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Shulchan Aruch Project To Launch In Lakewood

shulchan aruch with r lefkowitz shlitaThe Shema Yisrael Torah Network of Yerushalayim under the auspices of Pirchei Shoshanim is launching their Shulchan Aruch project in Lakewood. The Shulchan Aruch Semicha Program, entering its 10th year, is designed both for those who work full time or part time. This includes individuals who are seeking structure and accomplishment in their learning and even full time Yeshiva students (Bnei Torah) and would like to learn Halacha on the side and do not have someone to guide them. 

In a relatively short span of time the Shulchan Aruch Project with very little promotion has spread to all corners of the earth with someone learning the Shulchan Aruch Project in almost every community and Shul in the world.  It has allowed thousands who work full time the ability to learn with  an infrastructure to break down some of the most difficult sugios in Shulchan Aruch and achieve unparalleled success in the understanding and application of the Shulchan Aruch.

smicha at koselOn a daily basis, members join the Chabura from as far as Sydney, Johannesburg, Paris, London, and even a group in Teheran- they come together at the end of their program in Yerushalayim in the winter or in various locations in the States during the summer to review and be tested for Semicha. It is now a week long event culminated by the presentation of the SEMICHA at the end of a Shabbaton for those who succeeded in their final exams.

The Pirchei Shoshanim project was originally founded under the guidance of HaRav HaGoan Aryeh Leib Berenbaum zt’l. The entire worldwide project is coordinated by Rabbi Fishel Todd of Lakewood and Los Angeles. 

When questioning R’ Fishel about the uniqueness of this project he commented that the structure of this project follows the pattern of breaking down very detailed areas of Halacha and making them understandable, explaining in digestible components in either English or Hebrew the P’shat including definitions according to the acceptable commentaries from the Taz, Shach, Sma until the Poskim of our day such as R’ Moshe Feinstein, R’ Shlomo Zalman etc. Many accomplished learner do not or cannot break down the subject matter into finite components thereby missing what the Halacha is trying to bring out.

As with all learning the Halacha is brought down from the original source, starting with Chumash (where applicable), Mishna, Gemara, etc. using all applicable commentaries as the Tur, Bais Yosef, Mechaber, Rama. Generally, two written shiurim are sent out each week with questions and answers after each shiur. Most who succeed have a Chavrusa local or long distance that they work with throughout the program culminating in the Semicha exam and week.

Whether one has been learning for many years or for a shorter time period, the Shulchan Aruch project can help you. The constant flow of shiurim generates a pace of learning similar to daf yomi. 

The shiurim which are presented in a reader friendly, easy to follow format are available in both English and Hebrew depending on the person’s preference. For those who are not so advanced, the shuirim in English translate the Mechaber and Rama then bring a synopsis of the Shach and Taz and later Achronim. There are also audio shiurim where the maggid shiur reads inside the Shach and Taz and explains them. The goal of Pirchei Shoshanim is to reach all of Klal Yisrael regardless of one’s background.

For those that have been learning many years and can go through the Shach / Magen Avraham and Taz on their own, there is still a need to point out the later Achronim which can be very lengthy. The shiurim bring the main points of the Pri Megadim, Chavas Da’as, R’ Akvia Eiger, Sidrei Taharah and others that one would not necessarily know to focus on. 

One of the many facets of Pirchei Shoshanim is that the United States Department of Defense accredits and recognizes Pirchei Shoshanim and its Semicha as an endorser of Orthodox Jewish Military Chaplains to all branches of the U.S. Military. What started out as children’s learning groups in many of Lakewood’s Chedorim has now grown to have the Pirchei Shoshaim’s Semicha  recognized  as the equivalent to a Masters Degree in the eyes of the Department of Defense. This is a prerequisite in order to enter the Army, Navy or Air Force as a Jewish Chaplain. 

With Pirchei Shoshanim becoming in essence the Yeshivisha entrance to the Military, it has helped change the way the Military views Jews and the practice of Judaism throughout the world.  The adherence to Halacha in the eyes of the Military has taken on a new meaning. Every frum Chaplain, according to R’ Fishel, changes the entire landscape of a military installation as the entire support staff of the base has to accommodate the Chaplain and provide him the ability to do his duties within the parameters of Halacha. Every effort is sought on behalf of the Military to make sure that when a Chaplain travels to Iraq, or Afghanistan or any other Military installation around the world that the travel is done during the week and that the Chaplain is provided with Kosher food and an appropriate environment to work within once he arrives at his base. Two alumni of Beth Medrash Gevoha, Rabbi Chaplain Captain Raphael Berdugo and Mordechai Edelstein both of the United States Air Force are endorsees of Pirchei Shoshanim.  Rabbi Berdugo, who is stationed at McGuire Air Force Base, recently returned from Afghanistan and was deployed for Chanukah while Rabbi Edelstein, who is stationed in Omaha Nebraska at Strategic Air Command, will be deploying to Qatar shortly. R’ Fishel cannot emphasize enough what a Kiddush Hashem it is when a frumC haplain displaying the Luchos (the symbol of a Jewish Chaplain) walks on base with a Kippah (which was not always allowed) and conducts himself the way the Torah teaches us.

A recent graduate, who was a former Navy Pilot and graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, became a Chaplain through Pirchei Shoshanim’s endorsement. That Chaplain’s previous role was as a pilot stationed on a aircraft carrier with tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. After completing his 3 year assignment in the main training base of the Navy near Chicago he will be moving to Norfolk Va where he will spend six months on that same type of air craft carrier. The Chaplain [R’ Aaron] told R’ Fishel that there are 5,000 sailors on that ship who could be influenced by this Chaplain. In addition, by an act of Congress nothing can be displayed above the wings of a pilot except the symbol of a Chaplain…i.e. in our case the Luchos.  It has been more than one time that sailors have stopped in their tracks when they see the wings of a pilot overshadowed by the fiery light of the Luchos shining above those wings.

In other ventures, the Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Project has become known as the main prep course in preparing to take the Rabbinute Semicha tests. Pirchei Shoshanim, through its main office in Bnei Brak and its http://www.limd.co.il/ website, is now spreading the ability of Hebrew speakers to learn Shulchan Aruch from the most populated Torah Communities in the world to the most remote ones. So many who have left the country or do not have time to go to a Yeshiva during their free time can now get the Shiurim in Hebrew as well as English and prepare to take the Rabbinute tests. The Hebrew speakers are all encouraged to take the Rabbinute tests due to their familiarity with the Hebrew language. The accomplishment  of so many being able to raise their level of attachment to Ha Kodosh Baruch Hu in this level of learning  is simply indescribable.

Another facet was achieved this past Rosh Hashana when R’ Fishel along with the Rosh Chabura R’ Channen was invited to Uman where for the first time in nearly a century an Attorney from Toronto received Semicha. At this event it was declared that others should take upon themselves the learning of the Shulchan Aruch so they too can receive their Semicha by the Tzyion of R’ Nachman in the coming year. Spreading Torah in the Ukraine couldn’t be a more fitting statement to the local environment.

Pirchei Shoshanim is not affiliated with any group but reaches out to all groups to bring them closer to the Ribbono shel Olam.      

What started out as a program geared for those who worked full time, professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and businessmen has now spread to include  avreichim, mashgichim, bachurim and Rebbeim. The need to have structured learning and goals applies to all across the Board. All those who seek to join this worldwide Chabura should visit http://www.shemayisrael.com/  to register or call Pirchei Shoshanim at 732-370-3344. “The cost is minimal in comparison to the results”, the organizer says. TLS.

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