Life Transforming Kinyan Chochma Mussar Program Set to Begin Sefer Orchos Tzadikim
By Chaim Gold
This 29 Sivan/June 18 could be a turning point for you!
It is a day that can transform your life from that of someone going through the motions of Yiddishkeit to someone on fire with Yiddishkeit – with ahavas Hashem, yiras shamayim and well-balanced middos tovos.
Today we live in a generation of segulos, old segulos, new segulos, segulos for this and segulos for that. In truth, however, age-old methods are the ones that are foolproof and have proven the test of time. That is where 29 Sivan/June 18, comes in. That is the day that Dirshu’s Kinyan Chochma program will begin the learning of the mussar sefer Orchos Tzaddikim.
Orchos Tzaddikim, a sefer written by one of the Rishonim based on the Chovos Halevavos (and much easier to learn than the Chovos Halevavos), gives a person the proper perspective and balance between his obligations of bein adam l’chaveiro and bein adam l’Makom.
One prominent Rav explained, “It is a misconception to think that Rav Yisroel Salanter instituted something new with his advocacy of learning mussar. The mussar works are from the Rishonim who preceded him. The Gemara is replete with mussar. What then did Rav Yisroel do? When he realized that people were not absorbing the mussar lessons from the Gemara and the mussar sefarim as they did in the past, he created a special, self-contained limud of mussar which he then advocated learning with fire and enthusiasm. Kinyan Chochma is a program that enables a person to build time to learn mussar into his schedule every day.”
In Dirshu’s Kinyan Chochma mussar learning program, a person can learn the entire sefer by setting aside just a few minutes a day and reap the dividends of a life full of meaning.
The impact those few minutes make on the day are colossal.
Indeed, just a few months ago, during the last week of Shevat, a special meeting was held at the home of HaGaon Rav Gershon Edelstein, zt”l, attended by the elder mashgichim of Eretz Yisroel, where Rav Gershon spoke passionately about the need to learn mussar and hailed the Kinyan Chochma program as an important vehicle to achieve that purpose.
The Zechusim… and the Pitfalls
Established at the melave Malka of the Dirshu Convention in 2017, Kinyan Chochma is one of Dirshu’s many programs created to enhance the ruchniyus of hundreds of thousands of Jews, all over the world.
What was the impetus behind the creation of this program?
At that Melava Malka, Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter explained: “Our generation has so many zechusim! Beautiful edifices of Torah that we have built on the ashes of the Holocaust! It is unprecedented. Righteous women who are moser nefesh for Torah and who raise wonderful families! Such indescribable chessed!
Still, perhaps in our generation we have been somewhat inundated with goyish culture. How can we access bracha if we are immersed in the tumah of Mitzrayim?
Yes, we have zechusim but to be an oveid Hashem requires tochen pnimi. To think that with a thirty or forty-minute, superficial seder or a five-minute daily dose we are yotzeh and then we are done?!
We must internalize the fact that, we are not American society. We are not a nation obsessed with acquiring material possessions. We are not a nation of jealousy, of greed, with a superficial veneer. We are the am hanivchar. We are the mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh!
Proposing a Protection
As a result, Rav Hofstedter introduced a program that can potentially serve as an antidote to the superficial host culture that has unfortunately infiltrated even the most sheltered of our communities. He said, “Therefore morai v’rabosai, achai vera’ei, it is our zechus to present a new program, entitled Kinyan Chochma, a daily limud of mussar and hadracha culled from various mussar seforim, Tomer Devorah, Orchos Chaim l’Harosh, Orchos Tzaddikim, Avos with the commentary of Rabbeinu Yonah and others…”
Rav Mattisyahu Salomon, the venerated Mashigach of Lakewood (may he have a refuah sheleima), hailed the program saying, “The obligation to learn mussar daily is well known, as Rav Yisrael Salanter explains at length in his sefer Ohr Yisrael, in the name of the poskim. It does not require a haskama. Nevertheless, because of its great benefit, the yetzer hara tries to find all kinds of excuses to deter a person from learning mussar.
“That is why we are so glad that the Dirshu Organization has included mussar learning as one of their daily learning programs. This will encourage people and make it easy for lomdim to learn mussar daily, to know mussar and then to absorb the lessons into their lives…”
A Source of Bracha and Happiness
Of course, learning mussar has the power to bring one closer to Hashem and change his spiritual life. What is less known, however, is that which the well-known mashpia, Rav Meilech Biderman, recently indicated, that learning mussar can also bring with it great bracha and happiness. “A person once came to the famed mashgiach of Mir and Ponovezh, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein, bemoaning the fact that he had not yet been blessed with children. Rav Chatzkel advised him to accept upon himself to learn a seder in mussar for ten minutes each day. The person accepted this advice and before long was blessed with a child. Rav Chatzkel explained that this was not a miracle. Simply, when a person accepts upon himself a positive undertaking, he becomes akin to a new person. He is no longer the same person that he was before. Thus, if it was decreed that so and so should not have children, the decree wasn’t said about the ‘new person’ that he has become.”
The Pnei Menachem’s Seven Daily Mussar Kabbalos
Gedolei Yisroel from across the entire spectrum have themselves constantly engaged in learning mussar and have encouraged their followers to do the same. The Pnei Menachem of Ger was wont to encourage his talmidim and Chassidim to make sure a day should never go by without learning mussar. The sefer Orchos Tzaddikim was especially dear to him.
He had numerous siddurim from which he used to daven. In each one, he wrote in the front page – seven things that he clearly wanted to think about while davening.
He started with a tiny introduction: “To try with the help of Hashem to remember [the following]. Most of them are from the sefer Orchos Tzadikim….”
- Hashem Yisborach has mercy on me more than anyone else who is merciful, and He protects me even when I don’t protect myself.
- Everything comes from Hashem. Any favor done for me by others is Him. All people are His emissaries.
- Every favor done for us is due to Hashem’s kindness. Not because we are worthy.
- It is impossible to add or take away from Hashem’s decree. Except through tefillah to Hashem.
- Hashem knows whether our trust in Him is complete. It is impossible to hide this from Him because it is impossible to fool Him.
- To make a conscious decision to constantly fulfill the words of Chazal, “Make His desire, your desire.” If one does not do this, he exemplifies the passuk that states, “For what is the hypocrite’s hope? …Will Hashem heed his cry? … [Iyov 27:8-9]?”
- To give thanks and praise to Hashem that He did not make me a gentile.
Anyone who has participated in the Dirshu Kinyan Chochma program has seen their quality of life, both material and spiritual, improve exponentially. Why not you?!
For information on how to join Kinyan Chochma and to receive a copy of the day’s limud, please call Dirshu at 1-888-5Dirshu or email email@example.com