90,000++ to Gather at NJ’s MetLife Stadium
[JAN 1, 2020, E. Rutherford, NJ] -- On January 1, 2020, more than 90,000 men, women and children will come together at MetLife Stadium in celebration of the 13th Siyum HaShas – the culmination of the study of the entire 2,711 pages of Talmud by the ‘Daf Yomi’ program. The Talmud is the collection of early authoritative religious writings that form the basis of Judaism. Written in Aramaic and Hebrew, it encompasses detailed discussions of Jewish law and is a repository of Jewish wisdom and life guidance.
Daf Yomi is a study program in which students of the Talmud cover one ‘daf,’ or two-sided page, of Talmud each day, studied simultaneously and in sequence. Completion of the program takes approximately seven and a half years.
All told, more than 150,000 Jews in cities around the globe – including in the US, Israel, England, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, China and Venezuela - will be marking the completion of the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi. “We are overjoyed to have a broad spectrum of the Jewish Community unified in the celebration of the Siyum,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, the sponsor and organizer of the Daf Yomi celebration.
The Daf Yomi program of Talmud study was introduced in 1923 by a young Polish rabbinical leader, Rabbi Meir Shapiro, at the First International Congress of Agudath Israel in Vienna. The program was devised to bring uniformity to the study of Talmud, and to enhance the sense of unity among Jews worldwide. In virtually every city in the world where Jews live, Daf Yomi students study the exact same page of Talmud each day.
Agudath Israel facilitates the learning of Daf Yomi around the world with a full-time office - the Daf Yomi Commission - which provides a host of Daf Yomi-related services including special lectures, a Daf Yomi study group locator, Daf Yomi calendars and other assistance to participants in the program.
Nature of Talmud
The Talmud consists of Judaism’s interpretations of Torah – the word of G-d as revealed at Sinai. It guides every aspect of a Jew’s existence, from dietary laws to business ethics. Torah consists of two complementary parts – the Written Torah, which includes the Five Books of Moses; and the Oral Torah, the detailed interpretations of Written Torah (originally passed down in an exclusively oral format). By taking the form of a wide-ranging discussion, Talmud study not only informs students but hones their analytical skills. The study of the Talmud in Orthodox yeshivos, or schools, often begins at age ten and takes years of training to master. However, adults with even a basic familiarity with Talmud are encouraged to increase their understanding by undertaking Daf Yomi at any age.
Yeshiva Without Walls
Daf Yomi is, in effect, a worldwide yeshiva without walls. “Participants come from all walks of life, from the serious Talmudic scholar to the educated layman,” said Rabbi Labish Becker, executive director of Agudath Israel of America. Study groups include a variety of ages and professions -- scientists, doctors, teachers, lawyers, business-owners and blue-collar workers alike. Daf Yomi participants devote approximately one hour a day to Talmud study, atop their family and career responsibilities. Participants can study in groups in synagogues or homes – one group even meets on the Long Island Railroad – or participants can study by themselves. Modern-day technology has also created new ways of accessing the ‘daily Daf.’
The North American Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas is organized and sponsored by Agudath Israel of America, a broad-based Orthodox Jewish organization that has helped Jewish communities to grow and thrive over changing times. Founded in 1922, it sponsors a wide range of projects in the fields of religion, education, political advocacy, welfare and social action. The organization has earned singular respect throughout the Jewish world, as well as in judicial chambers and halls of government.