What ties together our communities the most, one can argue, is the varied and vibrant availability of fantastic learning opportunities. In an average Jewish Link-area shul, there are, at the very minimum, three to five quality shiurim available every Shabbat, and during the week opportunities abound as well, both in one’s local shul and online. Whether one has a passion for Tanach, parshat hashavua, Torah inspiration, Daf Yomi, in-depth Gemara or halacha, generally opportunities are to be had in every shul. Apps on our phones these days make the good availability even greater.
Whenever possible, we love to mention learning achievements in this editorial space, and we found the chance this week because we received three separate submissions from readers about a single learning topic: Mishna Yomi. Established in 1948 by Rabbi Yona Sztencl as a memorialization of those who perished in the Holocaust, the learning is ending its 12th cycle on December 24, and its participants are about to celebrate with a joyous siyum before they begin the next cycle on December 25.
The Mishna Yomi is a daily Torah-study program in which participants learn two mishnayot a day and complete all six orders of the Mishna in approximately six years. Chaim Pinsker of Congregation Adath Israel in Hillside describes in a beautiful letter (see it below) to us that he initially felt he stood on the sidelines of those celebrating Gemara or Daf Yomi siyumim, before finally finding his own passion, meaning and value in Mishna Yomi. “What started as simply following along with my own Mishna, quickly became more. I was soon learning all the commentary in Artscroll’s Yad Avraham series, and just a few months after I started, was filling in for the rabbi when he wasn’t at our minyan,” he wrote.
We loved how Chaim ended his letter. “Mishnayot presents an incredible array of Torah knowledge, quickly moving across many interesting topics. There are a multitude of great ways to learn Mishna Yomi. Artscroll offers two great sets of Mishnayot. The Yad Avraham has deep commentary, summarizing relevant Gemara and other reference material. The Schottenstein edition makes the Mishna easily understandable for a much faster, surface-level read. You can also hear Rabbi Schwartz’s daily shiurim on YUTorah (https://www.yutorah.org/search/?collection=6536) or join us in our shul any day. I look forward to completing these 4,192 Mishnayos again, but with a much larger crowd. Maybe MetLife Stadium will be available.”
Mazel tov to those completing this cycle, and sending mazel and bracha to those beginning the new one!