“I am very excited about this program because it combines both yedias haTorah with learning b’iyun in a way that will tremendously enrich any participant.” Those were the words of HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron about the new Dirshu Chaburas HaShas program, said at a pivotal meeting attended by HaGaon HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Slabodka Yeshiva, and Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita, Nasi Dirshu together with senior members of hanhalas Dirshu.
That meeting was the culmination of several meetings with senior Gedolei Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael that included meetings with, Hagaon HaRav Shalom Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef, and the Sanzer Rebbe, shlita.
Details of the Program
The new Dirshu Chaburas HaShas iyun program is making waves throughout the world. The program, the first of its kind, has taken the olam haTorah by storm because it offers an opportunity to learn one masechta after another in a framework where people who want to learn the Gemara in a deeper, more comprehensive manner than achieved through the framework of the Daf HaYomi. The program enables one to learn Shas with Tosafos and the main Rishonim and Acharonim. One maggid shiur related, “For years I have wondered when I would be able to complete Shas. Daf HaYomi is not practical for me. Now, however, with Dirshu’s new Chaburas HaShas program I can learn two and a half blatt a week, which equals ten blatt per month of Gemara, Rashi, Tosafos, and the main Rishonim and Acharonim on the sugya. In this way, I can complete the entire Shas with this type of ‘iyun kal,’ in less than two decades. It is such an opportunity! Such a windfall!”
At the Dirshu convention held last month in Stamford, Connecticut the highlight of the Melave Malka Siyum on Seder Moed was the announcement by Rav Dovid Hofstedter about a new Dirshu program, “Dirshu Chaburas HaShas.” At the time Rav Hofstedter painted an outline of the exciting program with broad brushstrokes, but now as the program’s launch this coming Rosh Chodesh Iyar is coming steadily closer, Dirshu has released the details of the program and they have been met with great anticipation and joy by the olam haTorah around the world.
The new Chaburas HaShas program will feature two tracks. Track one is Gemara, Rashi and Tosafos with a thirty-question test every month. Track two will feature Gemara, Rashi, Tosafos, and a list of maarei mekomos from the Rishonim and Acharonim prepared under the guidance of Rav Dovid Cohen, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron.
Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch: This is Just the Program that Many Yungeleit have Been Waiting For
At a fascinating meeting attended by Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, Rav Dovid Cohen, Rav Dovid Hofstedter and senior members of hanhalas Dirshu the program was discussed. The meeting focused both on the importance of the program and on the appropriate time for avreichim to learn the program. Rav Moshe Hillel explained, “Every yungerman needs to learn in a way that is fitting for him and in a way that gives him sipuk hanefesh – satisfaction. For many yungeleit, this kind of program, either the first track or the second track, is exactly what they have been waiting for. I think this is a very good program for a person who wants to learn sugyos with some iyun; a yungerman who wants to go beyond the superficial but wants to simultaneously cover ground in a structured program. I always tell my talmidim and yungeleit who come to me, that they must learn in a way that is fitting for them and their own individual needs. I think this program can bring tremendous to’eles, to many, many avreichim.
“I think Rav Dovid Hofstedter and Dirshu are doing an amazing thing by offering such a program to Klal Yisrael.”
Rav Dovid Cohen: Getting to the “Heart” of the Sugya
Rav Dovid Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva of Chevron, related that Rav Yisroel Salanter writes that when it comes to learning Torah there are two distinct obligations. One is to understand the depth of Torah with pilpulim and the other is to understand the wide-ranging breadth of Torah.
“What is so special about this program? What is the reason I am so excited about it? This program allows for the learning of both in a way that is very fitting for so many lomdei Torah. Of course, during morning seder, lomdei Torah learn with great iyun and hear shiurim on what they learn. Because of that, however, they generally do not cover so much ground in the morning seder. A program like Chaburas HaShas can allow a person to cover ten blatt a month but at the same time he can absorb the ‘heart’ of the sugya rather than learn it in a superficial manner. He can gain clarity from an important Rashba, Ritva or Rabi Akiva Eiger that sheds light on the entire sugya. When one learns just Gemara, Rashi and Tosafos, he may be missing the ‘heart’ of some sugyos. This program offers a beautiful synthesis of both covering ground while simultaneously really learning with an understanding that goes beyond superficial bekius.
Rav Cohen went on to say that for those learning Track Two, the iyun kal, the learning can be done either during afternoon seder or night seder but for those learning in Track One that just covers Gemara, Rashi and Tosafos, it should be learned either during night seder or bein hasedarim.
“I think this program is a great tikkun, it performs a great service to Klal Yisrael,” Rav Dovid concluded.
Rabbi Avigdor Bernstein, a senior member of hanhalas Dirshu explained, “Most night seder programs for kollel yungeleit in Eretz Yisrael do not have a structured program. Rather, the avreichim learn with chavrusos whatever they agree upon to learn. Chaburas HaShas is presenting a structured program with Tosafos or with iyun kal that can give a yungerman tremendous cheshek and an opportunity to learn masechta after masechta with a degree of iyun on which he can be tested and receive a stipend! It is a win-win situation.”
Meetings with Rav Shalom Cohen and The Sanzer Rebbe
The hanhalah of Dirshu also met with Rav Shalom Cohen, senior Sephardic Rosh Yeshiva, in his home in the Old City of Yerushalayim. Rav Cohen hailed the program as a program that would give tremendous cheshek to lomdei Torah and increase their knowledge exponentially. He praised Dirshu for designing programs that encourage limud haTorah at all times, filling up the “holes” in the weekly schedule with learning programs that increase yedias haTorah.
Rav Hofstedter and hanhalas Dirshu also met with the Sanzer Rebbe who gave his heartfelt bracha to the program and spoke about the efforts that his father, the previous Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, invested in ensuring that the generation would possess a cadre of Shas Yidden who not only learned Shas superficially but rather learned it with great depth and were able to be tested on it. The new Chaburas HaShas program and its details infused the Rebbe with great simcha.
Rav Dovid Hofstedter concluded the meeting with Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch and Rav Dovid Cohen by mentioning the fact that all of Klal Yisroel is in deep mourning upon the petirah of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l, who so supported Dirshu’s efforts to spread Torah. “There is a tremendous Torah void in the world with the passing of the Sar HaTorah. We must all do our part to fill that void by learning more Torah both in quality and quantity. This new Chaburas HaShas program with the constant guidance of the Gedolei Yisrael can help us fill that void.”