SALUTE TO THE DAF YOMI
- The Page-A-Day program for studying the Talmud
Jump into a party on the Long Island
Railroad. Click here.
Editor's Note: These articles were written in 1997 and date JewishAmerica as being one of the early Jewish web sites on the Internet. We praise the Daf Yomi Program and those who participate. We go on to report on the international celebration of completing for the tenth time the study of the entire Talmud, held in Madison Square Garden on September 28 1997. Since then we celebrated the eleventh, also in the Garden on March 2nd, 2005. And we came together again, this time in MetLife Stadium on August 1, 2012. As always, we were privileged to be with the Giants - those who made it through the seven-and-a-half-year cycle, those who somehow kept the pace day after day for 2,711 days. And those in MetLife were not alone, as the event was linked and broadcasted live to 59 locations throughout America and to 21 locations around the world.
The next Siyum is scheduled for January 1, 2020, please G-D in Jerusalem. But in the event that we will still be scattered throughout the globe, MetLife is booked.
DAF YOMI & HOLY
SMOKE FROM HAWAI'I
From the pages of Ask Jewish America.
>I am very interested in doing that here with our small congregation in
>Hawai'i. Would it be possible to forward the titles/editions of the >Talmud that
are used for Daf Yomi?
>Mahalo nui (thanks!) and todah rabah for any information you can >provide.
Glad to hear from you!
I'm happy to provide you with a phenominal resource.
The Torah Communication Network organization has just announced two products.
One is a series of CD-Roms that contain the entire text of the Talmud PLUS a
recording of an hour-long class on each page. Cost for the first volume (Brachos) is TEN
DOLLARS plus shipping. (This is an introductory price.)
The next product is a set of fourteen CD-Roms with the lectures, only. This is
seven-and-a-half years of daily lectures. They are selling (giving) it away for $99 plus
This fine organization also has a packaged dial-up phone system that is being
used in several communities througout America. Subscribers dial up and can listen to Torah
classes and stories on demand. This costs around 15K.
Their phone number is (718) 436-4999. Fax is 435-0191.
Their address is Torah Communications Network
1618 43rd st. Brooklyn, N.Y.
>SUCH A DEAL! Are both Hebrew and English supported on the above >CD-ROM
product? How many additional CDs are there?
>> The next product is a set of fourteen CD-Roms with the lectures, >>only.
This is seven-and-a-half years of daily lectures. They are selling >>(giving) it
>> away for $99 plus shipping.
>HOLY SMOKE! That
indeed is a giveaway! Could you point me to the >URL that has ordering information?
They have a picture of each page and the lecture is coordinated with the text.
The lines that the speaker is talking on are hilighted. It's out of this world!
For this price, don't ask. Just grab one and see for yourself.
They don't have a web site. You have to call them and order by phone.
I don't know what the subsequent volumes will cost.
All the best from JewishAmerica
Whether you know it or not tens of thousands of people from all walks of life
study are marching through the Babylonian Talmud and they study each day another page.
On the night of September 28 1997, seventy-thousand people were linked together
by satellite and they celebrated the completion of a seven-and-a-half year study cycle.
For the tenth time in recent history, the Jewish people concluded the last book of the
Talmud and began the first.
I saw the whole thing in New York, at Madison Square Garden. I joined in with
hundreds of people to dance around the arena. It was so very uplifting.
Civilizations and cultures have burned and banned the Babylonian Talmud. They
have also burned and banished both its students and its people.
The Jewish people and the Babylonian Talmud have together survived many
holocausts over the past fourteen centuries.
Every speaker and entertainer had a beard and looked like the Talmud Jew that
Hitler tried so very hard to destroy.
They all wore large black hats and represented a people that are persecuted and
maligned down to this very day.
I felt connected to the survival of the Jewish people. I felt connected to
Mount Sinai and the thirty-three centuries in-between.
I also felt very connected to truth and great strength.
On the very next day I searched the Internet for news coverage of this event. I
searched for Talmud and with the exception of the New York Times, I found
nothing on the major sites.
Shame on: Reuters, PR Newswire, the Chicago Tribune, CNN, the Los Angeles
Times, MSNBC, the San Jose Mercury News, USA TODAY, and the Washington Post.
I did find something on a secular-Jewish news site. It ranked third-place,
after the usual news about Mr. Netanyahu and Arafat. It read: "Tens of thousands of
Orthodox Jews gathered in New York to commemorate the completion of a cycle of reading the
Talmud. The event takes place every seven years."
From the media it seems that the seven-and-a-half-year completion of the
Babylonian Talmud is not very significant.
To me, the coverage and/or the lack of coverage is as great a proof of the
truth of Mount Sinai as is my having been at Madison Square Garden on September 28 to see
the Tenth Completion of the Babylonian Talmud.
Im still holding onto both my faith and the ticket stub.
I hope to see you at the Garden in 2005.
A reader sent JewishAmerica the following message in response to the above
> Do you not hope to be in Jerusalem by then?
We responded with the following:
They have a lot of nice gardens in Jerusalem
All the best from JewishAmerica
JewishAmerica salutes the seventy-thousand North-Americans who participated in
the tenth completion ceremony - the Siyum - of the Daf Yomi cycle on September 28th, 1997.
Masses of Jews around the world are united in this marathon study of the same
page of Talmud daily through the program, which serves, in effect as a global 'Yeshiva
without walls.' Each cycle takes seven and a half years to complete.
People from all walks of life study the Daf, including professionals,
businessmen, and students. Their dedication is impressive.
A Californian who was on a conference call to arrange a satellite hookup
apologized for his abrupt absence from the line, later explaining that he was calling from
the hospital where his wife was in labor. In Boston, as the local minimum age for
attendance of the local Siyum was being discussed, a university student stood up and
related how his experience as a then-eighth-grader in the previous Siyum had changed his
The Daf Yomi was initiated in Vienna in 1923 at the First World Congress of
Agudath Israel by the famed Rabbi Meir Shapiro.
Satellite transmission of the completion celebrations linked the enthusiasts in
the following cities:
||Los Angeles, California
||Mexico City, Mexico
||Miami Beach, Florida
||Rochester, New York
||San Antonio, Texas
||Silver Spring, Maryland
For further information, contact Rabbi Avi
Shafran, (212) 797-9000
A Historic Demonstration of Honor for Torah: The Tenth Daf Yomi Siyum
by A. Leib Yowza for the Yated Neeman
Few ideas are realized as powerfully or as meaningfully as Rav Meir Shapiro's was on
In what may well have been the largest united gathering of Jews ever in the Western
hemisphere, an estimated 70,000 assembled in two large venues in the New York area and
over thirty others across the North American continent to honor Torah.
Their vehicle was the Tenth Siyum HaShas of the Daf Yomi. Bodies and Souls
Manhattan's Seventh Avenue has not likely often been associated with tefilla, but it
had its moment in the Jewish spiritual sun on Sunday afternoon, when over 25,000 Jews
turned toward it for Mincha at New York's Madison Square Garden and adjacent hall. The
tens of thousands of bodies pivoted as one in the indicated direction, though the hearts
within them were focused on a point considerably farther eastward than the midtown
"The Garden", along with the Nassau Coliseum in the New York area and
sites in 35 North American cities from coast to coast (as well as other large Siyum
celebrations in locations like Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Melbourne, Australia)
all linked by satellite transmission to the New York-area sites were astonishingly
transformed from massive entertainment complexes into equally massive places of Torah,
tefilla and teshuva. Tens upon tens of thousands of Jews from varied backgrounds and a
wide array of communities expressed their dedication to their spiritual heritage in an
unprecedented demonstration of the unity accessible, eternally and exclusively, through
commitment to Torah.
That, after all, was Rav Shapiro's vision when he introduced his monumental
"page a day" limud Gemara program at the First Knessiah Gedolah of the Agudas
Yisroel World Organization in 1923: to unite Jews world-wide through their daily study of
the same page of the Talmud the life-blood of K'lal Yisroel. The "Lubliner Rav"
may or may not have foreseen a world where bustling business districts in major
metropolitan areas would harbor office-oases of Daf Yomi-study during lunch-breaks; or one
where Jews traveling to virtually any of the earth's continents would be able to find
study groups "holding on" precisely the same daf as those at their points of
origin; or one where telephone Daf Yomi shiurim would carry "the Daf" to the
four corners of the earth. But his vision and determination bore the seeds of a glorious
and multi-branched tree.
Sunday night's multiple convergences of Jews nationwide and world-wide a host of
independent celebrations took place in European cities and, of course, in Eretz Yisroel as
well marked the completion of the tenth cycle of Daf Yomi. The Talmud-study program has
persevered throughout the myriad trials of the past 74 years and grown exponentially over
its past several cycles.
That growth was everywhere in evidence at Sunday's Siyum-celebration, organized and
sponsored by the Daf Yomi Commission of Agudas Yisroel of America, which promotes the
study of Daf Yomi and provides a number of varied services to students of "the
The unprecedented gatherings mobilized governmental agencies to do their part to
assist and protect the celebrants. Security was high, with dozens of "New York's
finest" patrolling the area outside the New York-area Siyum sites, and anti-terrorism
technology and personnel deployed within. To accomodate the large numbers of Siyum
celebrants pouring into Manhattan, moreover, construction on the subway system's
"B-line" which had caused the line's weekend service to be suspended was
canceled for "Siyum Sunday". Additional train service by the Long Island
Railroad was put in place as well for the Siyum afternoon and evening.
- A Focus of Hearts on Cholei Yisroel
At the start of the program following a tefillas Mincha that was described by
participants as "powerful" and "awe-inspiring" Honorary Siyum HaShas
Chairman Rabbi Chaskel Besser welcomed the unprecedented Jewish presence at Madison Square
The chairman of the program at "the Garden" was Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer,
Rav, Kehillas Bais Avrohom (Monsey), who began the evening's proceedings by calling upon
the Vyelepoler Rov, Rabbi Yosef Frankel (Rav, Khal Bnei Shloima Zalman) to lead the large
kehilla in "the Garden" and all satellite-linked sites in the recitation of
Tehillim on behalf of the cholim of Klal Yisroel. Rabbi Nosson Scherman, General Editor of
Mesorah Publications, was the chairman of the Nassau Coliseum event and introduced the
Tehillim-recitation before the equally impressive Jewish convergence at that site.
The soulful strains of Avinu Av Horachamon (sung by Yisroel Wulliger at the Garden
and by Dov Levine at the Coliseum) only intensified the prayerful atmosphere.
- Setting the Tone for the Simcha
Rabbi Feuer then introduced Rabbi Moshe Sherer, president of Agudas Yisroel of
America, who extended personal greetings to the assemblage. Sounding a theme tht was to be
emphasized repeatedly during the evening's addresses, Rabbi Sherer pointed out how the
Nazis, y'mach shmom, had recognized that the "Talmud-lehrers" were the greatest
threat to their diabolical plans to obliterate the Jewish people, chas v'sholom; and how a
celebration of this magnitude half-a-century later was the most eloquent testimonial to
the eternity of the am Hashem.
The opening address was delivered by Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe, who
spoke movingly of the extraordinary simchas haTorah represented by the Siyum HaShas. The
Rebbe concluded his remarks with an English-language embrace of, and tribute to, the
numerous ba'alei teshuva who have joined the Torah community's ranks in recent years and
have contributed so much to the community's growth.
The actual Siyum of Shas was rendered by Rabbi Mechel Silber, Rosh HaYeshiva,
Yeshivas Zvhil, Yerushalayim, and, in his role as a Daf Yomi Maggid Shiur for the
International Dial-A-Daf and Torah Tapes project, the Rebbe of countless Daf Yomi
talmidim. He prefaced his remarks with poignant comments about, among other things, how
what may seem impossible like completing Shas through the Daf Yomi can turn out to be, in
truth, within one's reach. Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva Beis Meir and
Rav, Telshe Alumni Minyan, recited the special Siyum-Kaddish.
The joy of the occasion at the Garden and in the Coliseum and no doubt every other
place focused on the Siyum was palpable. With Reb Abish Brodt and Reb Dov Levine leading
the respective celebrants at the Garden and the Coliseum in spirited singing of Siman Tov
and other nigunim, time seemed to stand still as the sounds of melodic voices, clapping
hands and dancing feet reverberated through the halls. The entirety of Shas had been
completed by many thousands once again. The moment most personally belonged to all the
dedicated talmidim of the Daf, but everyone present shared fully in their well-earned
Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld (the Mattesdorfer Rov) and Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Horowitz
(the Bostoner Rebbe Boston and Har Nof) then delivered divrei bracha, at the Garden and
the Coliseum respectively; they were followed again in each respective location by Rabbi
Yaakov Weinberg, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshivas Ner Yisroel (Baltimore) and Rabbi Yosef
Harari-Raful, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva Ateret Torah.
Rabbi Elya Svei, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva of Philadelphia, then addressed the
assemblage. Limud haTorah, the Rosh HaYeshiva explained, places lofty demands on an
individual demands that he become a transformed person, on whose actions, speech, dress
and demeanor reflect the holiness he has imbibed through his connection with the d'var
- Ethereal Words, Ethereal Medium
Nassau Coliseum had the honor of hosting the Haschala of Shas anew and that of the
presence of Rabbi Avrohom Pam, Rosh HaYeshiva, Mesivta Torah Vodaath, who prefaced his
learning of the first Mishna in Massechta Berachos with inspiring words of encouragement
to those contemplating joining the growing ranks of lomdei haDaf. The Madison Square
Garden site and all the others across the continent were part of Rabbi Pam's shiur as
well, through the modern technology of satellite transmission. Ethereal words reached tens
upon tens of thousands through an ethereal medium.
The Kaddish that followed, chanted by Reb Michoel Tenenbaum a survivor of Churban
Europe and talmid of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin was l'zecher nishmas the six million
kedoshim of Churban Europe; the honor of their memory has been an integral part of the Daf
Yomi Siyum HaShas, on the decision of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, since 1975.
Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Halberstam, the Klausenberger Rebbe, and Rabbi Yissocher Frand,
Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Ner Yisroel (Baltimore), then addressed the gatherings at the
Garden and Coliseum respectively. Rabbi Halberstam whose father, zt"l, one of the
heroic figures of the war years and beyond, had addressed those assembled at the Eighth
Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas spoke emotionally of the letters of the Holy Torah, as exemplified
by the phenomenal growth of the Daf Yomi program in the aftermath of the destuction of
European Jewry. Rabbi Frand stressed the power of constancy in limud Torah and spoke of
the pivotal role of the wives of Daf Yomi talmidim in assuring that their husbands
maintain their commitment.
The evening's concluding address was delivered by Rabbi Mattisyohu Solomon,
Mashgiach Ruchani, Gateshead Yeshiva (England), soon to become Mashgiach of Beth Medrash
Govoha (Lakewood). Citing the ma'amar Chazal about how Hashem sheds a tear for bitul
Torah, the Mashgiach called upon all those present to commit themselves to help drying
Hashem's tears through greater commitment to limud haTorah in exchange for which Hahsem
will surely help dry our tears. Recalling the Past, Facing the Present
The assembled were galvanized by the heart-wrenching words of three Gedolei Yisroel,
recorded at previous Siyum HaShas celebrations the Telsher Rosh HaYeshiva, Rav Mordechai
Gifter, shlita, and, l'havdil bein chayim l'chayim , the Bluzhover Rebbe Rav Yisroel
Spira, at"l, and Rav Shimon Schwab, zt"l each of whom spoke of the holy martyrs
who died al kiddush Hashem at the hands of the Nazis, ym"s.
Reb Dovid Werdyger (at the Garden) and Reb Ben-Zion Miller (at the Coliseum), then
intoned the Kel Moleh Rachamim on behalf of kedoshei Churban Europe; Heshy Grunberger and
Yisroel Wulliger, at the respective locations, followed with moving renditions of
Recitation of Tehillim, on behalf of the safety and welfare of acheinu Beis Yisroel
in Eretz Yisroel, was then led by Rabbi Menachem M. Mandel, Mehahel, Yeshiva of Brooklyn,
at the Coliseum, and transmitted to Madison Square Garden and the other satellite-linked
locales as well.
A heartfelt message of encouragement for the North American Siyum HaShas arrived
from Eretz Yisroel several days earlier, in a missive from the renowned posek Rav Yosef
Sholom Elyashiv, who extended his warm wishes and hope that from the large numbers
"who are gathering at the behest of the Roshei Galvoso, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah
of Agudas Yisroel in America" will come a great Kiddush Hashem "and result in an
increase of students and observers of the Torah's mitzvos may the merit of Torah protect
Hashem's people from all woe, and deliver its ultimate redemption."
Ma'ariv brought the proceedings to a close. The experience of the davening and
mitzvah d'Oraysa of Krias Shma amid the rov am hadras melech whether at one of the main
sites or through the assistance of a satellite orbiting the earth was one that will
undoubtedly be remembered with a shudder of awe by over 70,000 Jews for many years to
It was an afternoon and evening of wildly different states of mind: pride and
determination, sadness and joy. But it was joy alone that sealed the night. A festive and
heartfelt "L'shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim" rang out, and echoed resoundingly at
the more than thirty other locations across the continent.
As the stream of celebrants poured into Midtown Manhattan from Madison Square
Garden, passers-by did double-takes. "What," they surely wondered, "had
possibly brought so many identifiably Jewish people to the Garden?" The most accurate
answer, of course, could only have been: Torah, the essence of our people.
A new Jewish year lay but days away, but Sunday saw the dawn of its own new Jewish
endeavor: a fresh fulfillment of Rav Meir Shapiro's dream for Jewish learning and Jewish
unity the 11th cycle of the Daf Yomi!
Daf Yomi Group on Long Island Railroad Celebrates
Siyum After 7 ½ Years
When Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the "Lubliner Rov", introduced the concept
of Daf Yomi at the first World Congress of Agudath Israel nearly 76 years ago, the example
he gave of the potential Torah-camaraderie that lay in the Daf Yomi "Page-a-Day"
Talmud-study program was of two Jewish strangers traveling on a train who discover that
they are bonded by their study of the very same page of Talmud that day.
Rabbi Shapiro's vision has become a reality countless times over the years, not
only in trains, but in buses, on airplanes and in myriad public places.
In recent years, though, a train has indeed been the site not just of random
Daf Yomi learning encounters, but of an ongoing Daf Yomi class.
Commuters on the 7:53 a.m. Long Island Railroad train from Far Rockaway to Penn
Station have converted a car into a study hall on wheels, using the time of their
fifty-minute train ride wisely and well - for a daily Daf Yomi lecture .
This past Thursday morning, after 7 ½ years of weekday morning meetings, the
twenty Daf Yomi commuters were joined on the train by their families, friends and a number
of rabbis and other guests to celebrate their first siyum, or completion, of the full Daf
"Undoubtedly, the lecture on the LIRR is one of the most innovative Jewish
educational opportunities and is certainly unique," said Gedaliah Weinberger,
chairman of Agudath Israel of America's Daf Yomi Commission. "It would be difficult
to think of a more literal way to fulfill the commandment of studying Torah, in the words
of the Sh'ma, "as you go on your way."
With every square foot of standing room taken, many would-be well-wishers who
did not arrive early enough didn't make it onto the car specifically reserved for the
Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president of the National Council of Young
Israel and the regular lecturer of the study group, completed the final page of the cycle,
and Rabbi Chaskel Besser, a member of Agudath Israel of America's Presidium, then recited
Kaddish. Rabbi David Kadosh spoke about the significance of the occasion, which was also
graced with celebrated singer Abish Brodt's uplifting song . Breakfast was served in honor
of the siyum and a plaque was presented to the LIRR, thanking it for their understanding
of, and assistance to, the participants in the Daf Yomi class for the past 7 ½ years.
"This event is truly one to celebrate," said Rabbi Shmuel Bloom,
executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, which promotes the study of Daf
Yomi and organized the most recent Daf Yomi Siyum Hashas that united over 70,000 Jews in
Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum and dozens of cities across the continent. "It
is eloquent testimony to the versatility, mobility and indispensability of Torah
The Lubliner Rov's dream of the Daf Yomi's potential is certainly being
realized, as hundreds of lectures throughout the world meet every day to study the words
of the Talmud. Whether these study groups meet in a study hall, a basement, a bus or a
train, their participants are all helping to fulfill Rabbi Shapiro's vision, although one
particular train and its passengers have certainly made singular tracks on Daf Yomi