Friday, August 31, 2007

Introducing: Daf Hayomi

The Braisa states that Rabban Gamliel related the following incident: I was once traveling in a boat and I saw a boat break, and I was pained regarding the Torah scholar who was in that boat. Who was that? Rabbi Akiva. And when I went ashore, he (Rabbi Akiva) came, sat, and judged before me a Halachic matter. I said to him, “My son, who took you out (of the water)?” He answered “A board from the ship chanced by me, and at every wave that came over me I bent my head.” From here the Chachamim said that if a person encounters evildoers he should bend his head to them. Rabban Gamliel stated that he said at this time, “How great are the words of the Chachamim that they said that (if one falls into) water that has an end, his wife is permitted, into water that does not have an end, his wife is forbidden!”

Reb Meir Shapiro introduced the concept of Daf HaYomi with this Gemora.

The time period, in which those Tannaim lived was regarded as one of the harshest for the Jewish people throughout their history. There were constantly decrees against the studying of Torah and the observance of mitzvos. Many people were not able to withstand these decrees. Rabbi Akiva stood out as an exception to this rule. He was able to return the crown of Torah to its glory and eventually, he established a Beis Medrash and had twenty-four thousand students.

Rabban Gamliel, upon observing this miraculous sight, wished to know the secret of Rabbi Akiva’s success. How was he capable of accomplishing such an astonishing feat?

Rabbi Akiva answered: It was the “Daf shel sefinah,” the board from the ship that chanced by me. It is the establishment of the Daf HaYomi that brought about this change. The inspiration of all the Jews in the entire world to study the same page of Gemora one day, and to continue with the following page the next day, that lifted the Jewish people from their rut, and instilled enthusiasm into the studying of Torah world wide.

The Gerrer Rebbe, the Pnei Menachem, said by the Siyum Hashas in Tel Aviv in the year 5735: One cannot begin to fathom the amount of Torah that was learned because of the establishment of Daf Hayomi.

The Gemora in Avodah Zarah (5b) states: A person does not fully realize and appreciate his teacher until after forty years. It is now forty years since the churban of Europe, and now we can fully comprehend the true value of learning Daf Hayomi.

The Gemora in Eruvin (13b) states: Rebbe said: The reason why I am sharper than my colleagues is because I saw Rabbi Meir from his backside. This means that he saw him at a distance of time since he departed this world. Chazal say: On e could not fully comprehend Rabbi Meir, but Rebbe said many years later that now he was closer to ascertaining Rabbi Meir’s words. It is only now, years after the passing of Reb Meir Shapiro, that we are able to grasp the brilliance of the establishment of Daf Hayomi.

May Hakodosh Boruch Hu give us all strength to continue on the path that Reb Meir Shapiro set for us; we should be zoche to commence and conclude Meseches Kesuvos (beginning Monday iy”H) and may we all merit to witness the coming of Mashiach bimeheira, Amen!


joshwaxman said...

"One cannot begin to fathom the amount of Torah that was learned because of the establishment of Daf Hayomi."

Fathom? Heh.