top of page

Kiddush Shem Shamayim: The “Daf” of our Salvation

When the 9th Siyum HaShas of Daf HaYomi, took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, on April 26, 1990, over 20,000 Jewish men, women and children participants took part in this truly grand spectacle, a tremendous crowd who watched with wondrous awe and kavod HaTorah as the entire Talmud Bavli was concluded, and then immediately restarted. The hum of enthusiasm, coupled with the pride of achieving a milestone of the highest proportion, and sealed with the approbation of the many Gedolei Yisroel in attendance, inspired a torrent of elation and joy among the attendees.

When the festivities were concluded, the streets of Manhattan in and around the landmark sports complex were filled with thousands of Jews milling about, basking in the aura of what had just taken place, and eventually – some even reluctantly – making their way home. A certain Jew – one of the thousands who had been in attendance – was walking down the main street when he was stopped by a curious group of apparently upper-crust gentiles, and asked to explain the reason for this massive gathering of Jews.

The Jewish man replied that they had been celebrating the completion of the study of the Talmud, an ancient Jewish collection of wisdom from thousands of years ago, which took seven and a half years as well as hours upon hours of devoted study to complete. In fact, said the Jewish man proudly, many thousands of Jews all over the world had studied a page a day during this time until it was completed. Tonight was the culmination of this achievement and tomorrow it begins all over again.

The Jew watched as the small group of gentiles stood quietly, contemplatively, for some time. Then, one of the gentiles, a respectable man by appearance, turned to the Jew and said that he was amazed at what he had just been told. It is truly an astonishing feat, said the gentile, to be able to attract such a crowd in celebration of an educational milestone. He had always assumed that only a major sporting event or some other form of mass entertainment could bring out such a crowd. He was duly impressed, as were they all, at the amount of recognition and celebration that the Jewish people attach to the completion of an educational study.

What a Kiddush Hashem!

R’ Yisroel Belsky Shlit’a told over this story and explained that the gemara (מגילה טז:) discusses the meaning of the famous posuk from Megillas Esther, ליהודים היתה אורה ושמחה וששון ויקר וגו’ (ח-טו) – “To the Jews there was light, happiness, joy and honor,” as follows: “אורה זו תורה, שמחה זה יום טוב, ששון זו מילה, ויקר אלו תפילין” – “Light” refers to Torah, “Happiness” refers to Yom Tov, “Joy” refers to Milah, and “Honor” refers to Tefillin. Rabbi Belsky points out that not only is our essence different from the gentiles, but that we take pleasure in entirely different pursuits. For a Jew, all of our excitement and enthusiasm revolves around the Torah, its study and fulfilment. When we conclude a major portion of Torah and make a siyum, there is singing and dancing and true heartfelt joy. On Shabbos and Yom Tov, we celebrate with the finest clothes and food, with heartfelt prayer, learning and holiday mitzvos. These are the highlights in the life of a Jew, whereas gentiles value other pursuits as paramount.

The New Meadowlands Stadium opened on April 10, 2010. In 2011, MetLife, an insurance company based in New York City, acquired the naming rights to the stadium. At a construction cost of approximately $1.6 billion, MetLife Stadium is the most expensive NFL stadium ever built, and is the largest stadium in the NFL in terms of permanent seating capacity.

Not long after its completion, two very prominent announcements were issued, regarding future events at the stadium. On May 25, 2010, it was announced that Super Bowl XLVIII was awarded to the stadium, the first time a Super Bowl would be played in the New York metropolitan area, and the first time that a non-domed stadium in a cold-weather city would host it. A few months later, it was announced that the Twelfth Siyum Hashas of Daf HaYomi organized by Agudas Yisroel of America, will take place, iy”H, on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012.

At the contract signing ceremony held at the stadium, special guest speaker Rabbi Nosson Scherman, general editor at Artscroll/Mesorah Publications, noted that the ultimate purpose of everything in the world – including MetLife Stadium – is to increase Hashem’s glory. Rabbi Scherman illustrated his point by recounting a conversation with Thomas M. Steinberg, President of Tisch Family Interests and owners of the NFL New York Giants, and one of the guests at the signing event. Mr. Steinberg mentioned that for twelve long years he was involved in the planning, design and construction of the new stadium, and it is only now that he understands why: so that tens of thousands of Jews would have a place to gather for an unprecedented celebration of learning.

This is the ultimate Kiddush Hashem!

The syndromes of low testosterone level manifest as moodiness and irritability, lethargy, low libido, weight gain, erectile dysfunction, depression, abdominal obesity etc. viagra sans prescription canada However levitra 20mg australia it can only eliminate the symptoms of epididymis cyst, but can also cure this disease from its root. Pricing is also an important factor as services tadalafil tablets in india which are overpriced don’t mean that they will defeat the enemy and take care of the mission, regardless of what. According to the medicinal reports, the health professionals have stated that there are more than 50% of the males who opt for the treatments of free sildenafil samples jelly for comforting their health of intimacy from erectile dysfunction.

What is Daf HaYomi? What does it all mean? Let us go back in time to learn from a great leader how to forge ahead, even today, in our new and uncertain times. The first celebration of the Daf HaYomi Siyum Hashas, took place on Tu B’Shvat (15 Shevat) 5691, February 2, 1931, in the grand structure of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin. The Rosh Yeshivah, as well as the originator of the Daf Yomi program, Rav Meir Shapiro ZT”L, hosted the beautiful event and the words that he spoke then to the gathered masses, ring true until this very day.

Rav Meir quoted the gemara in Yevamos 121a, where Rabban Gamliel was traveling by ship and he saw in the water the remnants of a storm-ravaged vessel that had disintegrated. Fearing that many people, including Torah scholars, had lost their lives in the storm, Rabban Gamliel was relieved to learn that Rabbi Akiva had been aboard the ship but was miraculously saved from drowning. When Rabban Gamliel had the opportunity to talk with Rabbi Akiva, he asked him how he was saved from the watery deep.

Rabbi Akiva responded, “A daf (wooden board) of the ship came to me in the water, and as every wave came over me, I bowed my head to it.”

Having cited this small account from the Gemara, Rav Meir Shapiro now elaborated: In those arduous days, he said, the wicked, barbaric Roman empire decreed on our people cruel, unbearable edicts. And the great scholars of the nation assembled to formulate some plan of action to rescue the nation from spiritual destruction, to save the ship of Jewry that was foundering and going down.

Rabbi Akiva gathered masses and taught the Torah in public, in defiance of the Roman decrees, till he succeeded in restoring the crown of the Torah to its former state of glory. Out of his steady teaching, 24,000 students came into being. Thus, Rabban Gamliel saw that despite everything, Torah Judaism remained on solid ground, out of danger from the foundering, disintegrating ship, and he wanted to know Rabbi Akiva’s great secret: How had he succeeded in raising up the welfare of the Torah from such an ignominious fate?

“My son,” asked Rabban Gamliel of Rabbi Akiva, “who raised you up out of the depths? By what secret method where you able to raise the spiritual level of the nation with you?”

To this Rabbi Akiva replied, “A daf of a ship came to me by chance.” In the context of the story it means a wooden board was what Rabbi Akiva used to hang onto and save himself. However, in retrospect, explained Rav Meir Shapiro, we can understand it metaphorically: I found a simple remedy, to counter our dangerous ills. There is one way that we, as a nation, can save ourselves from the fate of the other nations; the institution of the mass study of Daf HaYomi! For by these means, by learning a “daf” day in and day out, the welfare of the Torah and the prestige of Judaism and its people in their entirety will be raised up. By “hanging onto” this “daf” – this solid beam – and employing it as our life-saving mechanism, we can and we will weather the storm of time and overcome all the pitfalls that lay before us!

Those powerful words, spoken with such great intensity and fire over eighty-one years ago, is as prescient and meaningful today as it was then. The Daf HaYomi unites the Jewish people and protects them. At the dinner on behalf of Agudas Yisroel in 1995, the president of the Agudah, Rabbi Moshe Sherer ZT”L, addressed the assemblage and noted that Sefer Tehillim ends with the words: “All the soul will praise G-d,” using the singular term for the word Neshama – soul.

“If we are all united,” said Rabbi Sherer, “as one soul, with one heart, one goal, one dream – then we will eventually bring all of Klal Yisroel, every Jew, to praise Hashem!” And with Achdus, generated by the study of Daf HaYomi, the Jewish people will soar to the highest of heights and truly merit our final and ultimate redemption.


bottom of page