Wednesday, August 01, 2012

a simcha for klal yisrael

It's truly a monumental day as those who keep to the daf hayomi schedule have finished another cycle. Not much I can say that has not been said by others. The gemara says that Abayei would make a yom tov when a talmid would finish a masechta. R' Tzadok is medayek that it doesn't say he would make a party or a seudah -- it says he made a yom tov, meaning there was a certain "chalos" to the day. The Munkatcher goes so far as to say (and I have seen this elsewhere as well) that on a day when a siyum is made no tachanun is recited. So it is a special day today for Klal Yisrael, and considering how many days of sorrow we have, it's nice to have a day like today once in awhile. 

I have been meaning for months to write a post on the topic of learning for ba'ali batim but never seem to get to it. If you look through the letters and writings of gedolei yisrael of this generation (e.g. the letters of the Steipler, R' Shach, the Chazon Ish) and previous generations everyone has their 2 cents as to what the derech halimud should be, but it seems to me that most of the advice given is geared to bnei yeshiva. Let's be real -- anyone who is at work 8-10 hours a day + commuting time does not really have time for a bekiyus seder and an iyun seder and a halacha seder. That may work if you have two or three sedorim to spend in a beis medrash, but not when you only have b'koshi an hour or two. What should the program be for the rest of us not in yeshiva?  I have not seen any gedolim address that issue.  Daf yomi is an attempt to provide an answer. It is a limud for the "everyman," so that knowledge of kol hatorah is something possible even for a regular Jew to attain. True, it is very superficial knowledge, but is is valuable anyway and serves its purpose.   

Aside from knowledge for its own sake, a tremendous byproduct of the daf is the sense of chashivus hatorah it engenders. A shul or community that has a daf seder / shiur is making a statement: We hold Torah dear.  Is there any more important message than that?  When a family sees a father (and in some cases, a mother) who has dedicated himself to learn shas, you don't think that makes an impression?

Y'yasher kochacham to all the lomdei hadaf. 


  1. Anonymous5:01 AM

    >>> two...sedorim

    mitoch ha'choshech, devarim 5:20-- sedorim by night (also, uv'shachb'cha)

    mitoch ha'aish, 5:21-- sedorim by day (also,

    [& a case of dark & light intermixed (as prior to
    bereishis 1:4), in this His second cataclysmic
    introduction? sedorim bein hashmashos?]

    >>> three sedorim

    mitoch ha'aish he'anan v'ha'arafel (5:19)...

  2. First off, Y'yasher kochacham and mazal tov.

    The Gedolim don't address it because they seem to hold that everyone should learn/teach full time.

    The fact that Daf Yomi is thought of an "answer" for baalei batim is terrible, in my humble opinion. People don't come out knowing anything for the most part. It makes me very depressed to think that this is the end of the line. It can't be, unless we just say that the whole tachlis of baalei batim is to pay for the talmidei chachamim, and their learning is more or less symbolic.

    The Master Torah program is much better, but I don't know of any chaburas that do this in America. Is there any way for someone who actually works for a living to become a talmid chacham? Each day that goes by makes me more cynical.

  3. Actually I learned quite a lot from my Daf Yomi efforts. Not as much as someone who does it full time b'iyun, of course, but still quite a bit. No, we "simple folk" who do Daf Yomi don't know about how the Ritva disagreed with the Rashba's assessment of the Ramban and frankly, considering we're not poskim, it doesn't much matter. We love Torah, we want to learn it and with all the resources out there it's accessible to us like never before.
    You know what's not so onerous? One aliyah a day of the parsha with a good commentary, one daf a day of Mishnah Berurah and one day of Gemara. Gives one a nice education in Torah.
    And yes, there is a way for someone who works to become a Talmud Chacham. Ask Kehati, or the Margalios Hayam, for example.

  4. chaim b.7:30 PM

    >>>The Gedolim don't address it because they seem to hold that everyone should learn/teach full time.

    I think you are projecting here rather than reflecting what they actually say.

    I agree with Garnel. Of course you won't know every detail, but you will have a wealth of yediyos and know where to go to find what you can't remember. The are different levels of being a talmid chacham.

  5. Anonymous7:44 PM

    How does Daf Yomi shtim with the first simian of Shulchan Aruch? The SA there says that it is better to do a little with a lot of intention rather than do a lot with a little intention. The poskim there say that it applies to learning as well as davening.