I’ve started learning Daf Yomi. Yep, little me is trying to go through the 7.5 years of daily learning that will serve as a completion of the entire Gemara (Talmud). The entire cycle finished recently and created a lot of excitement – both in the male community that traditionally does Daf Yomi and in the female circles that have started to take on the learning of the Daf.
I have a very busy life (as do so many of us) and have not, up until this point, figured out how to add daily learning into it. I’ve watched my kids learn, grow and develop (obviously) but haven’t found a way to do so myself. One very energetic woman in my community tried, 7.5 years ago, to get a bunch of us together to learn, but it didn’t take. This time, with the energy that so many people saw with the completion of the last cycle, there are over 40 women who have signed up to learn just from my small community. We are all learning on our own with podcasts and various other shiurim and then coming together once a week to learn as well. There is also an amazing visual representation created by Rabbi Natan Farber that is out of this world. Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet!
In addition to doing this for my own growth, I’m also doing it for a few other reasons. They started offering Daf Yomi at my son’s school, mostly for the 7th graders. He’s in 6th grade and was invited to come to school early each day to learn with them. He’s excited about it and he and I have committed to getting him to school earlier every day so that he can learn. Now I have a way of connecting with him and discussing the Daf each day when he gets home.
In addition, Josh has started learning it as well (with podcasts on his way to and from work) and when we end up in the car together, we save the learning for the day and listen to it together. We got a lot done to and from Eilat! It’s a very nice way to bond and discuss something interesting (while literally being on the same “page!”). Similarly, my 12th grader is learning the Daf and he thinks it’s quite cute that his parents are trying to do so as well.
Will I keep learning it every day for 7.5 years? Who the heck knows. Who can guarantee anything beyond today? But I figure that each day that I learn it, I’ve accomplished my goal for that day. And we’ll just let that be enough for now. I’ve set a goal for myself to take something interesting (just one thing!) out of each Daf; so even if I don’t understand some of what is going on, I remind myself to just look for one gem each day.
I think the Daf is such a great lesson in taking life one step at a time. You don’t become a marathon runner overnight; you show up each day and get a bit stronger. You don’t become a brilliant Torah scholar overnight; you show up each day, learn a bit and keep going. Everything takes consistency, work and commitment.
So I’m doing this literally one day at a time. With the Daf, my community and my family.
We will see where it takes me along the way.