Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch and Rav Dovid Cohen Shlita to Address Dirshu Event For Bochurim in Eretz Yisroel

Choice Excerpts of Advice and Chizuk from Rav Gershon Edelstein, Zt”l to be Featured

כ״ה בתמוז תשפ״ג – Jul 14, 2023

By Chaim Gold

HaGaon HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Slabodka Yeshiva, and HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Chevron Yeshiva, will be two of the keynote speakers at Dirshu’s “Seder Hachana” event, a critically important gathering for bochurim in Bnei Brak.

On Tuesday night, Rosh Chodesh Av, the two wedding halls that comprise the Armanot Chein Hall in Bnei Brak will be joined as one massive beis medrash of guidance, with thousands of bochurim who are graduating yeshiva ketana (equivalent to graduating twelfth grade in America) and going on to yeshiva gedolah (beis medrash) coming together at the very end of their last zeman in yeshiva ketana to hear words of guidance from the Gedolei Hador and Mashgichim on how to properly prepare for the transition.

One prominent Rosh Yeshiva related, “I wish I would have had such a kinnus when I was a bochur transitioning from yeshiva ketana to yeshiva gedolah.”

The History Behind the Event

Dirshu’s “Seder Hachana” was first held some fifteen years ago under the guidance of the famed Rosh Yeshiva to whom the entire world turned for chinuch advice, HaGaon HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, zt”l.

Despite the fact that Rav Michel Yehuda was in his 90s and already very weak, the venerated Rosh Yeshiva came to address that inaugural event. Not only did he address the event, but he remained for nearly the entire event listening to the guidance of the other Roshei Yeshiva as well. This indicated how critically important Rav Michel Yehuda felt it was for bochurim to be given the proper tools for the very significant transition that was to take place in their lives, a transition that would have long-term ramifications.

At that time, the event featured just a few hundred bochurim and was held at Kollel Breslov in Bnei Brak, a moderate sized beis medrash. Now, well over a decade later, both large wedding halls of the Armanot Chen hall will be full of more than 3,200 seats and many hundreds more gathering in and around the hall standing.

Rav Nisson Kaplan and Rav Eliezer Ginsburg to Address the Event

In addition to the two keynote speakers, Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch and Rav Dovid Cohen, the event will be addressed by HaGaon HaRav Nisson Kaplan, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Daas Aharon. As in the past few years, a special guest rosh yeshiva from America will address the crowd. The special guest rosh yeshiva this year will be HaGaon HaRav Eliezer Ginsburg, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Zichron Leyma and Rosh Kollel of Mir, Brooklyn. The Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita, will also deliver words of chizuk.

Another much anticipated portion of the event will be the special panel discussion where many questions about how to be successful in yeshiva gedolah will be posed to the two panel members, HaGaon HaRav Bunim Schreiber, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Nesiv Daas, and HaGaon HaRav Chaim Peretz Berman, shlita, a Rosh Yeshiva at the Ponevezh Yeshiva.

HaGaon Harav Gershon Edelstein, zt”l, was a great advocate of the seder hachana in past years and addressed the event numerous times, giving timely guidance from his more than seventy years of experience as a maggid shiur and rosh yeshiva. Last year, Rav Gershon addressed the event via video. Dirshu will be showing choice clips from advice that Rav Gershon gave to the bochurim during previous Dirshu events.

The event will also be open for American bochurim learning in Eretz Yisroel who can call Dirshu’s offices in Eretz Yisroel at a special phone number to get tickets.

The Importance of a Proper Transition

The transition from yeshiva ketana, a very regimented system, to yeshiva gedolah which offers much more independent learning, is truly significant and can literally mean the difference between a lifetime of success in learning or challilah the opposite.

The marked difference between yeshiva gedolah and yeshiva ketana can confront a bochur with many nisyonos, many spiritual hurdles that he must overcome. There is much more independence, much less structure, longer sedorim and a greater stress on self-motivation in a yeshiva gedolah. Bochurim who are not careful and are unprepared for such an environment can find themselves regressing in their learning and avodas Hashem. It is therefore imperative that every bochur seek guidance from his rebbeim about how to properly utilize his time to the utmost.

For example, when a bochur comes to yeshiva gedolah for the first time, he will encounter a different structure of learning which requires much more preparation. In yeshiva ketana, everything is explained. The shiur is explained and presented to the bochurim on a silver platter. Any time a bochur doesn’t understand, he can go over to his maggid shiur and ask. He can easily obtain help. In yeshiva gedolah, however, things are different. A bochur is expected to prepare the Gemara on his own so that he can understand the shiur. To properly learn a Gemara with Rashi and Tosafos is not simple. What does one do?

The rabbanim will address this and numerous other issues as well, such as the dormitory. In yeshiva ketana, most bochurim sleep at home and even those who do not, only sleep in highly supervised dormitories. Suddenly, upon entering yeshiva gedolah, a bochur must sleep in the dormitory and share rooms with bochurim from varied yeshivos and diverse backgrounds. Among others, going to sleep on time and choosing the right friends are issues that require self-control and forethought. It is very important for bochurim, when they arrive, to consult with the mashgiach about any issue in the dormitory. After all, sufficient rest and associating with proper friends in the dormitory at night are the keys to success throughout the day.

Important and Riveting Question and Answer Panel with Roshei Yeshiva

Another important component of the kinnus will be the shailos and teshuvos roundtable sessions. Bochurim from all over Eretz Yisrael have already sent in hundreds of questions that they would love to hear addressed by the panel. Dirshu’s hanhala will select choice questions from all that were sent in. Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch will also address a few choice questions that were sent in to Dirshu.

In the past, extremely important questions were discussed at the panel, such as, “How does a bochur properly utilize the three hours of morning seder to prepare Gemara for the shiur when the Gemara consists of only a few lines? There is so much ‘reyd’ on each sugya, how should a bochur know what to focus on versus what is not relevant for his stage of learning? How should a bochur motivate himself to come on time for davening?” … and many more.

Dirshu’s Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein remarked, “It is a tremendous zechus to be able to hear from Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, one of the senior roshei yeshiva of our time and close talmid of Rav Aharon Kotler, as he gives over the mesorah that he received along with what he has personally seen from years of guiding bochurim. It is such an opportunity for bnei yeshiva to chap arein, to glean and gain from the wisdom of the ziknei hador!”