“Amud HaYomi is phenomenal! It is a manifestation of ribui Torah, increasing Torah not only in quantity but even more importantly, in quality. The fact that thousands upon thousands are beginning this new limud and gaining a better, deeper understanding of what they learn is a tremendous tikkun,” exclaimed HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, venerated Rosh Yeshiva of Chevron in a unique shiur pesicha that he gave to Masechta Brachos in honor of Klal Yisrael’s new Amud HaYomi program that began this past Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan with Daf Beis Amud Aleph of Masechta Brachos.
Rav Dovid Cohen was not the only gadol to deliver a pesicha shiur. In light of the precarious security situation in Eretz Yisrael precipitated by the ongoing war with Hamas, large gatherings to mark the momentous beginning of a new, transformative limud were not feasible. Rather, small shiurei pesicha were given by numerous Gedolei Yisroel.
Attendees and speakers at the pesicha given by Rav Dovid Cohen included HaGaon HaRav HaRav Nissan Kaplan, shlita, and Hagaon HaRav Yisroel Yitzchok Zilberman, shlita.
Other pesicha shiurim were given by HaGaon HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl, shlita, venerated Rav of the Old City of Yerushalayim; the Rachmastrivka Rebbe, shlita; the Boyaner Rebbe, shlita; HaGaon HaRav Messoud Ben Shimon, shlita, Sefardic Rav of Bnei Brak; HaGaon HaRav Avrohom Salim, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Meor HaTorah; HaGaon HaRav Shraga Shteinman, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Orchos Torah; HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Meir Stern, shlita, talmid muvhak of Rav Shmuel Wosner, zt”l; HaGaon HaRav Chaim Peretz Berman, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva at the Ponovezh Yeshiva and numerous others.
Shiurei pesicha were also held in America with prominent speakers such as HaGaon HaRav Hillel David, shlita, Yoshev Rosh of the Vaad Roshei Yeshiva of Torah Umesorah, a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, and Rav of Kehillas Yeshiva Shaarei Torah; HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Eisenberger, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Telshe; and Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita, Nasi Dirshu.
A New Level of Success!
The Amud HaYomi has taken off successfully at a level that even surprised the hanhala of Dirshu, the organization that has established and organized this new limud for Klal Yisrael.
Nearly 600 new shiurim have opened across the world, with more than 100 new shiurim in America alone. Well over 50,000 people worldwide have joined and started Shas with this new Amud HaYomi cycle. 187 chaburos and kollelei erev have already adopted the new Amud HaYomi as their limud. Access to world renowned Amud HaYomi maggidei shiur is available on major platforms such as Kol Halashon, All Daf, Torah Anytime, Dirshu Global and Dirshu’s dedicated Amud HaYomi hotline.
Beginning with the Right Foundation
Another important aspect of the Amud HaYomi launch is the fact that it took place at a very precarious time for Klal Yisrael. Numerous Gedolei Yisrael pointed out that it is certainly not a coincidence that at this difficult time for Klal Yisrael when we so desperately need the zechusim and koach of Torah, so many tens of thousands of Yidden are accepting to immerse themselves in a new daily limud. Undoubtedly, the zechus of Torah has the power to save us at this perilous time.
At the pesicha shiur that he delivered, HaGaon HaRav Shraga Shteinman quoted his illustrious father, the Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, zt”l, who asked, “Why does Shas specifically start with Masechta Brachos? There are many mitzvos that would seem to be more important than brachos? For example, for transgressing Shabbos one is punished with sekilah. The halachos of arayos, or even halachos for which the punishment is malkos would seem more important? Why then does the Gemera begin with the halachos of Kriyas Shema, where there is no punishment of death and not even of malkos?”
“My father would say that the reason why we davka start with hilchos Kriyas Shema is because the first thing a Yid must do every day is accept upon himself, ol malchus shomayim, the yoke of serving Hashem. A person has to wake up in the morning and proclaim, ‘Hashem I am ready to do whatever You ask of me.’ Once his day begins with that foundation, he can go onto everything else.”
Rav Shteinman concluded that anytime there is Jewish suffering or difficulties we must attribute it to miyut kevod shomayim, the fact that Hashem’s honor is being diminished in the world. The antidote to the diminishing of Hashem’s honor is to increase the honor of Hashem. What better way to increase kevod shomayim than by learning one amud and another amud and yet another amud… every day a new one. This will increase kevod shomayim and have a colossal hashpaa on all Jews.
Three Shuls, Three Times of Day… One Limud!
The amazing outpouring of enthusiasm for the new Amud HaYomi has been astounding. One of the important members of Dirshu in America, relates, “I received a phone call from a friend today, saying, ‘This morning when I went to Shacharis in my shul in Flatbush, there was an Amud HaYomi shiur beginning right after Shacharis. Later in the day, I went to a different shul for Mincha and I saw that they too had a new Amud HaYomi shiur. When I went to yet a third shul for Maariv, I again found a new Amud HaYomi shiur that was slated to finish just before Maariv. I realized that if Hashem sent me to three shuls in one day, each of which had an Amud HaYomi shiur, it is time that I too join the Amud HaYomi!”
Not a Replacement for Daf HaYomi, Amud HaYomi Complements it
Upon conclusion of his intricate shiur pesicha on the first blatt in Masechta Brachos, Rav Dovid Cohen remarked, “I want to clarify one thing, the Amud HaYomi is not necessarily a limud that comes in place of the Daf HaYomi. Rather, it is a track for those who find the Daf HaYomi difficult. The Daf HaYomi is something that remains the eternal inheritance of Klal Yisrael. It is a great matana that Rav Meir Shapiro gave to Klal Yisrael. Fortunate is the one who is able to learn the daf! Unfortunately, however, there are many who cannot learn the daf for various reasons. The Amud HaYomi is not, in any way, coming to infringe on that legacy.
Nevertheless, continued Rav Cohen, it must be said that when Rav Meir Shapiro established the Daf HaYomi, he did it for baalei baatim who learned Torah for several hours a day. Things weren’t like today back then. People didn’t work at all hours of the day and night. People worked, brought in parnassah for a number of hours each day, and in the early morning and late at night they went to the beis medrash, the shteibel, the kloiz to learn Torah. There is no halacha that Daf HaYomi should be learned in an hour or even less than that. In those times, many spent far more than an hour on the Daf HaYomi. It is important to emphasize that Rav Elyashiv would always say, just to cover ground quickly without properly understanding what one learns is not the way to learn. Some people don’t have the time or the wherewithal to properly learn an entire daf every day in a way that they really understand it. For them, the Amud HaYomi might be something that really works! Yes, it will take longer to complete Shas, but at least they will learn it comprehensively.
“For others,” Rav Dovid continued, “people who are learning the Daf HaYomi properly, the Amud HaYomi can be a great chazarah tool to review and retain what one learns. Thus, in a way, the Amud HaYomi is also a continuation of the legacy of Rav Meir Shapiro. It is enabling people to learn a certain amount every day, weekday, Shabbos and Yom Tov and complete Shas. Yes, it will take fourteen years, but for those who need the time to properly understand and retain, it is an amazing gift to Klal Yisrael,” Rav Cohen concluded.
Whether a Daf or an Amud, it Should Remain “Yomi”
Indeed, the renowned posek, Rav Yaakov Meir Stern, a talmid muvhak of Rav Shmuel Wosner, who was in turn a close talmid of Rav Meir Shapiro in Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, related that “the Amud HaYomi is really interconnected with the Daf HaYomi established by Rav Meir Shapiro. As mentioned, the daily amud can be a chazarah for the daily daf. In addition, for those who find a daf too much, they can at least retain the “yomi” part. This program similarly offers a person a framework to comprehensively learn Shas just like the Daf HaYomi.
“Another important component of Amud HaYomi is that talmidei chachomim, kollel yungeleit who spend their entire day learning can still have a bekiyus seder at night or in the early morning where they can learn an amud with iyun kal, as they are used to learning, and still have a daily plan to enable them to finish Shas. This is a tremendous boon for Klal Yisrael.”
The Torah That Can Replace Some of Our Tefillah
Rav Messoud Ben Shimon instituted the learning of Amud HaYomi in his yeshiva, as the bekius learning for night seder. “If we learn the amud properly,” he said, “and institute both a chazarah and testing schedule I think there will be an amazing toeles in the learning.”
Indeed, Rav Avrohom Salim, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Meor HaTorah and a member of the Shas Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah said, “Now Klal Yisrael finds itself in a great tzarah. We all know that Torah protects and saves. There are two components needed at a time like this. The component of Torah, learning Torah and the component of tefillah, davening and crying out to Hashem to save us. We need so much tefillah now, but one of the difficulties that we encounter is that it is difficult to daven or say Tehillim all day. It is difficult to maintain the hisorerus even when we are supposed to daven. The Amud HaYomi can be the Torah that is in place of tefillah. Just as one davens three times a day, we can treat the Amud HaYomi as another kevius, way to reach Hashem and invoke His mercy. We know that if we attach ourselves to Torah, there is hatzalah. When a person learns, he is in the house of Hashem. When we are in Hashem’s house, we have access to Him and His mercy. Let us all undertake the Amud HaYomi and be’ezras Hashem be zoche to gezeiros tovos!”
The Yetzer Hara Has New Methods, We Too Need New Methods to Combat Him
The great tzaddik, HaGaon HaRav Shimon Galei, shlita, said in his shiur pesicha, “In general we have a rule taught by the Chasam Sofer that ‘Chodosh assur min haTorah, new things, new innovations to try to make the Torah “better,” are forbidden’ and are usually instituted by those who seek to trample on the Torah. There are times, however, when we DO need new things, new methods. Anything that has a negative aspect can also have a positive aspect. The positive side of new things is when they come to combat the yetzer hara. Just as the yetzer hara is always being mechadesh new methods to trip us up, so too we need to find new methods to overcome him. The Amud HaYomi is another method to combat the yetzer hara. We all know that technology always tries to find ways to grab our attention and pull our attention away from things that require our focus, but the Amud HaYomi, a limud that will require a bit more iyun will empower us to better focus on what is important rather than be focused on the nothingness offered by technology.”
“A Kabbalah Tova is Considered Complete by Hashem”
HaGaon HaRav Binyomin Finkel, shlita, Mashigach of the Mir Yeshiva of Yerushalayim, encapsulated the importance and beauty of the Amud HaYomi especially during this difficult time for Klal Yisrael when he said, “It is important to note that Mashiach is coming very soon. When he comes, Hashem will test us on the entire Torah. I don’t know what mark we are going to get… We have started the Amud HaYomi today. I know the first Mishnah, the first amud, but what will come after that…? I will tell you. The Amud HaYomi is our hatzalah. Even if Mashiach will come tomorrow, the very fact that we have started, that we have accepted upon ourselves to learn an amud every day, not just superficially but to really invest time and effort to understand, that kabbalah tova is considered by Hashem as if we have completed it. Mashiach can come tomorrow, and he will greet every one of us as Shas Yidden! Hashem knows we started because we want to know Shas. Yes! In one second, we can transcend from afeilah l’orah, from the great darkness that we see in the world today to great light! May it come soon!”