12,000 celebrate completion of first cycle of new Dirshu Torah study project

Participants studied one page of Mishna Brurah, a compendium of Jewish law, per day for seven years.

March 26, 2015 18:41
2 minute read.
Dirshu Torah.

Haredi celebrate completion of first cycle of new Dirshu Torah study project.. (photo credit: YISRAEL BARDOGO)

Some 12,000 haredi men crammed into the Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv this week to celebrate the completion of the first seven-year cycle of a study project established by the Dirshu organization, with several thousand more celebrating at a parallel event in Jerusalem.

The event was attended by some of the most senior haredi rabbis in the world, including the leader of the non-hassidic Ashkenazi haredi world Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein and several of the “Admorim,” the grand rabbis, of some of the hassidic groups in Israel.

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The rabbis, who entered at different stages, were greeted rapturously with joyful music and the 12,000-strong crowd jumping to their feet, clapping and singing the traditional song for greeting a Torah sage “may the days of the king be increased,” a prayer for his long life.

Dirshu, an international organization based in Israel promoting Torah study initiatives in the US, Israel and beyond, initiated the new Daf Yomi B’halacha project seven years ago with the blessing of the late Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.

The initiative has participants commit themselves to studying one page every day of the Mishna Berura, a well-known and widely studied compendium of Jewish law written in the 19th century by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, otherwise known as the Hafetz Haim, a renowned Torah scholar who lived in present- day Belarus.

The Mishna Berura is a commentary and explanation of the first section of an earlier codification of Jewish law known as the Shulhan Aruch, written in the 16th century by Rabbi Yosef Karo, in Safed. The first section of the Shulhan Aruch is called Orach Haim and relates to Jewish laws pertaining to prayer, Shabbat, Jewish holidays and other aspects of daily religious life.

The Daf Yomi B’halacha initiative, which translates as “One Page of Jewish Law a Day,” is modeled on the successful Daf Yomi program, begun in 1923, in which participants study one double-sided page of Talmud every day and completing the entire Talmud every seven-anda- half years.

Like the Talmud version of the program, those studying in the Daf Yomi B’halacha initiative complete their study program every seven years. Dirshu states that at least 10,000 people have signed up to the program worldwide.

Rabbi Edelstein, one of the deans of the renowned Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak and one of the most senior leaders of the haredi world, gave one of the central speeches of the event on Tuesday night, praising the study-project and the practice of studying practical Jewish law every day.

“The Orach Haim section of the Shulhan Aruch applies to us every day and we can say at every moment,” said Edelstein.

“Those who study it earn great merit, as do those who help those to study, and it is also a great merit to participate in a gathering of such a large number of people for the glory of the Torah and the honor of the Mishna Berura,” the rabbi said.

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