Thursday, October 6, 2011

In memory of Steve Jobs

[This week's Haveil Havalim is up early, here]

This came to me from a friend and chavrusa, Craig Guttmann; reprinted here with permission:

This is what Steve Jobs meant to me. I can’t even believe that I feel the urge to write this, so it gives you an idea of how profound an impact Steve had on my life.

Just before we had moved to Israel for the year in August of 2002, Apple had released its second generation of the iPod. In October 2003, Apple launched iTunes for Windows which essentially married the iPod for Windows based users. I will never forget the day that my tekki showed me the release on my trip back to Canada. I ran downtown and bought my first iPod. I figured I would have music in my ears for those 10 and 13 hours journeys to China and Israel, and many in between. (In August of 2011, Air Canada sent me a welcome letter into their “Million Mile Club”) How wonderful is that?

On a flight in December, 2002 from Toronto to Israel, I bumped into a friend who had discovered the iPod too. Except, he had figured out, that not only could you load music on your iPod, but you could load comedy! Brilliant! So I began loading some of my most cherished comedians. Bob Newhart, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin. Now flying was funny! Have you ever heard Carlin’s piece about flying and stewardesses (that’s what they were called in the old days) while flying?

Living in Israel and having time on my hands in the morning in particular because of the time difference with my office in Toronto, allowed me to surf the internet. And one day, I happened across the site The daf yomi shiurim were posted and free to download. If I could load music and comedy, how cool would it be to be able to travel the world and have my maggid shir with me at all times. I would never have an excuse to not be able to do Daf Yomi. I downloaded the mesachet of the day, Horayos. Not the easiest gemara to start out with, and I quickly realized that I needed the Artscroll Gemara. So, I ran into town and picked up the Gemara and eagerly whisked home to try learning Daf Yomi. The rest is history.

I have learned Daf Yomi all over the world the first time around.
Thornhill • Jerusalem • Ramot • New York • Los Angeles • Rochester • St.Maarten • Pittsburgh • Miami • Boca Raton • St.Thomas • Vancouver • Cincinnati • Boston • San Francisco • Cabo San Lucas • Mazatlan • Honolulu • Maui • Frankfurt • Munich • Venice • Bellagio • Freeport • Puerto Plata • San Jose • Aruba • Puerta Vallarta • Englewood • Mumbai • Delhi • Ludhiana • Qingdao • Guangzhou • Seoul • Taipei • Hong Kong • Shenzhen • Shanghai • Beijing • Tokyo • Pusan • Incheon • Taichung • Paris • Honfleur • Bordeaux • Uzes • Tainan • Koahsiung • Jiagmin • Shanghai • Bangkok

11.3 GB • 5,406 Files • 97,308 Minutes • 1,621 Hours • 3 iPods • 1 iPad • 1 iPhone
May 29, 2003-October 29, 2010 • 2,716 Days

Seven and half years later, on October 29, 2010, I completed my first cycle of Shas!

I firmly believe that the iPod was created for me to learn Daf Yomi. That’s what so special about Steve Jobs. Every product that he has developed, feels like it was made for them.

With much gratitude Steve Jobs! Thank You and Yishar Koach!
Craig Guttmann
Thornhill, ON, CA

P.S. Yes, I’m on my second cycle!


  1. Some years ago my wife said to me, "I really want to get you and iPod for your birthday." I resisted the idea. What do I need with this thing? She persisted, I relented. (The story of a good marriage, eh?)

    Soon I discovered that there were numerous shiurim available 'out there', and Har Eztion offered regular podcasts. Wow! Now, after every Shabbat I stepped up to the do the dishes, so I could have time with the earphones in and shiur playing. Tremendous.

    Today my iPod has all manner of indiviual shiurim loaded (many from YU Torah), and subscription to podcasts from Har Eztion (KMTT in English and Ivrit), and several medical podcasts. I'm on my second iPod (a Touch this time) for greater capacity, plus medical apps for work, calendars, etc. A truly useful and excellent device.

    Steve Jobs introduced products that have really enhanced people's lives in noticeable ways.

  2. I've never used any of the iProducts that I can recall, but this is certainly a popular theme. And unlike the beginning of Masechet Avodah Zarah with its critique of the Romans for building an empire for selfish or sinful reasons, Jobs seems to have done it for more appropriate motivations.