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    A rare opportunity is coming our way this Shabbos, December 25th, with the study of a new cycle of the global Mishnah Yomis, starting with Masechtas Berachos. Thousands of smart growing people will begin learning two Mishnayos a day to finish all of Shas in 6 years.

    The learning of Mishnayos is one of the greatest protections one can do against the possible future punishments of Gehinom. Let’s face it! Most of us know that we are not lily white and liable to face the torments of Gehinom for a vast array of sins. Whether it is the grievous transgression of lashon hara, the serious sin of onas devorim / hurtful words, a lack of shmiros einayim / purity of the eyes, a deficiency in our Torah study output, or our tzedakah giving, there is a wide array of reasons why one should be frightened of the rigors of hell.

    The Medrash Talpios, according to the version of the Chid”a, reveals to us that Asher Ben Yaakov will stand by the doors of Gehinom and not let anyone in who has a regular diet of Mishnayos. The Ariza”l adds that Asher will also bring such a person to Gan Eden. This is based on the verse, “Mei’asher shmeina lachmo, v’hu yiten madanei Melech.” The Medrash Talpios says that the letters of the word Mishnah are the same letters of the word shmeina in the posuk of Asher. This points to the fact that Asher will be a guardian for us because of our Mishnah and the madanei Melech which refers to royal delights, means that he will bring the Mishnei’ic personality to enjoy the delights of paradise.

    The Bnei Yissas’char informs us that there are 528 chapters in Mishnayos. Five hundred and twenty-eight is the numerical value of the word maftei’ach, a key. The Bnei Yissas’char elaborates that this is because the study of Mishnah is the key to the final redemption, as is stated in Yalkut Shemoni in Parshas Tzav. According to the Ariza”l, we can add that it is also the key to bring one into Gan Eden.

    I believe there is a powerful allusion to Asher’s role as a champion of the Mishnah in the very beginning of Shas. The first Mishnah in Berachos which, b’ezras Hashem, we will learn this Shabbos, starts off with the question “Mei’eimasai korin es haShema b’arvin – From what time can we begin saying the evening Shema?” Reb Yehuda HaNasi, the author of the Mishnah, chose a peculiar word to start off Shas. The Gemora in Pesachim teaches us, “Tanna lashon kitzara nakat – The Tanna chooses to be terse and abbreviated in his style.” This is because they used to learn the Mishnah by heart. So Rebbe made it as concise as possible. Yet, he started off the Mishnah with the word mei’eimasai, which is very long form. It could have said eimasi or even masai. Why start with the elongated mei’eimasai? Wondrously, the gematria of mei’eimasai is 501, which is the same numerical value as Asher. I believe Rebbi wanted to embed Asher in the very beginning of Shas to let people know the great protection of Asher that they are procuring for themselves when they embark on a career of Mishnah.

    The Kitzur Shulchan Oruch extolls the virtues of Tikun Chatzos. There are formal prayers that the pious say concerning the mourning of the Temple at midnight. He then adds that afterwards one should learn some Torah. He further states that Mishnayos is the first choice since Mishna is the same letters as Neshoma-ones soul. Thus we see that learning Mishnayos is a real food for our souls! Another interesting benefit is that Mishna is the numerical value of 395 the same gematria as Parnasa ones livelihood for the study of Mishna benefits ones Parnasa!

    We must realize that even the lucky adherents of Daf Yomi never really finish Shas, for they don’t learn most of the 2 bookends, Zeraim and Taharos. By adding on to their learning diet, the study of Mishnah Yomis, they embark on a journey whence they will truly finish Shas.

    About 12 years ago, I began my first cycle of Mishnah Yomis. I am embarrassed to admit that it was the first time in my life that I ever learned Mesechtas Eduyos for, even though I had learned Zeraim and Taharos, Eduyos is a Mishnah in the middle of Shas which is not covered by the Daf Yomi cycle. How ironic that the Masechta known as Eduyos, which contains the cream of learning, is not studied by so many people. Adopting Mishnah Yomis will cure that.

    I have recorded the entire Mishnah Yomis on Kol Haloshon and you can enjoy it by dialing 718-906-6471. It is also available in audio on Torah Anytime. For the new cycle, starting this motzoei Shabbos, I plan on videoing it for Torah Anytime and recording it once again on Kol Haloshon. Sponsorships are available by calling or texting 718.916.3100 or emailing rmmwsi@aol.com. But, much more importantly, get yourself a set of Mishnayos (I recommend the new Mishnah Elucidated by Artscroll which is a true masterpiece) and don’t miss this opportunity. You will benefit from it forever and ever. In this merit, may Hashem bless us with long life, good health, and everything wonderful.