Leading Gedolei Yisrael to Grace Dirshu International Convention


Motzoei Shabbos Keynote Session to Feature Siyum on Chelek Gimmel Mishnah Berurah and Preview on Upcoming World Siyumim

By Chaim Gold

“It’s a Shabbos of Torah, Torah, and more chizuk haTorah,” was the way one veteran Dirshu learner described a previous Dirshu International Convention. This year’s convention will be no different. Over 2000 people will attend the Shabbos and Grand Melava Malka, which will be graced by leading Gedolei Yisrael including such luminaries as HaGaon HaRav Reuven Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Staten Island, HaGaon HaRav Yeruchem Olshin, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Feivel Schustal, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Tiferes Yerachmiel, Hagaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita, Skverer Dayan of Boro Park, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Lakewood Mesivta and  Telshe, HaGaon HaRav Dovid Olewski, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Ger and HaGaon HaRav Dovid Goldberg, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Telshe together with numerous other prominent Gedolei Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim.

The International Convention, to be held this coming Shabbos Parshas Bo, 5-7 Shevat/ January 11-13, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut, is called ‘Shabbos Chizuk L’lomdei Torah’. Indeed, its name truly encapsulates and defines what the Shabbos is all about. The Shabbos is to pay tribute and give chizuk to the myriad lomdei Torah and their wives who, day in, day out, week after week, month after month, throughout the year, Shabbosim, Yomim Tovim, easy times, hard times… are dedicated to learning Torah and taking regular tests to ensure retention.

Climactic Grand Melava Malka Open to Public

The climax of the Shabbos will be motzoei Shabbos’s keynote session where a siyum on Chelek Gimmel of the Mishnah Berurah in the Dirshu Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program will be held. The siyum is a profound milestone and simcha for the tens of thousands of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners the world over, whose shemiras Shabbos has been immeasurably enriched and enhanced as a result of their increased knowledge in these complex, vitally important halachos.

The Motzoei Shabbos Grand Melava Malka will be open to the wider public. In addition to the simcha of the siyum and the opportunity to derive chizuk from leading Gedolei Yisrael at the Grand Melava Malka, there will be a presentation featuring many details about the upcoming, exciting Dirshu World Siyumim to be held in 5780/2020.

Next Year: Historic World Siyumim

The Dirshu World Siyumim will b’ezras Hashem be historic. They will celebrate the efforts of more than 100,000 lomdei Dirshu who dedicate their days and nights to learning Torah with accountability in Dirshu’s various Shas programs such as Kinyan Torah and Kinyan Shas.

There will be major siyumim in four continents, starting with a massive siyum in Eretz Yisroel at the Yad Eliyahu Stadium in Tel Aviv, in early/mid January of 2020. This will be followed by a large siyum in Europe and an unprecedented gathering in South Africa. The culmination of the world siyumim will be a gigantic siyum in the Prudential Center in the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Exciting details about these upcoming programs will be shared at the melava malka on motzoei Shabbos.

The Back-scene Backbone of Lomdei Dirshu

At the convention there will also be a comprehensive women’s program catered especially to the wives of the lomdei Dirshu. Indeed, every person present at the convention is a person who has shown deep dedication to limud haTorah. The men show that dedication by learning and chazering every day, day in and day out, and then taking monthly tests over a protracted amount of time. Similarly, every Dirshu wife displays mesiras nefesh for her husband’s learning and spiritual ascent by enabling him to devote tremendous amounts of time to his daily learning and repeated reviews so that he will know the material sufficiently to earn an exemplary mark on the test. This often does not come easily. It frequently means sacrificing the help of a husband in the most hectic of times, such as the morning rush to school or the evening bedtime crunch. That is why Dirshu siyumim and Shabbos conventions always have an important place for Dirshu wives, true partners in the Torah success of their husbands.

One of the highlights of previous conventions has been the unique shailos and teshuvos session on Friday night after the seudah with the Skverer Dayan, Rav Yechiel Michel Steinmetz, shlita. Questions that span literally the entire gamut of halacha are posed to the dayan who, with his encyclopedic knowledge, answers them all comprehensively, and often with a good dose of humor as well.

The Uniqueness of the Dirshu Convention

At the previous Dirshu Shabbos Chizuk L’lomdei Torah, it was Rav Steinmetz who encapsulated what he saw as the uniqueness of the Dirshu convention saying, “A unique koach of Dirshu is that it not only gives a person Olam Habaah, it also gives a person phenomenal Olam Hazeh! Where else can you have a convention where, after a moving oneg Shabbos followed by going to sleep at 1:00 a.m., the next morning at 5:00 a.m., one hears a resounding kol Torah in the beis medrash? Where do you have a convention 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?!”

The tremendous hisorerus and encouragement of the Gedolim comes as Dirshu is preparing for its many worldwide siyumim next year. Before that, however, on Shabbos Parshas Bo, the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut will be transformed this Shabbos into a giant beis medrash; a beis medrash filled with limud haTorah and a beis medrash celebrating the unique simchas haTorah of thousands who are being mesayem Chelek Gimmel of Mishnah Berurah in Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program.

After a previous Dirshu convention, Dirshu received a letter from the wife of one of its lomdim expressing her feelings about how limud haTorah with a plan has transformed their lives. “…I would like to share what Dirshu and the Shabbos mean to us. There is no way we can ever express the depth of our gratitude. While my husband, a kollel yungerman, always admired his father who is a great masmid, he didn’t think he was capable of doing the same. At the first Dirshu Shabbos when my husband saw yungeleit just like him becoming Shas Yidden and being tested on the entire Shas, he came home determined to do the same! Since that Shabbos every moment in our life has become a treasure, life is a rush of excitement!

“Another amud, another DafBaruch Hashem, my husband makes a siyum so often that my two-year old confuses the word siyum and Shabbos seudah. A seudah with a siyum is such a thrill as the children march into the dining room with a special dish while singing a niggun in honor of the siyum…. Although I never imagined I would leave my children behind for a Shabbos, this Shabbos is different. My children treasure the memory of ‘The Shabbos that Totty and Mommy went to learn how to learn more Torah!’