When you talk about Jewish teaching or Bible study, it’s usually about studying the Talmud.
It was compiled, edited and revised in the first centuries of our era, and closed around the end of the fourth century. Since then, new comments, explanations and analyses have been added, so that the Talmud has become a huge work that can be learned for a lifetime.
Daf Yomi – Daily Page
An initiative to promote the teaching of the Talmud and thus bring Jews closer together goes by the name “Daf Yomi,” which translates as “Daily Page.”
Each day, participants learn one page of the Talmud, which comprises 2,711 pages, meaning it takes a full seven-and-a-half years to complete.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews of all ages and from all over the world are taking part in this campaign. For many, even doing one page a day is very demanding, given that the Talmud is partly written in Hebrew and Aramaic, and the contents are very difficult to understand.
Some are able to dedicate a full day to learning the page, while others must juggle their learning with jobs and family duties. But this is a voluntary course. If you aren’t able to complete a page, no one is going to reprimand you.
A full stadium in New York
Those who do manage to complete a page every day for the full seven-and-a-half years are invited to a huge celebration known as Si’oom HaShas, which roughly means “completion of the Talmud.”
On January 1, such a celebration took place again at Mets Stadium in New York City. Over 90,000 participants came together to mark the achievement. Needless to say, it was a very emotional experience for all involved.
A response to antisemitism
Against the backdrop of recent antisemitic attacks in New York, this event had another emotional aspect. It showed that Jewish life in the metropolis and throughout the United States remains strong and healthy.
The 90,000 Orthodox Jews signaled their presence in America. And the full stadium demonstrated once again that what truly stirs the Jewish spirit is teaching and studying the divine word.