Transatlantic Dirshu Kinyan Halacha Siyumim Mark Transformative Impact on the World of Psak

ו׳ בטבת תשפ״ג – Dec 30, 2022

By Chaim Gold

Both Europe and America will be celebrating an incredible milestone this coming week with two major siyumim that promise to have a transformative impact on the future halachic observance of their respective communities.

The first of the momentous milestone events will be the Dirshu Kinyan Halacha siyum in London on Sunday, 8 Teves/January 1 at the prestigious Hall of the Aviation Suite, Thistle London, Heathrow, where the accomplishments of a grueling, five-and-a-half year Rabbinic halacha program will be celebrated. Each of the participants will receive a “Cheilcha L’Oraisah” certificate signed by senior poskim from Eretz Yisroel, HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shaul Klein, shlita, Rav of the Ohr Hachaim neighborhood of Bnei Brak and posek of the Mayaanei Hayeshua Hospital, and HaGaon HaRav Sariel Rosenberg, shlita, Av Beis Din of the Beis Din of Rav Nissim Karelitz, zt”l.

The following day, on motzoei Asara B’Teves, the American event will be held in the Eminence Hall in Boro Park to celebrate the accomplishments of the Kinyan Halacha mesaymim who live in America. That event will feature special drashos from among America’s most preeminent poskim, HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmentz, shlita, Skverer Dayan of Boro Park and HaGaon HaRav Hillel David, shlita, Rav of Khal Shaarei Torah of Flatbush, Yoshev Rosh of the Vaad Roshei Yeshiva of Torah Umesorah and Chaver Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel of America, and HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Meir Stern, shlita, talmid muvhak of Rav Shmuel Wosner, a member of Rav Wosner’s Beis Din and Rav of the Kehillas Yaakov kehillah of Bnei Brak.

The special guest speakers at the exclusive event in London will be HaGaon HaRav Aharon Schiff, shlita, Rav of the Machzikei HaDas community of Antwerp and HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Meir Stern, shlita, talmid muvhak of Rav Shmuel Wosner, a member of Rav Wosner’s Beis Din and Rav of the Kehillas Yaakov kehillah of Bnei Brak.

Rav Schiff is known as one of Europe’s premiere orators and his powerful drashos are always a deep source of inspiration.  

Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi of Dirshu, will also address both events.

These two siyumim will be coming in the wake of a gala Kinyan Halacha siyum in the Binyanei Haumah Convention Center in Yerushalayim.

Rav Moshe Shaul Klein: There Are No Shortcuts In The Kinyan Halacha Program

Last week, in Eretz Yisroel, leading members of Dirshu’s hanhala went to the homes of Gedolei Yisroel to invite them to the momentous event. At the home of Rav Moshe Shaul Klein, who designed the program more than fifteen years ago at its inception, the outpouring of emotion and simcha were clearly visible.

While there, the members of Dirshu’s hanhala shared a very telling statistic that sheds light on the unique role that the program is having on Klal Yisroel’s future poskim. They explained that after going through their records from previous machzorim of Kinyan Halacha, records showed that every participant who scored above 95% in their Kinyan Halacha tests is today a dayan serving Klal Yisroel by answering shailos for his fellow Yidden.

Rav Klein explained that although he is extremely gratified to hear those facts, he is not surprised. “The program has been built in a way that every participant must learn the sugyos and the entire siman with all the lomdus and the halacha l’maaseh. There are no shortcuts in the Kinyan Halacha program. We don’t skip anything! We don’t make short shrift of any area of halacha. Se’if after se’if, slowly but surely, over five and a half years, the participants amass knowledge and a mesorah in psak. Kinyan Halacha teaches the foundations of halacha.”

Rav Moshe Shaul then related that even though he had another event that he was slated to attend, attending the Kinyan Halacha siyum has priority because the to’eles for Klal Yisroel is so profound.

Hagaon Harav Sariel Rosenberg: There Is Great Need In Klal Yisroel For Qualified Morei Horaah

HaGaon HaRav Sariel Rosenberg, a son-in-law of Rav Nissim Karelitz, who was also instrumental in supporting and setting up the ground rules for the program, said, “The community of shomrei Torah and mitzvos is rapidly and tremendously increasing. There is great need in Klal Yisroel for qualified morei horaah. Hashem certainly wants all of those who have the ability to become morei horaah to do so. Kinyan Halacha is an ideal program to equip capable avreichim with the ability and hadracha to become the next generations morei horaah.”

Indeed, perhaps one of the most unique, important aspects of the program is the hadracha – the practical guidance for each participating yungerman. Each avreich receives a kuntress outlining all the material being learned for the forthcoming half year. The program also provides mareh mekomos and constant guidance in what to learn and where emphasis should be placed.

These special kuntreisim, compiled by some of the greatest poskim of our time, have served as one of the major catalysts in the success of the program.

Kinyan Halacha is a rigorous program to which 3,000 avreichim applied more than five-and-a-half years ago. From among the 3,000 that applied, only 1,800 avreichim were deemed worthy of being accepted into such a demanding program. From that 1,800 only 400 persevered until the end becoming true bekiim in halacha and achieving outstanding results on very rigorous, comprehensive tests on hilchos Shabbos, Niddah, bassar v’chalav, taaruvos, safek sefeikah, melicha, shemitta v’yovel, brachos, sefer Torah, tefillin and mezuzah, eiruvin and ribbis. All the material was learned by beginning with the Gemara, proceeding through the Rishonim, the Tur and its mefarshim, then Shulchan Aruch with its mefarshim until the poskim of our time.

Established with Guidance from Rav Elyashiv

Before the program’s inception in 2006, when HaGaon HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, was presented with the details of the Kinyan Halacha program by Dirshu’s hanhala led by its Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, he was extremely impressed saying, “…Learn [halacha] with Tur and Shulchan Aruch, for these are the essentials of [gufei] Torah.” He went on to recommend that an optimum way to learn halacha is by learning the Tur with the Bais Yosef’s commentary prior to learning Shulchan Aruch. In this way, one can discern how the halacha evolved into the final psak halacha of the Shulchan Aruch. Learning in-depth and following the trajectory of the halacha from the Gemarah through the Rishonim, the Tur with Bais Yosef and onto the Shulchan Aruch with its commentaries provides a person with the Gufei Torah, the essentials of Torah.

The upcoming siyumim in three continents, Eretz Yisroel, Europe and America, will be outstanding demonstrations of kavod haTorah, as Klal Yisroel, led by the Gedolei Yisroel welcome a cadre of Klal Yisroel’s future morei horaah and poskim to the fold.