[Very worth seeing: The Death of Abu Rahma, on The Muqata]
I started teaching the Daf this morning again, after a 16-month hiatus.
Wow, did I miss it. I feel like Jim Tomsula (bottom of the page here), only I get to keep on going after the first game.
I’m not a fan of making Daf Yomi one’s only regular Torah study; it’s too quick and superficial. But for giving people an authentic sense of the breadth of Torah, its wisdom and challenges and contradictions and so on, there’s no substitute. And teaching it is a good way to make sure not to get bogged down in small, narrow issues, but instead to keep the big picture in mind.
Further, and not to be underestimated, it’s great to have a group that meets every day, same Bat Time and same Bat Channel, to learn together. While I don’t know the group here yet, I know that in our group in Allentown, where I did the Daf for 8+ years, everyone had a special “learning personality,” a special role, questions that everyone knew they would ask, items that everyone knew they would pick up on. This is natural in a group that studies and discusses and debates for an hour (or, in this case, 45 minutes) on a daily basis.
Rabbis often debate the issue of using a significant of their time to prepare and teach the Daf Yomi to a small group of people, and particularly in shuls where it’s an all-male group, further limiting those who can take advantage of their connection in this way. Assuming 30 minutes to prepare and an hour to teach, that’s 90 minutes of the rabbi’s waking time. Even assuming there are 25 in the group – quite large for most shuls - that’s still a small percentage of the population.
To me, though, it’s a worthwhile investment – because of what it does for the rabbi’s own learning, and because of the powerful bond this creates among the group. Going back to our Allentown group – many shul leaders came out of that group, and I think part of that was because of pollination among the group itself. (And, of course, because people who came to Daf regularly were people who knew how to make a commitment, and how to make time.)
When I did the daf in Allentown, we recorded the audio but kept it in-house, for Daf regulars only. That was partly because of concern about how the gemara might be taken out of context and misunderstood, and partly because I never prepared in advance. With this run, I intend to record and post the audios on our kollel site, torontotorah.com. Today's audio is here.
Now, the only slight problem is that this Daf is at 6 AM, which means I need to get up at 5 AM. Ugh. But definitely worth it.