Rabbi Aharon Gobioff, “but it is simply not possible to secure more rooms within walking distance of the Armon Hotel where the seudos, davening and inspiring shiurim and drashos from Gedolei Yisrael from across the spectrum, will be held.”
The Unique Microcosm of Olam Habah that is Shabbos Dirshu
The excited anticipation for this Shabbos is indescribable. It is a time when multitudes of talmidei chachamim come together, meet like-minded counterparts, talk in learning and exchange tips on how to enhance yedias haTorah and retention of the vast amounts of Torah that they learn. The chizuk they derive from realizing that they are a significant part of a massive global movement of yedias haTorah cannot be quantified.
In addition, the wives of lomdei Dirshu walk away from Shabbos on a high. Not only are they deeply inspired by the special women’s programing but perhaps even more so, from meeting other distinguished wives and mothers who truly understand what it means to be part of Dirshu with the inherent thrill of witnessing the hatzlacha of their husband after a test; or upon completion of a masechta, recognizing how, through Dirshu, the entire family becomes elevated and closer to Hashem.
One Dirshu Yid, who called to register on the first day of registration, related, “I called immediately because I have not forgotten the last convention! Where else can one have Ashkenazim and Sefardim, Yeshivaleit and Chassidim, Yidden from Cleveland, Baltimore and Toronto talking in learning with Yidden from New Square, Lakewood and Williamsburg? Torah is truly the ultimate unifier and the Torah in which all lomdei Dirshu immerse themselves, day in, day out, week in, week out, year after year brings together all segments of Klal Yisrael in the most harmonious symphony of achdus. “
The Climax: Melava Malka Siyum on Seder Moed
The climax of the Shabbos will be the gala melava malka siyum on Seder Moed that the Daf HaYomi has completed upon which thousands and thousands of lomdei Dirshu have been tested. Open to the public, the melave malka will be addressed by senior Gedolei Yisrael including a special guest senior Gadol from Eretz Yisrael.
One prominent American Rosh Yeshiva put it succinctly, “How can I not participate? This is an event with no agenda other than increasing limud haTorah - no political agenda, no fundraising or organizational agenda. It is, simply put, a celebration of dedication to learning. We are just coming to celebrate with Yidden who have invested days and nights over many years to learn, chazer and be tested. How can I not come?”
Indeed, who can forget previous conventions that were graced by the likes of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, zt”l, whose shiur riveted the tzibbur and whose singing elevated them to a different plane? Who can forget the shiurim of HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, shlita, or HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Feivel Schustal, shlita, or the shaila and teshuva session on all four orders of Shulchan Aruch with HaGaon, HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita?
One of the unique chiddushim of a Dirshu Convention is the fact that nothing, not even a Dirshu Convention itself, can stop the relentless schedule of learning and chazering of lomdei Dirshu. At the Convention, Dirshu consecrates a large double conference room as a beis medrash open for learning 24 hours a day. By a previous Convention, Rav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, the venerated Skverer Dayan of Boro Park, pointed out how despite the oneg Shabbos ending very late on Friday night, the designated beis medrash was literally full of people learning before it even became light outside! Rav Steinmetz, who was learning in the beis medrash in the early hours, was amazed, “Where else do you have a convention where not only is learning talked about, but it doesn’t stop! Where after the seudah on Shabbos afternoon, the ‘taanug’ of sleeping on Shabbos is replaced by the even greater pleasure of learning and chazering another blatt Gemara and another seif in Shulchan Aruch?!”
Every person present at the Convention is one who has shown deep dedication to limud haTorah. The men show that dedication by learning, daily chazering, and taking monthly tests over a protracted period. Similarly, every Dirshu wife has displayed mesiras nefesh for her husband’s learning and spiritual ascent by enabling him to devote tremendous amounts of time to learning and then repeatedly reviewing so that he will sufficiently know the material to earn an exemplary mark on the test. This does not always come easily. It frequently means sacrificing a husband’s help in the most hectic times, such as the morning rush to school or the evening bedtime crunch. Yet, one Dirshu wife related, “I don’t know if I could make it through the years without the tremendous chizuk that I derive from a Dirshu Convention.”
Kedushas Habayis, Kedushas HaTorah and Dirshu
On Dirshu participant told the following remarkable story depicting the impact Dirshu has on families. “My friend’s son became engaged. When the chosson’s father was discussing purchasing a ring for the kallah, the chosson insisted on paying for the ring himself. ‘From where do you have money?’ his astounded father asked. ‘Totty,’ the chosson explained, ‘During bein hasedorim and the pre-Shacharis hours, I have been learning Daf HaYomi with Dirshu and taking Dirshu tests. Every stipend that I earned, I put aside. I would like to use that money to buy the ring because I want my new bayis to be built upon the foundation of the kedushas haTorah that I have worked so hard to attain.”
Indeed, that was the underlying foundation throughout the Dirshu Shabbos. The kedushas habayis and shalom bayis of hundreds upon hundreds of families has been immeasurably impacted and often transformed by their connection with Dirshu.