In the afterglow of the Siyum HaShas at the MetLife stadium and venues around the world, programs have proliferated around the globe in revolutionary proportions.
The message to begin now and invigorate one’s daily commitment to negotiate the sea of Talmud is now the “p’shot” heard ‘round the world. It is conceivable by all calculations that there are now more Daf Yomi Shiurim in communities than lehavdil ubiquitous sushi bars.
There are programs given morning, noon and night. A plethora of online sites beckon us to enter their portals and plow forward. There are programs in Shuls, batei medrashim, offices and assisted living facilities. There are hour length programs and 40 minute programs and even a 20 minute program learned at the speed of life. I’m waiting for the “insta daf”, where a laser beamed text glows from your I pad and inscribes the daf onto your cerebral cortex.
One hopes that the earnest fervor engendered by the massive turnout at the numerous siyum events will continue in a sustained and consistent growth pattern. But there is some degree of inevitable dropouts along the way, with those who are well intentioned, but whom fall prey to the weapons of mass distraction, and or frustration at not being able to keep up with the relentless commitment and inability to take it all in.
I spoke to one fellow who took a different track in charting his course, to not only learn
Shas but to know it through a method developed by Lakewood resident, Rabbi Sender Dolgin. Rabbi Dolgin created and practices a system of reviewing and retaining one’s study, based on empirical research on how one can learn and remember, and savor what was learned through regular review.
”It’s like putting money in the bank every day,” he says. “There is no such thing as a bad day, Baruch HaShem.” “It’s like planting wheat in large fields that can yield a bountiful crop. But never harvesting it or putting money in a vault and never withdrawing, that’ s like learning without reviewing .”
It’s called simply, Shas Chabura.
At any rate, this young fellow contacted Mishpacha editor Eytan Kobre to share his
experience in the program. Mr. Kobre himself is a proponent and ardent advocate of the program’s remarkable benefits, saying that it has enabled him to achieve level s of accomplishment in his learning that he couldn’t have otherwise done.
I spoke with the young fellow myself, who is a paragon of self-scrutiny and determination. He prefers anonymity , but made it known to me that this program transformed his life via his steadfast adherence to the system, and wants more people to take it on, but without his being the public persona for it. I often face that quandary, how much to reveal personally and how and when to keep things wrapped and covert. But it is clear that his own experience can urge all of us upward. His initial challenge was, as is for many, finding the time amidst work and family obl igat ions . He decided that sleep is “overrated”, and he committed himself to rising at 4 a.m. to concentrate on a few pages of Gemara sans interruptions. He took and continues to take his Gemara everywhere. He does not retire for the night until his quota is finished for that day.
His family is enormously supportive, especially with Erev Shabbos travel to family, when he and his wife share the driving and the kids keep it down to a low roar so that their father can learn his Daf. Nosh and prizes help. Over seven and a half years, challenges naturally arose, but with Siyata D’shmaya, his commitment and passion surmounted everything. Yet, he admitted that it’s a battle every day. I concurred.
Now, he finishes Shas once a year and credits his wife for her encouragement. He said that the entire family reaps the benefits of his assiduous study. He actually spends less time now in his business, accomplishes and earns more, b’chasdei Hashem. Seriously, it works.
The greatest benefit though, he and others maintain, comes from the Torah’s power to bring one closer to being attached to Hashem. Isn’t that one of, if not the ultimate, goal of learning?
This young man may choose to cloak his vast achievement in anonymity, and Rabbi Dolgin will not budge from his stalwart post ….
Our job, our privilege is to look toward their achievement, goals and aspirations, pure and undiluted, and activate and invigorate our own initiative to go through and know Shas. It is our life and length of days, every breath, every moment, every Daf.
I would urge anyone who wants to enhance their learning and allow oneself to increase their retention and savored enjoyment of the Daf, to visit the Shas Chabura website, shaschabura.org or Call 732-447-4201 or 732-730-9496 or app.shaschabura.com.
Endorsed by Gedolim worldwide including:
Rav Y. S. Elyashiv zt”l, yb”l
Rav Chaim Kanievsky, and
Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky
See the powerful video on our website