The Unbroken Cycle
Excerpts from an editorial in the March 3rd edition of the Jerusalem Post and one comment.
The closing of one cycle and beginning of another has become a major celebratory event, known as Siyum Hashas, in the Orthodox world. On Tuesday night participants filled Tel Avivs Nokia Arena, as well as New Yorks Madison Square Garden and Jacob Javits Convention center. Last night a special Siyum Hashas for English speakers was held in the Jerusalem International Convention Center.
The remarkable growth of interest in daf yomi attests to a renaissance of Jewish learning in the contemporary Orthodox world. The type of talmudic study it involves was once a fairly specialized endeavor for full-time yeshiva scholars. Today, much daf yomi learning takes place outside the study hall in private homes, business and government offices, and even on daily commuter trains to Manhattan.
The daf yomi also represents a far more authentic and positive form of the popularization of traditional Jewish study than the pseudo-kabbalistic mysticism currently being peddled both here and abroad among both assimilated Jews and naive Gentiles.
Talmudic study in some form or another is no less essential to Jewish cultural life than synagogue attendance, no matter at what level of Jewish observance.
"A daf is the instrument of our survival in todays stormy seas," said Rabbi Shapiro a century ago. And the survival of daf yomi itself, through each unbroken cycle, testifies to the enduring spirit of the Jewish people.
The above editorial includes the following:
The next step would be to see the growth of daf yomi, or some form of similarly dedicated Talmud study, spread outside of traditional Orthodox circles, and into the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism.
Ohrnet says a hearty Amen to this because we have faith in the Talmudic promise that "the light within Torah study will bring them all back to complete commitment".