Sunday, June 23, 2013

Daf Yomi

One of my daily programs in studying Torah is called Daf Yomi.   Daf Yomi (Hebrew: דף היומי‎, Daf HaYomi, "page of the day" or "daily folio") is a daily regimen of learning the Oral Torah and its commentaries (also known as the Gemara), in which each of the 2,711 pages (that is a two sided page or 5,422 sides) of the Babylonian Talmud are covered in sequence.  Under this regimen, the entire Talmud is completed, one day at a time, in a cycle of seven and a half years.  This program which was started by a Rabbi Meir Shapiro in 1923 is done worldwide.  The end of the cycle culminates in a worldwide celebration called Siyum HaShas (completion of the 6 orders of the Talmud).  In the last Siyum HaShas, 2 August 2012, an estimated 300,000 participants around the world celebrated.  It has come a long way since 1923.  It is interesting to know that so many worldwide are studying everyday and are all on the same exact page of the Talmud.  Wikipedia has a very good write-up on the Daf Yomi to learn more.

Why do I bring this up at this time?  Good question.  The Talmud, like all of Jewish scriptures is replete with prophecy.  More so than the Bible, the prophecy is told outright and is more easily discernible.  The coolest thing about doing Daf Yomi that I have noticed over the years is messages from Hashem.  How so?  Very often the prophecy is being fulfilled on the day that we are studying it.  In other words, there are events happening in the world that day that allude to the topic of that day’s daf (page).  I am always fascinated to find how Hashem talks to us in the most miraculous way.

That still doesn't explain why I bring it up at this time.  I know, be patient, I’m getting there.  On Shabbos, we started a new tractate – Pesachim.  This tractate tells all about the festival of Pesach (Passover).  Does that seem a little out of place since we celebrated Pesach three months ago?  I asked that question myself before doing the first Daf of the new tractate.  Then I read the introductory commentary from the Artscroll Schottenstein Edition of the Talmud and came across a very interesting possibility.  Here is the paragraph that sparked my interest:

The festival of Pesach (Passover) celebrates the central event of Jewish history: the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. The significance of the redemption is best evidenced by the fact that the Ten Commandments begin with the declaration: I am Hashem, your G-d, Who delivered you from the land of Egypt (Exodus 20:2). The very fact that G-d introduces Himself as the Redeemer rather than the Creator serves to emphasize his role as the Mover of history, not solely as its Initiator.

Does this hint to the fulfilment of the coming of the redemption – the Geula?  Is this telling us that all the Jews and the lost tribes will leave their present dwelling places to return home soon?  Being the eternal optimist, it sounds good to me.  I am not a prophet and therefore can only see the prophecy fulfilled after the fact.  But, it sure is exiting to speculate since the Daf Yomi has produced some very spooky results in the past.  Tractate Pesachim is 121 dafim (pages) long so perhaps we are talking about all being accomplished in the next 4 months (or sooner).

I do, however, encourage you to consider doing Daf Yomi.  The Talmud is such a good compendium of details on the Torah and the rest of Jewish scriptures.  To go through it one page a day with all the commentaries included, one can get the best overview of everything the world has to offer.  For me to tell you exciting prophecies that I find is interesting.  For you to discover it yourself is far superior and much more meaningful.  Since the goal here is to come closer to Hashem and learn His ways, Daf Yomi is an excellent way to get a general overview of it all.  You will not be a Torah scholar going through Daf Yomi, but it is a start to achieving the happiness and success in life that Torah study brings.  I have said that “Hashem does not judge us by what we know, He judges us by how we grow.”  Daf Yomi is an excellent way to grow and does not take very long (an hour a day is usually more than enough).  The most important thought is that Daf Yomi is very enjoyable and a very productive way to do something great for yourself and family.  It is a win-win situation.  See you at the next Siyum HaShas.

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