“Our festive day, it is a Chok L’Yisrael!” (Tehillim 81:4-5)
Inside the tallis and tefillin bag, or on an easily-accessible shelf of the sefarim-shrank, the beloved Chok L’Yisrael – or “The Chok,” as many call it - had always been a precious part of the Jewish library. Based on the Arizal’s directive, the Chok L’Yisrael incorporates Torah shebichsav with Torah shebe’al peh from a number of fields, enhanced by sections of mussar and halachah added by the Chidah. The many avid Chok L’Yisrael learners in all corners of the globe, throughout all generations since its initial appearance, fulfill Chazal’s teaching in Maseches Kiddushin that one should divide his life into three: a third in study of the mikra, a third in study of the Mishnah, and a third in study of the Talmud. This statement, in fact, is the source for the unique structure of this sefer.
For many generations, the “Chok” was a constant companion to those yirei Hashem who made sure to set aside time for Torah learning. A “Chok” shiur was never to be missed, the fixed launch of the day for Jews desiring to merit the Torah’s light. Some people would even set aside a number of “Chok” study sessions throughout the day.
Our generation has become especially fortunate with the introduction of the new, annotated “Chok.” A successful cooperation between the Torah Empire of Oz Vehadar and the Worldwide Chok L’Yisrael Project resulted in a magnificent masterpiece; a new annotated Chok L’Yisrael, newly introduced with its first volume on Chumash Devarim. From now on, each of the “Chok”’s sections will be supplemented by a clear and easy-to-understand commentary, the sefer itself beautified by many new columns and additions.
Toiling over this new edition were the members of the kollel avreichim of the Torah Empire of Oz Vehadar, headed by the gaon hatzaddik Rabbi Yehoshua Leifer shlit”a, av beis din of the Be’er Moshe community. Together, they pored over each section, clarifying and investigating each complex subject to achieve the beautiful result we now see before us.
Special significance is attached to regular study of the Chok L’Yisrael. The holy Rav of Shinova would explain the words of the Gemara, “chok lishna dimezonei” (literally meaning “[the word] ‘chok’ refers to livelihood”) that one’s study of the “Chok” can help him attain solid livelihood. The gaon Rav Mordechai Zeev Halberstam, av beis din of Tzanz Krenitz and president and founder of the Worldwide Chok L’Yisrael Project, writes in his introduction to this new sefer of an astounding yeshuah that he was witness to as a result of a new determination to set aside regular study time for the sefer Chok L’Yisrael. This incident led him to create the organization with the goal of disseminating the concept of regular Chok L’Yisrael study throughout the Jewish world.
In keeping with Oz Vehadar tradition, the new masterpiece was brought to completely new levels, now including beautiful chiddushim as well. The work was guided by Oz Vehadar’s reish mesivta, the gaon Rav Menachem Mendel Pomerantz shlit”a, who wisely led the editing process with tremendous deliberation and wisdom.
An additional daily segment for the study of the six hundred and thirteen mitzvos of the Torah, based on the Rambam’s division and taken from the sefer “Mitzvas Hashem” authored by Rav Baruch Heilperin z”l, assists the learners who study the “Chok” daily to complete their study of all six hundred and thirteen mitzvos every year.
Additionally, an edited compilation of essential halachos from the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, authored by the Rav Baal HaTanya, along with additional psaks from the Mishnah Berurah, were added so that the learners can review them every single year as part of their daily study program.
This is, indeed, a most exciting occasion for seekers of Torah, as the first volume of this new Chok L’Yisrael edition appears on the shelves; a magnificent masterpiece that will enable countless individuals to join the circle of daily learners of this holy sefer. No doubt, those who partook in this tremendous endeavor, along with all those who will set aside time for daily Chok l’Yisrael study, will merit Hashem’s showering of blessings, as well as a speedy completion of the entire set.