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Op-Ed: Lubavitchers Should Learn Daf Yomi

by Alexander Heppenheimer

This Yud-Alef Nissan marks a milestone. Numerous Jews around the world, in and out of Lubavitch, will be talking on that date about something that the Rebbe always “koched zich” in – the importance of one single mitzvah.

That is because, in the course of the Daf Yomi* cycle, they will be studying daf 39 of Kiddushin, which includes this mishnah:

“Anyone who does one mitzvah is rewarded, and his days are lengthened, and he inherits the land.”

(The following discussion in the Gemara – on 40a-b – also includes the famous saying quoted in the Rambam (Hil. Teshuvah 3:4), and which the Rebbe used to often cite, that if a person performs one mitzvah, that may tip the scales to good for himself and for the whole world.)

Noteworthy, too, is that Kiddushin 39 is the middle blatt of the Daf Yomi* study cycle. We might therefore say that the importance of one single mitzvah is the central concept of the entire Shas.

There are, thank G-d, several shiurim around Crown Heights following the Daf Yomi* schedule. This Yud-Alef Nissan, grab the opportunity to add one new mitzvah – adding to your daily Torah learning – and join us in celebrating this milestone and learning the second half of Shas! (And if you live elsewhere, there is likely a local shiur too; look them up.) Or, if you can’t make it daily, at least aim to do so as often as you can, and “where one’s thoughts are, there he is.”

The shiurim that I know of are at the following locations and times. (If there are others, please note them in comments.)

Beis Eliezer Yitzchok (394 Kingston Ave.): Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Lustig
Sun-Fri: 5:45 AM

Beis Eliezer Yitzchok (394 Kingston Ave.): Rabbi Don Yoel Levy
Sun: 8:40 AM / Mon-Fri: 6:30 AM / Shabbos: 1 hour before Minchah

OK Labs (391 Troy Ave.): Rabbi Don Yoel Levy
Mon-Thu: 3:30 PM

Cong. Anash (770 Montgomery St.): Rabbi Shlomo Holtzberg
Morning shiur:
Every day: 7:30 AM (except Shabbos Mevarchim: 7:00 AM)
Afternoon shiur: Sun: between minchah-maariv / Mon-Thu: after maariv / Shabbos: 5:45 PM

Empire Shtiebel (489 Empire Blvd.): Rabbi Alexander Heppenheimer
Sun-Thu: 8:30 PM / Fri: between minchah and maariv / Shabbos: 4:45 PM
Dial-in: 530-881-1212, passcode 791-743-296#

***

*If you’re sold on the idea already, feel free to skip the following. For everyone else, please keep reading.

“Daf Yomi in Lubavitch?” some will be asking. “What about the Rebbe’s statements about this on Shabbos Parshas Shlach 5748?”

Well, lo mashpia ani velo ben mashpia ani; Lubavitch is, thank G-d, blessed with many veteran mashpi’im – and of course you should have your own personal one – with whom you can discuss this. But herewith are some thoughts on the subject, some of which I have gleaned from conversations with chassidim who were present at that farbrengen and heard what the Rebbe said. In good Gemara style, let’s start with one point, ve-iba’is eima (“and if you want, I can say”) another one.

It must be noted, first of all, that the transcript of the relevant portion of this sicha that is floating around on the ’Net is not only bilti mugah, but was in fact omitted from the published hanachos (you won’t find it in Hisvaaduyos or in Sefer Hasichos). Thus, the wording there doesn’t fully reflect what the Rebbe said. The gist, though, is clear enough: (a) there should not be chalshah daato (a feeling of being “left out” of something vital) about not participating in Daf Yomi and in its siyumim, since various Gedolei Yisrael at that time disagreed with that enactment, nor did the Previous Rebbe direct the tmimim to join in; (b) the reason for this is that time spent learning Daf Yomi is time taken away from studying one’s regular daily studies – the ones that are a standard part of davening and those established by community leaders as needed, plus what one learns bemakom shelibbo chafetz: Mussar, Chassidus, pilpul, etc.; (c) studying Rambam every day is different, since that includes kol ha-Torah kulah.

(You’ll also find people claiming that the Rebbeim’s lack of support for Daf Yomi is because it is a project of Agudas Yisroel. Aside from the fact that there is not a single word to that effect in this excerpt, it seems grossly disrespectful to the Previous Rebbe and our Rebbe to suggest that they would oppose a Torah learning project for political reasons.)

So, then:

  1. There needn’t be a feeling of chalshah daato to start learning Gemara in this way. Certainly, we chassidim of the Rebbe who study Chitas and Rambam according to their daily schedules, and who learn “the chassidishe parshah,” etc., have no reason to feel inferior to those who do otherwise. (Nor do those who do study Daf Yomi have any reason to look down on those who do not. The Previous Rebbe already dealt with that type in his sicha of 12 Tammuz 5692, describing those who think that their Daf Yomi study is earning them “a whole new Gan Eden built for them in the latest style,” when in reality they are no more advanced than the yishuvnik of old who understood the importance of studying a blatt Gemara before feeding his animals…)
  2. Ve-iba’is eima: For those who are maskilim or ovdim, who indeed spend their time on darkei hachassidus and on daily studies such as mentioned in the sicha, why then of course those take precedence, and they can (and should) ignore the invitation above. But let’s face it – a person ought to think of whether his time is being well spent the way a chassid’s should be – or, to put it baldly, whether perhaps he is defining his identity as a chassid less by what he does than by what he doesn’t do. There are those of us who need some kind of motivation to change for the better. Perhaps what we need is to start with something that appeals to our nefesh habahamis as well – after all, finishing all of Shas is no small feat, and look at all the publicity generated each time it is done! – and mitoch shelo lishmah ba lishmah, in both the simple sense and in the sense that the Alter Rebbe explains in ch. 39 of Tanya (which we recently learned in Chitas). For the chassidim of yesteryear, such an idea – to learn Torah in a way that satisfies the yetzer hara – was (rightly) repulsive; for far too many of us today, it is rather a necessary and positive step in the right direction.

Perhaps, even, we can see this in the Rebbe’s reference to Daf Yomi as an example of “learning Torah liprakim” (in fragments). For in Hayom Yom (11 Elul) we are told that the Tzemach Tzedek – whose 150th yahrtzeit is now being commemorated – related that in Gan Eden “liprakim” is understood in the sense of the Torah “taking one apart” and possessing him. We are in great need of that kind of “liprakim.”

In another sicha – Re’eh 5742 – the Rebbe describes Daf Yomi (in a passage which, unlike the one from 5748, was published) as “connected with zechus harabbim.” It is my prayer that the rabbim will take note and join in this zechus, thereby adding the “one mitzvah” that may be all it takes to tip the scales towards that time when “lo yelamdu ish es rei’eihu… ki kulam yeid’u osi” – with the true and complete Geulah miyad mamash.

68 Comments

  • 2. Machaah wrote:

    The Rebbe was well aware of any possible response to his reasons for not encouraging Daf Yomi. Your personal interpretation is irrelevant. If a Lubavitcher= a chossid, and a chossid= someone who follows the Rebbe’s hora’os, then there should be no question as to the continued importance of doing just that. Learning Torah is never a negative thing, but as chassidim, there should be no question what path to take.

    • 3. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

      For the record, these are not my “personal interpretations,” but as I mentioned in the article, understandings that I have learned from one of our local mashpi’im (who also kindly reviewed the article for me before I submitted it).

  • 4. shmidy wrote:

    From my understanding (and having spoken to Elterer and knowledgeable Chasidim and Mashpiyim) the reason that the Rabeyim did not hold of Daf Yomi was/is because most of the people learning it use a 1. “specific amount of time” B. “A DAF” , in other word THEY ARE LIMITING THE LEARNING. In Lubavitch one does not limit a time or amount to learn (except in yeshiva( which one can add after seder)) as we can see (if you ask) how many of the elterer Chasidim learnt and finished Shas many times over…..

    • 5. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

      It is true that learning Torah “liprakim” is limiting, and it is also true that the Gemara itself (Sanhedrin 99a) has something sharp to say on the subject. However, as noted in the article, for far too many of us that “limited” learning is more than is being done in the first place, and thus is a step in the right direction.

  • 7. To the writer wrote:

    Do you have a mashpia ? Cause if so I’d like to meet him…
    If you have any brains you would never write such a article
    Hub a shaychis

    • 8. mario mendoza wrote:

      to post named ” to the writer ” yr nasty u have no respect at all to mr happenhimer ! you owe him a appology , becuse he is a good person and a nice person

    • 9. and mordchi did not kneel nor bow wrote:

      kol hakovod for standig up for what is right daf yomi is like the rebbe said is unacceptable

  • 10. ferd wrote:

    this is despicable! it 20 years after gimmel tamuz but it finally happened! why are we trying to integrate intothe yeshivishe community? we are chabad! if you want to learn torah (which of course is imperative to leading a jewish life) you can learn any torah… except for daf youmie which the rebbe so clearly discouraged.

  • 11. alex your off wrote:

    Alex
    I was by that Fargrbrenyan and it was very clear to everyone there that the Rebbe felt ” daf yomi iz nisht uzere a zach” so why promote it as a hachlata for yud aleph nissan of all things

    The fact that you find it in a non muga hanacha is because, as you probably know ,these are touchy subjects and the Rebbes message was to his chassidim i believe it was not muga specifically to avoid misunderstading amongs non lubavitchers

    The rebbeim never swayed for “political reasons” so the fact that the Freidiker Rebbe knew about it and did not participate or have his tmimim participate surely tells you that there are real reasons he didnt wanthis chassidim involved in this whatever they may be

    Last but not least the “lubavitchers” that do learn daf yomi absolutely do it at theexpense of not learning 3 prokim of rambam,mivtzoyim and much more

    • 12. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

      And yet we do find the Rebbe being very pleased when such shiurim were started on the initiative of local chassidim, such as in Montreal.

      Regarding your last sentence, I can offer myself as a counterexample. So perhaps you are painting with too broad a brush?

    • 13. Crown St wrote:

      With all due respect Rabbi Heppenheimer, when the elder Chosid from Montreal went into the Rebbe for Yechidus and he asked a Bracha for the success of his Daf Yomi Shiur the Rebbe looked at him and asked him: “what is your connection to daf yomi?”

    • 14. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

      You have an oral report, which may or may not be accurate in its details. I’ll counter that with a written document bearing the Rebbe’s actual handwriting, which indicates the contrary – that the Rebbe did approve of that chossid giving that shiur.

      The chossid, first of all, has a name: R. Avrohom Karp. Beginning in 5728 (1968) he delivered a shiur in Daf Yomi in Montreal. Near the end of that cycle, in 5735 (1975), he, along with R. Peretz Motchkin and R. Moshe Eliyahu Gerlitzky, wrote to the Rebbe to ask whether they should make a large-scale celebration for the occasion. The Rebbe replied ‘נת’ ות”ח ודבר בעתו וכו and כפשוט.

      (A scan of the letter was kindly provided to me by R. Karp’s son-in-law, R. Hershel Lustig יבלח”ט.)

      To put it bluntly, then, הרוצה לשקר ירחיק עדותו. You provide no names or details that can be checked, and so your story is not really worth much as evidence.

  • 15. Anonymous wrote:

    Look up the facts of when daf yomi became big….AFTER the Rebbe started the rambam campaign……

  • 18. Ridiculous wrote:

    If the Rebbe wanted us to learn daf yomi he would have said so. What he wrote to do is to learn gemoro everyday from our personal chalukas hashas masechta (in a letter printed in Igros Kodesh), and Sota during (the upcoming) Sefirah. Also gemoro leiyuna once every few days.
    I’m sad to see that there are people who think they know better than the Rebbe. Daf Yomi is not for us, the Rebbe guided us exactly what to learn each day (Chitas, Rambam, chasidishe parsha, chalukas hashas masechta).

  • 19. the rebbe was cleari wrote:

    who are you and who is the mashpia he should sign the letter as well

  • 20. I finish shas once a year wrote:

    On every YT Kislev we all (whoever takes a mesechta) finishes shas.

    DY is a great thing as it created a learning environment for BB.
    In chabad we have so many things we are required to learn and if we REALLY learn it you will gain much more than cruising through the shas.

    I am also trying to finish shas. I love learning gemoro. But i will do it on my own pace and not because someone dictated it this way.

    The one thing we CHABAD should do is make a shturem regarding rambam. if we can have a shiur in rambam evry day between mincha maariv or after maariv in EVERY SINGLE shul tha t would be AWESOME

  • 21. DeClasse' Intellectual wrote:

    #9) wake up. Every 19th of Kislev, the Rebbe would encourage all his Chasdic followers to sign up to learn a section of the Gemora; it was done this past year, and for those who could, it was implied you learn more then just one section. In this way at least ever year the whole cycle was complete. Some even did or are doing the other part–i. e. , the Jerusalem Gemora. After all the Alter Rebbe was buckie de shas of the whole Gemora.

  • 23. Chosid Shoite wrote:

    The Rebbe has also sated that Chitas and Ramnam shiurim is in addition to ones other kevius of learning both nigle and chassidus.

    If I would write the Rebbe that I have koveya binefesh to commit to learning a daf a day together with a minyan of other Yidden and I have a geshmuk in learning daily a daf gemora…… Do you REALLY have a doubt that the Rebbe would say besser nisht???

    If you do then I think you are a Chosid Shoite.

    No worries….seems like es felt nisht people like you.

    Besser. don’t learn a word of gemora…besser don’t have a geshmuk in learning ….besser go around with a poster kop……abee… that you consider yourself a mehusher

    Oilom goilem

    Hamayven Yoveen

    • 24. Ober wrote:

      I’m not saying that all what you’ve said is not true…. in fact most of it is very true… however… if you would like to learn a daf a day its a great thing, but you can do it at your own pace, instead of going with the misnagdims pace, (for all those who do not know DY was started by meir shapiro which wasn’t the best friend of chabad) go on your own schedule.

      Venimtzo marviach mikol tzad

    • 25. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

      Ober, please go to R. Meir Shapira’s kever and beg mechila for your ignorant slander of him. Then look up Os Zayin of the sicha of Tzav 5731, where the Rebbe discusses something from one of his sefarim and notes that דער שווער האט אים זייער מחבב געווען (the Frierdiker Rebbe was very friendly with him). You might then want to reconsider what exactly are your credentials to determine who is and isn’t “the best friend of Chabad.”

  • 26. lyr wrote:

    i once inquired why the people who make those ‘Daily Light points’ don’t do something similar on Gemara following the Daf Yomi schedule, and i was told the Mashpi’im said not to so as not to put a “Lubavitcher Hechsher on it.

  • 27. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

    To a number of the above commenters, please answer the following question.

    What are _you_ doing to improve the level of chassidishkeit in Crown Heights?

    Looking at the list of maggidei shiur above (not counting me), there are: the head of a major kashrus organization; the beloved and veteran principal of one of our primary mosdos chinuch (with thousands of alumni, vaani hakatan besocham, to his credit); and a rosh kollel. Each of them, then, quite apart from the shiur they give, is working on a daily basis to make Crown Heights the beacon that it ought to be.

    So what about you? Are you actually making positive contributions to the shchunah at large? Or are you just bakloging zich over what Crown Heights is becoming / has become? Is your definition of a chossid limited to _not doing_ something (Daf Yomi, in this case)?

    • 28. Ober wrote:

      So you are taaning that the matzav in CH is poshut because chabad is not koching in DY…aha….

    • 29. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

      Reading comprehension is your friend, Reb Ober. The problem isn’t that people aren’t koching zich in Daf Yomi, but that far too many aren’t koching zich in learning at all. You can (a) say that’s not a problem; (b) say that it is, but you’re not going to do anything about it, just krechtz; or (c) do something about it. Which one do you think is appropriate for a chossid of the Rebbe?

  • 30. Mendel wrote:

    The Rebbe expressed in many sichos his disapproval of going upstate to the country….. It’s time people stop picking and choosing what they want.

  • 33. Anonymous wrote:

    להרב הכותב,

    לא להתפעל, דהמעשה – קביעות עתים בתורה – הוא העיקר

    והמענה לכל הנ”ל, מדברי רבינו ביום ב’ דסוכות תשט”ז, אודות אלו שאמרו לא ליתן צדקה בלילה, “נענה כ”ק מו”ח אדמו”ר ואמר לי: הלה – מסתמא אינו נותן צדקה גם ביום, ולכן מצער אותו כשזולתו נותן צדקה בלילה…

  • 34. of utmost importance wrote:

    Before considering any new seder halimud it is a must and poshut for a lubavitcher chasid that one strictly keeps the sedarim the Rebeim set out for us which include 1.learning (not just saying) daily chitas
    2.learning daily rambam, if learning one perek daily to upgrade to the 3 perakim daily cycle
    3.learning a mesechta as part of chalukas hashas
    etc.
    Also knowing halacha lemaseh by studying the alter Rebbe’s shulchan aruch in full
    then and only then should/may one consider any other additional seder halimud

  • 35. The "Dvar Malchus" booklets wrote:

    Every week in the so called “Dvar Malchus” booklets they publish the daf yomi. Very frustrating to say the least.

  • 37. Shmuel wrote:

    Absolutely correct that day yomi is not for us. Call of the Shofar yes, unfiltered smart phones yes, movies yes, daf yomi, no.

  • 38. Interesting... wrote:

    For 11 nisson, let’s make a hachloto to lean daf yomi…. And for yud tes kislev let’s start saying tikun haklali (r nachman) and igueret haramban every Day, for yud shvat Perek Shirah and so on….
    My point is that we should make a serious hachloto of kbius baleb and kvius baNefesh of shiurim in Halocho and beIkor in Chasidus, but not to get confused of what we are : The Rebbe’s soldiers.

  • 39. lyr wrote:

    Does anyone know where in Crown Heights i can attend a Shiur in Chitas and Rambam?

    • 40. Yehoshua wrote:

      Rambam: Menachem Gerlitzky in Kolel Zekanim in 770 (where the Rav does mecharis chametz)

  • 41. Yoel yeshaya yerachum halalak wrote:

    This is really very rellavent for yud aleph Nissan and by the way reb chagai yehoshua hacohen shrubs from Oxford nj who is by the way a big gadol hador koched on this a lot and btw making siyum hashas in sports stadiums is goyish

  • 42. hmm wrote:

    some know that the rebbe participated in the daf hayomi. why are they keeping it quiet???

  • 43. Citizen Berel wrote:

    Yidden should learn Torah. Gemorah is Torah.

    There is no such thing as ‘daaf yomi.’

    Yidden learn Torah berabbim and have a public siyum, ma tov. What is ‘daaf yomi,’ and why should chasidim learn ‘daaf yomi?’

    Does this boil down to learning more torah? If so, then heh, why not?

    Or is there something more to it? Is daaf yomi a mezius oder nit?

    Chasidim seem to hold that, nit. So you’ve proved it isn’t a nevaila, nu, pshita, but why should chasidim learn daaf yomi particularly, as opposed to … I don’t know, more chasidus, or a mesechta for the year, or Sota bizmano, or 3 perakim rambam, or bichlal wherever libo chofeitz.

    It’s been around for years, we’ve never heard from the rebbe anything like what you’ve written.

    Is this just simply all about learning more Torah?

    • 44. Moshe shlomo okposo wrote:

      To my dearest friend citizen Berel yes it definitly goyish and a mezius and yes again making siyum hashas in sports stadiums is goyish

    • 45. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

      Are you aware that there is a Gemara (Megillah 6a) that says that in the future, goyishe theaters and sports stadiums will be used for teaching Torah publicly (תראטריות וקרקסיות שבאדום שעתידין שרי יהודה ללמד בהן תורה ברבים)? No, you are not familiar with it, because you dismiss Gemara and everything to do with it as “goyish.” Where that leaves you as a Jew, let alone as a chossid, is highly questionable.

    • 46. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

      Citizen Berel: it is indeed “all about learning more Torah,” Daf Yomi being one way in which to make that happen. I’m not saying it must be this way and no other (and for the record, the headline on this article was added by the site editors, not by me); all I’m saying is that it is wrong to say “I don’t learn Daf Yomi because I am a Lubavitcher chossid.” No method of increasing Torah study should be rejected by us.

    • 47. Citizen Berel wrote:

      In that case, it’s a no-brainer. You dedicate an hour a day and a Lubavitcher talmid Chochem, who has prepared the gemorah, hands it to you on a silver platter, and you do that day after day after day, what’s not to like? It’s a proven strategy for laypeople to increase in limud Hatorah.

      The world needs more limud Hatorah. We need to learn more Torah.

      This isn’t a national campaign to make this a chabad minhag (C”V). It’s a yid trying to get other yidden to come to a shiur Torah.

      The sevorah that you can’t advertise a shiur lest you convince people to stop or to refrain from starting learning Rambam needs a raiya.

      The title decision was disastrous and derailed the entire article.

      Hatzlocho Rabbah un a kasher un freilichin Pesach.

  • 48. Learning is good wrote:

    There is an excellent free app Real Clear Daf in which a Rabbi Weiss gives an excellent Daf Yomi shiur.

    iTalmud for Android and iOS is under $30 for the whole shas.

    The freeDaily Study app from Chabad.org has Chitas, Hayom yom and Rambam with text, video and audio shiurim.

    I don’t mind commuting or waiting in line anymore as I can get a lot of learning done on my smartphone.

  • 49. Dvar malchus wrote:

    there is a lot of nun lubvitchers that buy the dvar malchus bcuz it has daf yomi, and they end up learning chassidus bcuz of that. the daf yomi section is not for chabad.

  • 52. to Kllal Yisroel wrote:

    In honor of yud alef nissan all of kllal yisroel is to join in the Takana of the the Rebbe in all 3 levels Limud Horambam without exception
    then and only then should/may one consider impressing on anyone any other seder halimud

  • 53. Learning wrote:

    It is quite clear that the Rebbe ob’m wanted us to learn utilizing our fullest capabilities. That being said to those who are learning to their fullest capabilities nigla and chassidus we are not discussing

    Those who don’t learn to their fullest capabilities and want to learn Daf Yomi because it helps then active this goal are to be commended.

  • 54. Wow wrote:

    Ty for this article

    I find it appalling that some ppl have the nerve to comment against an increase in learning…….

  • 55. draykup wrote:

    Will DafYomi teach me who Joseph was? I don’t want to end up being lectured by a goy…
    ee baois aymah , tachlis hakavana is to find favor in the eyes of the goyim, so efsher takeh mdarf kenen lernen…
    Lify der raishah efsher nisht…
    Klutz kasheh
    Taykoo

  • 56. hilchos talmud torah wrote:

    all must be aware hilchos talmud torah says what we are to learn first see alter Rebbe’s hilchos talmud torah what comes first!

  • 57. job wrote:

    great job alexander…ignore the amirazim of the shcunaha. Crown heights was a place of learning torah niglah and chassidus. The past 2 decades has decreased as our interests are about making money and going online. Shiurim is the backing of this community. Enjoy your shiurim in person, now on the phone even better…kashinren pesach

  • 58. love wrote:

    I was forced to give a shiur in Daf yomi 14 years ago, and BH i did it. Today I am still doing it, and it changed my learning in a great way for the better
    I t looks that people who discourage to learn it, they really don’t learn anything anyways

  • 59. Yitzchok Teitelbaum wrote:

    I would like to share a secret .The one’S that spread the daf all over the world in the last number of years was not the Agudah but some Lubavitchers with a number of barochos from the Rebbe. They were the same ones that helped establish Chasidus on line.But for the Chasidim above you should be learning two or three daf besides all the other shiurim. (see Igeres-HaTeshuvah chapter 9.and HaYom-Yom in a number of places)

  • 60. anonymys wrote:

    The rebbe didn’t make daf yomi Hagaon Harav Meir Shapiro zt”l made it by the way and not the rebbe and daf yomi is to learn every day no just yud-aleph nissan and not just kiddusin 39

  • 61. The Rebbe's New Kapitel Answers This! wrote:

    The Frierdiker Rebbe once quoted the Pasuk Lo Lanu Hashem Lo Lanu, to state the following:

    There are things that may be good and holy, but it’s not our thing “Lo Lanu”.

    We just learned in Rambam that The Kohanim and Leviyim each had THEIR very specific Avoda.

    vdal.

    • 62. Alexander Heppenheimer wrote:

      Another posuk in that same kapitel says:

      פה להם ולא ידברו, עינים להם ולא יראו, אזנים להם ולא ישמעו.

      If you have a mouth but it doesn’t speak in Torah, eyes but they don’t bother looking into a sefer, ears but you don’t hear words of Torah…

      …then you are little better than עצביהם כסף וזהב.

  • 63. Moshiach Now wrote:

    Do they discuss learning Chitas and the Rambam in their web sites. ?????

  • 64. Gershon Yerachmiel wrote:

    Let us be clear. The Rebbe wanted to invest our fullest capabilities in learning. This means to utilize every spare minute we have. Instead of surfing the internet etc. spend that time learning. When learning using our maximum understanding.

    Someone who does that would easily finish shas every few years.

    Most people DON’T do that. Daf Yomi is a helper to make sure we learn a minimum. If someone is learning at his maximum then Daf Yomi is incidental to him.

    All the people who are in the Daf Yomi shiur I attend would not learn anywhere nearly as much as they learn now that they are attending the Daf Yomi shiur.

    So yes it is not necessarily what the the Rebbe wanted but he surely didn’t want you to learn little or nothing at all.

    To bash the Daf Yomi and not learn is simply an empty head or a Chosid Shoite.

  • 65. Levi wrote:

    Boruch Hashem a Chabad website is full of comments about why we shouldn’t be learning something,

    Where did we lose sight of the goal ?

  • 66. Alex wrote:

    Poshut amazing to see people come out of the wood work to fight “milchemes hashem” against learning daf yomi

  • 67. Yossi Paltiel wrote:

    Dear Rabbi Alex,
    I’m signing my name at the bottom of this note, as one of the people you consulted about this article.
    I will explain in short why I supported this idea and actually encourage you to start the shiur three and a half years ago.
    There is an entity in our lives that many of us try to make believe does not exist, but by doing so we actually make ourselves more vulnerable to him.
    That entity is our Yetzer HaRa. schemes and connives and uses every imaginable trick to derail any He .t we may have a doing anything goodeffort tha
    Ideally we should be fighting the Yetzer HaRa at every turn and in each aspect of Our Lives.
    There is however another idea, where we can convince the Yetzer HaRa that the good things we want to do, he wants to do as well. This may not be ideal and may not have been correct in an earlier time but we would all be better Jews if we used our Yetzer HaRa in this way.
    There is no question that the idea of completing the entire Shas has an enormous appeal to the Yetzer HaRa. Consequently when one undertakes this initiative, his motivations may not to be the holiest and the highest, but there is a considerable likelihood that he will see it through.
    I have a friend whose father is completely not Frum who saw on television when they completed the Shas the last time. He called up his son who is a Ba’al Teshuva and he told him “I would also like to complete the entire Talmud”. He joined an existing class in Daf HaYomi and it wasn’t very long before he began to keep Shabbos.
    Torah and particularly Gemara we’re and are very very important to the Rebbe. There were years where the Rebbe demanded that each person include along with his Pidyon Nefesh for Rosh Hashanah a list of his regular Shiurim. And the Rebbe was not referring to ChiTaS.
    The question on the table is not whether the idea of Daf HaYomi is or is not a Lubavitcher idea.
    The question is a simple one: if by advertising the existence of these classes and encouraging people to join, will this increase the number of people in our community who learn Gemara every day?
    This question need not be answered because the answer is obvious to all.
    The idea that more people will be learning Gemara even if they’re getting help from their Yetzer HaRa would undoubtedly give the Rebbe much Nachas.
    The fact is, that too many people in our community that could/need to learn more Torah. The idea that somehow this is a reflection of what the Rebbe wants is ludicrous.
    In principle maybe advertising Daf HaYomi isn’t the most ideal way of encouraging an increase in Limud HaTorah, but in practice any class that teaches and encourage people to learn Torah is Hatzalas Nefashos Ruchni Mamosh and is so necessary and must be encouraged.
    In other words, the principle of always focusing on the practical, the action, makes this a good thing.
    And the Rebbe lives in the practical world of Lo HaMidrash Ikar Ela HaMa’aseh. In this world this suggestion can (in my opinion) only add Nachas to the Rebbe, and nothing else.
    Linking this endeavor to Yud Aleph Nissan is also appropriate, as the Rebbe said publicly on more than one occasion, that if you wish to give him a gift that he will value and enjoy “begin with Torah”.
    I will conclude with several anecdotes of the Rebbe which will give some idea of how he thinks about certain traditions of ChaBaD in the ‘modern world’.
    1) A Yid from Crown Heights went to Miami Beach for the winter. Eight o’clock Shabbos morning he encountered a Bochur at the Yeshiva asking Reb Laib a question in Gemara. An involved conversation in Niglah developed on Shabbos morning.
    The Observer found this odd and reported it to the Rebbe when he returned to New York. The answer he received from the Rebbe was something to the effect, “thank you for the good news and I hope you will continue to send me such good news in the future”.
    2) A Lubavitcher young man visited a modern Orthodox Bungalow Colony One Summer. One of the people at that colony was a student of Rabbi Soloveitchik ‘The Rav’ from Yeshiva University. Because it was the month of Elul he gave a class in what his teacher would teach, Likutei Torah on Elul and Rosh Hashanah. Rabbi Soloveitchik [it is widely known] held that the only way to understand Rosh Hashanah correctly was to learn it in Likutei Torah, without it Rosh Hashana makes little sense.
    In the course of his learning the teacher made reference to Tanya chapter 32 and he referred to it as we would “ תניא פרק ל”ב ”.
    This Lubavitcher young man was so positively moved by this that he wrote the story into the rebbe.
    The answer that he got was approximately the following ידוע הפתגם ביי זיי קומט צו און ביי אונז וכו’ וכן
    להיפך .
    I will not translate these words I’ll allow everybody to figure out what they mean for themselves.
    3) A Bochur in the Yeshiva who was very bright and a big Talmid Chochom was afflicted with a predictable problem. He had a very great ago and he thought very highly of himself. His friends harassed him about his ego and in the good spirit of Lubavitch that doesn’t suffer anybody’s ego they tormented him.
    They bothered him so much that he actually decided to ask the Rebbe what to do about it.
    He raised the issue to the Rebbe in his next יחידות . The Rebbe’s response was approximately this נו זאל
    כאטש זיין מיט וואס . This means [in English approximately] whatever you think of yourself be. In other
    words if you have an ego and a high opinion of yourself- earn it.
    He didn’t tell the cancel his ego he told them to turn it around. In other words that he should use his Yetzer HaRa for good things.
    No one questions that it was traditionally unthinkable in Chabad to learn Chassidus before davening on Shabbos and to tolerate a Ba’al Ga’ava, yet the Rebbe did and there’s a very simple reason for it: it works, and we need all the help and motivation we can get including this.
    And about ביי זיי קומט צו און ביי אונז… וכן להיפך draw your own conclusions.
    I believe that this is a similar circumstance.
    In any case the point is you, Rabbi Alex, should keep doing what you’re doing.
    I’m humbly making an announcement to all of Crown Heights if you want to come to a very good class in Gemara in English delivered very clearly and lucidly [that happens to cover a Blatt a day allowing you to complete the Shas in seven years] visit us at the bottom of the hill, at Empire Shtiebel. Join Rabbi Heppenheimer’s class and you will not regret it.
    He’s very good, and he’s brilliant, you will learn and enjoy it, which [learning and enjoying Torah] is another idea that goes against ChaBaD tradition, that the Rebbe adopted.
    Keep it up.
    Your Sterling St. neighbor,
    Rabbi Yossi Paltiel

  • 68. Mendel Marozov wrote:

    Maybe we should start learning the Chofetz Chaim on Loshon Hara. He was choviv by the Rebbeim keyodua. And maybe also his Mishna Berura.

    The point is not that learning isn’t a good thing. It definitely is a very good thing. But do we want Lubavitchers to get swallowed up by misnagneshe aspirations and forget what’s what and who’s who. Who are the true Nesiyim and true Gedoilim of Bnei Yisrael and where’s the true Eitz Hachaim to cleave to and where are the true Mayim Chaim.

    I once asked my uncle Reb Sholom Marozov if it’s ok to listen to gemoro tapes that were made by misnagdim for Daf Hayomi while working, driving, etc.

    He answered me it’s ok but do it betzina.

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