Thousands of Bochurim in Camps Experience Dirshu Learning This Summer

By Chaim Gold 

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“For three and a half weeks you are zoche to experience and understand what a talmid chochom meant when he said, ‘Dirshu ruined my life!’ Here at Camp Rayim you have gotten a taste of what it means to learn Torah with accountability and to love it!”

Those were the words of Rav Shaul Pinter, Maggid Shiur at Camp Rayim L”Bochurim as he introduced Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi Dirshu, to deliver a shiur to the bochurim

Rabbi Pinter was referring to a comment made by a Yid who met Rav Hofstedter in the streets of Boro Park. “I don’t have a day, I don’t have a night, I don’t even have a minute to go to a simcha… I am just so busy learning and chazering!” With a pure smile bathing his entire face, the Yid exclaimed, “On behalf of myself and my whole mishpacha, I don’t know how to thank you!”

The Importance of Structure

Camp Rayim is one of eleven camps that participate in Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi L’Bochurim summer camp program. Over 2,500 bochurim participated this year. 

Rav Pinter explained the tremendous impact that the program had on his talmidim. “One of the critically important things that enhance learning in the summer is structure. When bochurim know that they have a certain amount that they have to learn every day and when they know that if they are tested on that learning and achieve good results, they will be rewarded, it transforms the learning experience in camp into a goal-oriented, geshmake experience.”

Rav Hofstedter, who visited both camp Rayim and Camp Toras Chaim-Tashbar, on Friday erev Tisha B’Av, delivered a shiur on the halachos of Tisha B’Av that falls out on Shabbos and is pushed off until Sunday. He also gave divrei chizuk to the talmidim

A Lifelong Lesson

Rav Menachem Schmelczer, Dirshu Daf HaYomi L’Bochurim maggid shiur at Camp Toras Chaim Tashbar, said, “There are so many benefits that a bochur gains from Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi L’Bochurim summer camp program. First and foremost is the limud haTorah itself. The summer is a time when bochurim require a bit more motivation than during the year and the Dirshu program has proven an exemplary motivator. The fact that bochurim are learning halacha and accustoming themselves to learn Mishnah Berurah every single day is a remarkable routine that starts when they are young but can often continue through life. 

“Another important benefit is the fact that bochurim spend a half hour each day actually reading the Mishnah Berurah. It is well known that many difficulties that bochurim face are a result of imperfect reading skills. This summertime opportunity to engage in reading the Mishnah Berurah empowers them to perfect their reading, it is an opportunity that should not be missed. Last but not least, the bochurim develop a tremendous chashivus for the Chofetz Chaim and that can last a lifetime!” 

Rav Hofstedter Achdus is A Foundation for Limud HaTorah

At Camp Toras Chaim Tashbar, Rav Hofstedter was introduced by Rabbi Alexander Dembitzer, the camp’s Director. After Rav Hofstedter addressed the bochurim, he and Dirshu’s North American Director, Rabbi Ahron Gobioff, had the opportunity to attend a live shiur on that day’s limud given by Rav Schmelczer. “The large group of bochurim were so involved, attentive and animated,” said Rabbi Gobioff. “Clearly the learning of halacha and the clear and geshmake elucidation of the interesting halachos of Rosh Chodesh that they were learning, was something that they found very stimulating.”

In his remarks, Rav Hofstedter commented that “there is a misconception about bein adam l’chaveiro. Some people think it is a nice extra thing in Yiddishkeit, akin to extra credit. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Bein adam l’chaveiro is not just a nice middah, is an integral component of success in Torah learning itself. He explained that Chazal tell us that the achdus at maamad Har Sinai, ‘as one man with one heart,’ was a vital prerequisite to Torah. Rav Hofstedter asked, “With regard to the first Beis Hamikdosh the Gemara asks, ‘Why was the land lost?’ The reason given by Chazal is that ‘they forsook the Torah.’ The Gemara asks, ‘What does it mean they forsook the Torah? They learned Torah!’ The Gemara answers that indeed they learned Torah but they did not have the proper respect for Torah and therefore their Torah learning did not bind them to Hashem and protect them. Why, however does the Gemara not ask the same question regarding the destruction of the second Bais Hamikdosh, which we know was destroyed as a result of sinas chinom?” He answered that, “Everyone knew that sinas chinom– lack of achdus was a barrier that would prevent their Torah learning from adequately protecting them. The question did not have to be asked. Without achdus neither Bais Hamikdosh nor success in Torah can exist.” 

Rav Hofstedter ended off by encouraging the bochurim to continue learning with accountability and being instruments of kovod haTorah. He also invited them to the great maamad of kovod haTorah, the Dirshu World Siyum that will take place this winter. 

Young Aspiring Talmidei Chachomim Become Part of a Worldwide Movement 

This year, the participating camps were, Achim Mesivta, Camp Agudah, Camp Agudah Toronto, Camp Degel Hatorah, Camp Derech Aliyah, Camp Merkaz Hachaim, Camp Nachal Yam, Camp Rayim Mesivta, Camp Ruach Hakayitz, Tashbar, Camp Toras Chesed.

One of the Dirshu mechanchim who teaches the Dirshu seder in a camp related, “The Dirshu seder plays an integral role in the learning and ruchniyus of the entire camp. Firstly, it teaches every boy the value of temidus, of regular daily learning, no matter what happens. If there is a trip, Dirshu comes along; on Friday afternoon, a time that is often neglected, we are plugging away with the Dirshu seder after Mincha; on Shabbos morning after kiddush before the seudah the Dirshu seder continues.” 

Another very important lesson that will last long after camp is over is that when bochurim set a goal which they then achieve, they gain a tremendous sense of accomplishment and sippuk

Perhaps, Rabbi Shaul Pinter put it best when he told the bochurim, “Here in camp we have the zechus in the summer to become part of a worldwide movement that seeks nothing more from every Yid other than that he should learn more Torah and maximize his Torah learning. Not only that, but they are willing to reward you for your effort! Some of you might focus on the rewards, but the truth is, the ultimate reward is that you have now experienced what it means to learn with a cheshbon, in a structured way. That is a reward from which you will gain for the rest of your lives!”

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