This week, an entire group of yungeleit will be taking the first Dirshu Kinyan Torah test in Venezuela! Yes, in Caracas, Venezuela all members of the local Kollel Avreichim will be taking the first Kinyan Torah test on the first 30 blatt in the 13th machzor of the Daf Yomi.
Caracas, Venezuela, may be one of the most exotic places, but it is indicative of something much greater and more momentous. It shows that there are people taking the Dirshu test literally in arba kanfos ha’aretz, all four corners of the globe; even in places that one would not associate as being hospitable to yiddishkeit.
Some 10,000 test takers in Eretz Yisroel combined with scores more across the entire world will make the first Dirshu Kinyan Torah Test a maamad of kavod haTorah, a maamad of ahavas Torah that is truly remarkable.
Major Metropolises and Tiny Communities Among The More than 300 Testing sites
One distinguished yungerman from Lakewood told this writer, “I never knew that reading an ad could infuse me with such chizuk – but when I saw the ad about the Dirshu Kinyan Torah test-taking sites, I was floored. Look at how Torah is spreading throughout Klal Yisroel. It isn’t only that people are learning which is reason enough to celebrate; but it is much greater than that. It is Torah learned with such dedication that one feel’s confidant enough to be able to take a test on the Gemara that he has learned daily for an entire month.”
He continued, “How can you not become emotional when you see that in places like Johannesburg, South Africa; Gibraltar; Phoenix, AZ; Milwaukee, WI; Cincinnati, OH; numerous locales in France; Moscow, Russia; Scranton, PA; Rochester, NY; Great Neck, NY and more than 300 communities worldwide Jews are coming together – to do what? To take a test on Hashem’s Torah!
Think about how many hours of learning that entailed. Think of how long it takes to learn each blatt, how long it takes to chazer and chazer over and over again, until a person is confident that he can take a test! The Chofetz Chaim writes about the immeasurable zechusim that a person gets just from learning one word of Torah. How many millions and millions of words, of blatt, of hours, of minutes of limud haTorah have gone into the preparation for just this first of some 100 tests on this machzor of Shas that we are embarking upon. These are the zechusim that those in the Dirshu program have and these are the zechusim that Dirshu has for facilitating this program. It is simply mind-boggling!”
American Gedolim to Grace and Speak at Testing Sites
Is it any wonder then that the Gedolei Yisroel from around the world will be signaling their tremendous simcha at the matana, at the gift of yedias haTorah with accountability that Dirshu is bestowing on Klal Yisroel by gracing some of the larger test locations with their presence? Is it any wonder that the Gedolei Yisroel will be imparting divrei chizuk on the test takers and imbuing them with just an inkling of the incalculable zechus they have by joining a long term limud haTorah program that will challenge them to learn, to know and to join the most impressive, ever expanding group of true Shas Yidden with which Dirshu is enriching the world?
In Lakewood, at the Lakewood Cheder, hundreds of Dirshu test takers will merit hearing divrei chizuk and divrei bracha from the Rosh Yeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoah, Hagaon Harav Yeruchem Olshin, shlita. Rav Yeruchem has been an unequivocal supporter of Dirshu, hailing Dirshu’s role in enriching Klal Yisroel with limud haTorah.
In Williamsburg, the Vienner Rebbe, Hagaon Harav Asher Anshel Katz, shlita, will come to observe the test and impart words of bracha. In Boro Park, the new, massive testing site of Ateres Chaya that was procured to accommodate the tremendous increase in participation will be addressed by the renowned Belzer Dayan, Hagaon Harav Shia Heschel Katzburg, shlita. In Monsey too, the marked increase precipitated the need for a new, much larger testing site located in Yeshiva Bais Dovid. The Monsey site will be addressed by Hagaon Harav Chaim Feivish Schneebalg, shlita Rav of Kehal Avreichim of Monsey.
The “Fire” of Torah Spreading in Eretz Yisroel
There is no question, however, that the most exponential increase in participation is in Israel. “Dirshu is on fire in Eretz Yisroel,” were the words of one prominent Rosh Yeshiva. In Bnei Brak alone, more than 2,000 people will gather in the giant Keter Harimon wedding hall, to take the test.
An insight into the great importance that the Gedolei Hador ascribe to Dirshu can be gleaned from the fact that the nonagenarian Ponovezher Rosh Yeshiva, Hagaon Harav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, will be attending and addressing the 2,000 participants. The Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rav Yisroel Hager, shlita, and Hagaon Harav Nissim Karelitz, shlita, will also address and participate at the Bnei Brak testing site.
In Yerushalayim, there will be a number of testing sites where close to 2,000 people will gather. The largest site will be the central Gerer Bais Medrash in Geulah. That assemblage will be addressed by Hagaon Harav Moshe Tzadka, shlita Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Pardes Yosef. It is important to note that Dirshu is blessed to include untold numbers of Sephardic bnei Torah participating in its myriad programs and has received the unstinting support of numerous prominent Sephardic roshei yeshiva and rabbanim. Rav Moshe Tzadka will underscore that fact with both his presence and his address at the testing site.
Kiryat Sefer is also one of the cities with an extremely high concentration of Dirshu test takers. At that testing site, the participants will have the zechus to be addressed by Hagaon Harav Aryeh Finkel, shlita Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir branch in Kiryat Sefer.
The Catalyst to Expansion: Dirshu’s World Siyum
Rav Shlomo Rozenstein, Dirshu’s Director of Communications in Eretz Yisroel, explained, “It is impossible to properly encapsulate into words the atmosphere created by the recent Dirshu World Siyum. When the world saw that over 200 people became true Shas Yidden during the last machzor, having taken cumulative tests on the entire Shas, it injected such she’ifos, such a longing and striving in thousands of yungeleit whose collective reaction was, “If they can do it, why not me!?” They too want to be mesaymei Shas and yodei Shas. It has created a kinas sofrim in the most positive sense of the word!
In fact, entire Daf Yomi shiurim – maggidei shiur with their participants – are coming together to take the test as one. The World Siyum has emerged as the ultimate mechayev, the ultimate motivator to increase yedias haTorah and to do it in a way that will facilitate retention.”
Rav Shlomo continues, “I will tell you the most inspiring story that I heard. There is a father who delivers a shiur every night – to his 3 children ages 10, 12 and 15. Each night after they return from yeshiva they learn the Daf together. All 4 of them will be coming together to take the test this week!”
“What Better Time to Start than Now?!”
As Dirshu embarks on the first Kinyan Torah test with more than 10,000 participants, the words of Dayan Aharon Dovid Dunner, shlita said at the World Siyum resonate. He said, “We have heard all of the wonderful things that Dirshu does; how those who learn with its programs have become Shas Yidden or proficient in halacha. They know that already, they have experienced it. What about those of us who have not yet experienced it? What about us?! Now, when the cycle of Shas is again beginning perhaps it is time to start learning in a way that will lead to “Talmudo Beyado?”
Boruch Hashem, it appears that Klal Yisroel has heeded his call!
The next wave, the next phase of Dirshu’s matana, Dirshu’s gift of Shas Yidden to Klal Yisroel has begun with a bang!