As 2020 began, many locals joined over 90,000 at MetLife Stadium, and thousands more worldwide, celebrating the 13th Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas.
YINR Rabbi Reuven Fink explained, “I started learning Daf Yomi 35 years ago. This is my fifth completion of shas. When Daf Yomi started in our shul, there was only ArtScroll Megilla and Makkos. I gave Daf Yomi every day, forcing me to delve into the texts on my own.”
The rabbi revealed, “Daf Yomi forces a person into dedication. If you miss one day, the next day, you have two Dafs to learn. It’s difficult to catch up. You can’t miss even one day. To me, the greatest benefit of Daf Yomi is feeling intimacy for God, His Torah and all the chachamim. If a person is interested, this is a tremendous opportunity, because shas begins with Maseches Brachos, which contains the most familiar laws and practices.”
This was Dr. Jack Bruder of New Rochelle’s third complete cycle. “I came to the realization that being a urologist was not enough of a tikkun olam, so I turned to Torah she’baal peh to get in touch with my creator.” Bruder learns with a group in shul and with ArtScroll. “I feel that Hashem is talking to me when I learn, and I can’t get that anywhere else.”
First-time completer and Stamford resident Carl Kaufman revealed, “I started over seven years ago at 77. When I’m away, I use some very good apps on my iPhone. I stayed on track with encouragement from many participants at CAS. I created an appetite to continue learning as much as possible.”
Joseph Feuerstein, also of Stamford, added, “I sat down in the Daf Yomi shiur one day, about 10 years ago, and just continued. Studying the whole Talmud has been on my bucket list for decades. I felt that to be an educated Jew, I should have read it and as the Mishna says the study of Torah comes before almost all mitzvot.”
This was Dr Jeff Cahn of Stamford’s third cycle. “I was motivated by the desire to learn and the goal of completing. If you look at it as a seven-plus year project, chances are that you will be overwhelmed and never complete. But, if you set aside 60 minutes per day, the project seems attainable. The commitment kept me on track. I also lead the group at least once or twice a week, so I needed to be prepared. The ArtScroll volumes have been invaluable to me. In this last cycle, I have made use of several excellent podcasts daily.”
Tully Auerbach of New Rochelle is on his fourth cycle of Daf Yomi. “There was a group doing Daf at YINR when I moved in and they kept inviting me to join. I participate in shul, listen to shiurim online (in particular Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz) on yutorah.org and I also learn/prepare the Daf at home. Staying on track becomes easier the longer one has been doing Daf. The routine becomes ingrained until it’s an integral part of your daily schedule.”
Auerbach added, “Aside from the actual learning, it is a unique pleasure to interact with a motivated group locally, and to be part of a worldwide community of learning daily. My advice would be ‘Try it!’ It’s difficult at first but, day by day, it becomes easier and more rewarding.”
At a private siyum Rabbi Shalom Rosner made for his own talmidim in West Hempstead, first-time completer Dr. Gary Berger of New Rochelle commented to Rabbi Rosner that, in our technologically advanced world, it’s incredible that he spent more hours learning from Rosner than any other teacher he ever had. Their learning spanned over 2700 hours together in many foreign and exotic places, but they had met in person fewer than 10 times.
By Judy Berger