Shabbat is a time to reflect and think about your past week. Two Shabbats ago I was walking around; I had just turned 14 that Thursday and I was thinking back on my year of being 13. So much happened, I found myself lost in thought and came to the realization that in only one week, it will be the two-year mark of learning Daf Yomi.
January 1, 2020 was the date of the 13th global siyum hashas, a worldwide celebration of finishing all of shas Gemara by learning one page a day. Despite the cold weather of 29 degrees, over 90,000 Jews gathered together at MetLife Stadium to celebrate. Driving into the parking lot was incredible, seeing all the cars filled with Jews all in the same place for one reason, to celebrate learning Torah. As I walked into the doors of the stadium, I remember I immediately felt a sense of holiness that I never felt before being together with so many Jews of every stripe coming together for one purpose: celebrating completing Daf Yomi. There were so many speakers, and each one of them had something to say that made an impact on everyone at the siyum.
I was 12 years old, in sixth grade at the time, and I didn’t have much enjoyment learning Torah. Ever since that day, my life changed entirely, and entirely for the good.
After the siyum, I kept learning the Daf every day. My rebbeim and I would shmooze and talk about the Daf every morning before davening. I attended the Daf Yomi club in my school, Yeshivat Noam, every day during lunch. Eventually, school was closed due to COVID, which meant no more Daf Yomi club.
After some convincing, I finally convinced my rebbe, Rabbi Avi Rosalimsky, to give shiur after Zoom school every day. After committing to this for some time, I was given the opportunity to lead the shiur myself. That summer in Camp Mesorah I learned the Daf with Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, who helped me learn to read Gemara with little translation.
Fast forward to January 2021, one year since the siyum hashas, and All Daf had sent out a one-year video reel highlighting how much Daf Yomi has impacted people all around the world. With no intention of anything besides saying “thank you” for their incredible learning tool, I responded to the reel explaining that I have been doing the Daf since the beginning of this cycle. When I told them my age, they decided to come to interview me.
After my interview came out (Alldaf.org/blogs/20), people started recognizing me. I was becoming what my friends would call “Jewish famous.” People were stopping me on the street, asking me questions, and I was even featured on the front page of The Jewish Link about a year ago. After that, many people started asking to listen to my shiur even though at the time I had only been giving a shiur to a small group of friends. I never even imagined giving shiur to more people, especially people I didn’t know. After discussing the plan to broaden my shiur and open it up to the public with my parents, I reached out to Asher Tesser, the project manager of All Daf, and he helped me make it happen.
The idea of Daf Yomi is to connect all of Klal Yisroel and literally be on the “same page” as everyone else, and with the help of the whole All Daf crew, I began to publish my shiurim on mostly every podcast platform. Since then I have had the privilege of speaking to schools all over the country and sharing my love of Torah with them. Just recently, with the launch of All Mishnah, I started giving my own Mishnah Yomi shiur in addition to the daily Daf. Through my involvement with All Daf, I was privileged to help launch All Mishnah Jr., a program for middle school age kids from all over the world to learn Mishnah Yomi with awesome raffles and incredible shiurim.
Daf Yomi and Mishnah Yomi may seem daunting. You may think, I can’t do this; it’s going to take seven and a half years to finish (under six for Mishnah Yomi), but instead, you should look at it as one day, one Daf, one Mishnah at a time. Focus on what you are learning each day, and two years later you’ll look back and be astonished at what you have been able to accomplish.
By Charlie Breda