Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Adar II 5765 - March 30, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
On the Margins of the Daf

By A. Lederman

With the completion of another Daf Yomi cycle dozens of new shiurim have been started around the country with thousands of participants joining for the first time.

Meanwhile a few new developments that emerged during the 11th cycle should be noted on the margins of the daf. With the technological innovations the world has seen over the past seven-and-a-half years, a number of new elements have come into play.

Developments include the many phone lines added to Kol Hadaf for all those who want to hear a shiur on the Daf Yomi by top maggidei shiurim any time of the day or night, and the captivating addition of the Meshivei Hadaf project, which provides callers access to a team of talmidei chachomim ready to answer any questions encountered while studying the daf or anywhere else in the Shas.

According to reports, during this cycle the lomdim included a group of young boys under the age of bar mitzvah who joined the adults' shiurim with stubborn persistence, not altering the study schedules at the talmudei Torah, yeshivos ketanos and yeshivos gedolos they attended over the years, and had the merit of through it all adhering to the Daf Yomi during their youth. Now they too took part in the joy of completing the Torah.

During this cycle daily shiurim were started at places like the Stock Exchange in Ramat Gan as well as large factories. Shiurim are held at the Kosel Maarovi, Kever Rochel, on commuter trains, at faraway vacation sites, during bein hazmanim and in various other public places.

The ranks of new Daf Yomi participants include traditional businessmen who decided to taste from the springs of Torah to satisfy a sense of intellectual curiosity. Some of them even changed their lifestyles and returned to their roots as a result.

Shiurim are also now available on computer discs for those in remote places or en route, such as passengers on long flights or people in countries without chareidi populations. Using their PC or laptop they can stay in close contact with the Daf Yomi studied around the world on that day. The daf can also be accessed via Internet for businessmen and for all those who, for whatever reason, cannot attend a regular shiur.


Divrei Torah tzrichim chizuk. Despite the blessed strengthening of Torah study in recent years, one of the generation's elderly mashgichim suggested we point out another viewpoint that sometimes gets lost in the midst of the great joy of completing the Oral Torah and the start of a new cycle.

In principle the Daf Yomi is not aimed at yeshiva and kollel students, who have their own programs of iyun and bekius study, but certainly whoever finds extra hours at his disposal — time outside the regular learning schedule — is perfectly welcome to join an additional learning framework that provides broad knowledge of the entire Torah.

The original Daf Yomi program was designed to set a fixed time for Torah: one hour every day free from all of life's other pursuits, an escape from the world of gashmiyus and far from the vanities of This World to delve into a daf of gemora, which brings brochoh to all who toil over it.

Baalei batim used to study the Daf Yomi between Minchah and Ma'ariv in the beis knesses or the shtiebelach, but over the course of time shiurim spread to all hours of the day. Today many set aside all of their worldly affairs in the middle of the day to study the daf.

The set timetable for the study of the daf led to the establishment of shiurim before dawn, on Fridays and on holidays and festivals. Hours that once vanished unnoticed are now filled with Torah on a daily basis, from the beginning of the Shas to the end.

Yet along with the enormous development that has taken place with the establishment of innumerable Daf Yomi shiurim the time has come to reflect and consider what direction we must take now.

People who suddenly rediscovered their old affection and burning love for Torah should not suffice with a single hour. These inclinations should not be left to lie dormant as these reborn Torah scholars rest on their laurels. Many people actually have more than a single hour of free time they could devote to Torah study or suddenly find additional time becomes available that could be set aside for Torah.

Many people place limits on the amount of time designated for Torah as if the study of the daily blat is quite sufficient and fulfills the obligation to study the eternal Torah—as if for them the study of the Daf Yomi has become a daily mitzvah like bentching or laying tefillin. The mitzvah is performed and then it is over and done with until the next day.

Whoever has the ability to add more time for other Torah study or even to dig into the daf in greater depth with Rishonim and Acharonim should not suffice with one hour a day as if this fulfills his obligation— chovas ho'odom be'olomo—to engage in Torah study.

The daf of gemora for which many set aside an hour every day shows there may be another hour or more they could set aside for Torah study. Now that we have arrived at this point we must press forward and seek it like treasure rather than feeling as if we have fulfilled the obligation of talmud Torah with this single hour, leaving the rest of our free time for the pursuit of mundane affairs.


And all of us must adopt and strengthen the takonoh made by maranan verabonon gedolei Yisroel shlita to add the study of halochoh—at least one or two halochos—which is an integral part of the Daf Yomi program founded by HaRav Meir Shapira zt"l, lema'an yeid'u es haderech asher yeilchu boh.

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