The Daf’s Quiet Triumph

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9 Responses

  1. exdafyomiattender says:

    Kol hakavod to the Agudah for putting on a event that was not intended to be divisive-and appears to be a kiddush hashem. Having said that I’m one who did the daf for a little more than a cycle-spent about 3 hours a day on it-i hr preparing, i r shiur and i hr chazara. When I arrived at Kodashim the next cycle-I realized I didn’t remember a thing. I get far more out of shiurim that are not daf oriented. The problem is that the daf shiurim are Ok for the first Amud-but then to make the daf-they stop being limud hatorah-but the magid shiur has to daven the 2nd amud. I get much more out of 2 parsha shiurim that I go to most weeks eg in my case R. Goldwicht live-and R. Frand on satellite-I can remember far more of Rav Frands lectures than I could remember the daf. Gemarrah was never intended to be studied exclusively-by people who are not fluent in halacha-instead of shnayim mikra vechad targum. The Art Scroll has made it easy for people to “study” Shas without effort. Of course, we all know what Chazal say about that. Unfortunately, I wish there were more shiurim other than the daf-didn’t the writer of I believe the Chayei Adam? state for people learning only 3-4 hours a day it should first be halacha-one must know what God demands of us lmaaseh-before attempting to learn chakiras. But certainly, the idea behind more learning is a kiddush hashem.

  2. baalhabayis says:

    “Some have criticized the Daf, because – they argue – many attendees would get more value out of a program in chapters of the Bible, Mishnah, or a slower-moving Talmud study class. While that might be a reasonable claim, Daf Yomi is self-directed. There are many other classes available – but students of the Daf recognize the value of both the daily schedule and phenomenal, yet attainable, goal of having at least seen every page of the Talmud. If they thought they would get more benefit out of a different class, they would go to a different class.”

    There is also something very exciting about being a part of a larger group of people learning the same thing, as well as the fact that one can know where the group is and pick back up if the seder is interrupted for some reason. Finding the right program of learning for a person’s stage in life and level of learning is not always the simplest thing to do.

    One recommendation I would make is to “tackle” Mishnah before throwing most of your time into daf yomi. As anyone who has learned gemara knows, the gemara assumes you already know the basic concepts and that you’re familiar with the mishah in “uktzin” (for example) when you’re learning a gemara in brachos (and vice versa). Learning the mishnah through with Kehati is an amazing accomplishment as well.

    Another amazing source I’ve found useful is the DVD-Shas from Torah Communications Network — audio shiurim on the entire Shas (55 min per daf) are available for $79. I listen to them on my commute, usually a few days behind the daf that I’ve learned from a gemara, and this adds a much-needed chazara element to the daf yomi that is indeed essential for better retention.

  3. Seth Gordon says:

    I’m missing something here. How do we know that Daf Yomi is promoting Jewish Continuity, and not just providing a service for people who would have remained Jewish with or without it?

  4. exdafyomiattender says:

    Assuming arguendo that part of our Mesorah is transmitted by Daf Yomi-then it helps promote Jewish continuity. Anything transmitting part of our Mesorah helps Jewish continuity. Seth Gordon’s point that it would not increase the numbers of those remaining Jewish is true-but so what. Daf Yomi to the extent it is effective should be for the already committed-it is not good outreach.

  5. Learning the Daf says:

    Yes, give credit where credit is due. The Daf Yomi, for all its real faults, is by far a net positive force for Klal Yisrael. And Agudah has been at the forefront in pushing Daf Yomi learning, so it certainly deserves our thanks for that. But contrary to your suggestion, there was much off-putting Agudah politics on display at the siyum as well. For example, would it have killed them to ask Rav Hershel Schachter to say a few words in honor of the occasion? With all due respect to the Roshei Yeshiva on the dais, Rav Schachter’s piety and erudition is second to none of theirs. Even putting him a few rows back with the “second tier” rabbonim was, to my mind, a lack of derech eretz to one of our leading talmidei chachomim. And what was with some of those speeches? Was it really necessary for Rav Salomon to take thinly-veiled potshots at Nosson Slifkin? Do I really have to believe in the efficacy of the remedies mentioned in Maseches Gittin in order to be a Torah-true Jew? And Rabbi Wachsman took a shot at Rabbi Slifkin as well. “We don’t look at Torah from different perspectives.” (I’m paraphrasing). Why not? Aren’t there in fact “ayin panim laTorah?” I love the Daf Yomi, but was disappointed with the Siyum.

  6. Seth Gordon says:

    exdafyomiattender: the “Continuity Crisis” that R. Menken refers to is generally defined as a decline, from one generation to the next, in the number of people who identify themselves as Jewish. This is independent of the question of how much of the Mesorah is transmitted from one Jewish-identified generation to the next.

    I won’t challenge the proposition that Daf Yomi is a good thing. I’m just not convinced that it’s a good thing for this particular reason.

  7. exdafyomiattender says:

    Seth: I agree with what you expressed in 6.
    I hope learning by the daf is not accurate in 5 because if he is the Agudah has to be careful not to slide back to some of the scarcasm they often used in the pre Shafran -Zweibel regime.

  8. exdafyomiattender says:

    Learning by the Daf: Your comment about Rav Schachter leads me to a comment-Rav Schachter is certainly among the top 3 YU Roshei Yeshiva-arguments could be made for R. M . Twersky and R. M. Rosensweig-but since both are close to 20 years younger they are respectful of age, But if one went back 40 years ago YU had Rav Soloveitchik ZT”L and R. David Lifxhitz ZT”L not even including Yibadel lchaim R. A. Lichtenstein.
    On the Agudah side from 43 years ago no one compares with R. A. Kotler AT”L or from 19 years ago R. M. Feinstein ZT”L or even R. Y. Kaminetsky ZT”L or how about R. Hutner ZT”L. Sometimes both machanot RW-Chareidi and MO should think of what we don’t have anymore.

  9. Shira Leibowitz Schmidt says:

    Many, many daf yomi learners could not do it without the support of women. My husband decided to make the new daf yomi cycle one of his highest priorities (previous cycle he went once or twice a week). Now the whole family is happy to arrange the family schedule so he can go every evening with nary a miss. This is a tremendous burden which we all feel is a privilege to bear. If the women in the family would also be going, there would be no “give” no elasticity in the family structure. I just wanted people to realize that going to a daily daf yomi takes planning by the whole family, including the women. It doesn’t just happen by itself.

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