How was Daf Yomi studied originally?

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  • #1867708
    Haimy
    Participant

    Today, no matter what your Torah background you can get through the daf. Artscroll, Mesivta, Daf Apps, Live maggidei shiur, You can sit back & listen or watch where ever you are. I’m starting to wonder how daf Yomi was done in the early years without all these learning aids? Were there public shiurim or did laymen actually sit down & figure out the daf on their own? Is the modern version of easy listening the original intention of Rav Meir Shapiro?
    I never had a hava Amina that you could learn a Blatt Gemara without also going through the Rashi’s before my friend urged me to try the daf for a few days with a mesivta gemarah. What kind of learning is this meant to be?
    Wasn’t daf Yomi intended to be a serious study of the daf with all the Rashi & possibly some tosfos? I’m afraid that all these study tools while making the daf more accessible have veered from the original intention to have lomdim actually figure out a blatt Gemara with Rashi.

    Please enlighten me. How Daf Yomi was meant to be done.

    #1867754
    CTRebbe
    Participant

    I don’t understand the question. It is not relevant how people learned daf yomi in 1923. Just like they had different abilities and skills 97 years ago there were also a lot less people learning it then. The primary beauty of daf yomi is the structure. It obligates a person to stick to a schedule and keeps him on track. A secondary advantage is the idea of connecting with Jews all over the world. The level of depth a person applies to it will depend on a person’s abilities, time constraints, tools available etc. If a person is learning in kollel and can put in 4-8 hours a day into doing the daf -great. If he is a beginner learning it for an hour a day that also has a huge benefit. Every person needs to choose a learning program that best suits him.

    I think if you compare the learning of those who learn the daf and the detractors you will see a big difference. Most of the detractors do not come any where near the daf adherents. They use it as an excuse. Would it be best if everyone would break their teeth trying to figure out every word of Gem. Rashi & Tos? Yes but the reality is that the only ones that can do that are big talmidei chachamim or people learning in yeshiva all day. Unfortunately, there are are many bachurim and kollel yungerlite who do not reach the same level of yegia and yedios of many balei batim daf yomi learners.

    I never met Ra, Meir Shapiro but my guess is that if you would ask him this question he would say “just learn as much as you can!”

    #1867780
    Haimy
    Participant

    I’m not detracting from Daf Yomi which is a spiritual lifeline to many frum Yidden.
    The question is if Daf Yomi is now in general a Gemarah minus Rashi endeavor. I felt very uncomfortable turning the page without even taking a look at one Rashi. Artscroll or Mesivta now in the blanks & you’re ready to go without Rashi. I don’t see this type of learning as being anymore connected to other Yidden than the fact that we al daven from the same siddur each day.

    #1867814
    Doreish HaEmes
    Participant

    To the best of my knowledge mesivta gemorahs have rashi printed in it!! ๐Ÿ˜œ I don’t understand what the problem is. Why does the fact that there is an explanation on the other side of the page mean that you shouldn’t learn rashi. Seem like your friend had a bad influence on you! Everyone has got to decide what they have time to learn! Point is to have a kvius in limud torah.

    #1867842
    ubiquitin
    Participant

    ” I felt very uncomfortable turning the page without even taking a look at one Rashi”

    SO look at Rashi. Nothing wrong with that. In fact it is great

    “I donโ€™t see this type of learning as being anymore connected to other Yidden than the fact that we al daven from the same siddur each day.”

    so very connected. got it

    #1867824
    lebidik yankel
    Participant

    Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote in a letter, (printed in a sefer zikaron put out by the Yeshiva of Staten Island) that every city had a chevrra shas, where the custom was to learn a daf a day. Not everyone was up for it, of course, many learn mishnayos, halachos or said tehillim. But there were those who learned gemara, obviously the upper echelon.
    Rabbi Meir Shapiro innovated that in place of each chevra learning a different misechta, let all learn the same thing, so that Jews the world over would have a common topic of discussion and rapport.
    Obviously, this is a far cry from the one-size-fits-all daf yomi being promoted today….

    #1867931
    Whatsaktome
    Participant

    Ik many where against it when it originally came out since gemara is meant to be learnt each person per his pace and level, some people can learn 2 blatt a day, some an amud etc, if you want to do something with achdus gemara this way is not the best way since in limud hatorah everyone is on a different level “michoteiv etzevha vead shoeiv meimecha”, for sure there are many things that connect all yidden together, but in limud hatorah everyone is on a different level

    #1867966
    akuperma
    Participant

    It was learned with gemaras that by modern standards were poorly printed, usually without electric lights , and with no electronic options. And that’s how all Yidden were learning since before the Middle Ages. Originally much was oral, which at least made lighting less important, but that had ended by the time of the middle ages (period of the gaonim). And books were radically more expensive before modern printing was invented – when armies pillaged a city they carried off the books since they were among the most valuable, portable, objects around.

    Admit it. We are spoiled. If we study was life was like even 100 years ago, we would realize how well off we are.

    #1867971
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The idea was to give a general knowledge. To understand how to learn, learn Chadoshim gam Yeshonim from Rav Yanoson Steif ztz’l. We should see what mussar we can learn from an agadteh, story presented by the gemora. It is not mentioned in vain.

    #1867996
    Haimy
    Participant

    You can’t get through the Daf with a Mesivta or Artscroll & go back to catch the Rashi’s. Rashi needs to be learned step by step line by line. Doing so would take me on average at least an 1 to 2 hours to understand a Blatt properly, Excluding Chazarah. I wasn’t ready for that level of commitment in addition to my other Sedarim. If I forget about Rashi it can be done with an Artscroll in 20-30 minutes. I just felt like I was betraying Rashi & the whole concept of Torah Sheball Peh by ignoring Rashi & just going quickly over the Gemarah with the help of a Mesivta. I also find it hard to believe that this was the original intention of Rav Meir Shapiro when he established Day Yomi. I’m sure he assumed that the Rashi would be learned together with the Gemarah. & that’s a whole different learning experience. I can’t imagine a former Kollel yungerman thinking to himself that learned a blatt Gemarah today without having peered into even one Rashi on the Daf. Even if he has the G”M cold.

    #1867997
    CTRebbe
    Participant

    Let’s keep in mind that for centuries the majority of Jews were not very learned. Poverty in Eastern Euroupe was very very rampant. That meant kids needed to start working at a young age to help support the family. In addition the tools we have today were just not there. Seforim were very hard to come by. One shas in the whole town? The entire population of the yeshiva world combined at the HEIGHT of the yeshiva movement in Lithuania was about 3,000. That is not even half of the just the Mir today.

    That said Torah is given to Jews as a gift based on the amount of yegia and effort a person sacrifices for it. It could be that despite all of these difficulties there were a decent amount of people who could learn gemara on a low level and even fewer who we would classify as gedolim.

    #1868005
    rational
    Participant

    When the Netziv was Rosh Yeshiva in Volozhin, the policy was that the yeshiva learned a daf a day.

    #1868030

    Haimy: If you are learning with the help of Artroll, most of the RASHI’S are elucidated in the commentary. Also remember that gemorah was learnt for many years before Rashi was even born.

    #1868060
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Look at the Rabbenu Bachya at the end of Parashas Ki Siso how originally when they started to write down the oral law, they only were allowed to write down the essentials and the rest was self understood. As the generations became weaker, more and more commentaries became necessary. This is how the gemora came about. This is the meaning of a gemoraโ€™s expression indicating that something is missing. This was done on purpose , at that time, as it was understood without it.

    #1868063
    yitzymotcha
    Participant

    Haimy,
    You are asking a historical question. You’d need to find a written source discussing daf yomi from the 1920s. Do we have the text of Rav Meir Schapiro’s speech calling for Daf Yomi at Katowitz? Does he mention Rashi? Do we have kol koray’s from the period? In the 1980s by a siyum hashas the Kloysenberger Rebbe said one should learn Rashi and Tosfos! That sounds like a lot to me though.
    I started the most recent cycle and it has been amazing. I do Artscroll. Some days I learn just Artscrol and some days Rashi inside too. As lowercourt says, Artscrol brings the Rashi’s on the bottom. You don’t know the future but my attitude is Baezres Hashem if I miss a Rashi or even a blatt I hope I still have 5 more cycles to build on what I learn now. Each cycle will get easier. And I know each day exactly what I have to learn that day.

    #1868115
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    lower, There is a joke which you reminded me. Someone called another a Gaon. He was very impressed. He was told don’t be so impressed, as it just means that you did not learn Rashi.

    #1868137

    if i remember correctly the recordings at e-daf dot com include rashi.

    #1868181
    Benephraim
    Participant

    In Boro Park in the 50s and 60s Rav Karp and Rav Elberg learned the daf in the Agudah. Rabbi Schwartz said a daf in the Young Israel. That is how they learned. I dont remember Harav Singer saying a daf but he gave a shiur in the Sfardische Shul.In the Bronx of the 70’s they learned the daf in Rav Charlop’s Young Israel of Mosholu. In Pelham there was a daf by the Vaad Harabonim in Rabbi Bulka’s shul. In the Gerer shtibel on 91st Street they learned the daf before leining. They also had a daf by Shochetman attended sometimes by RAK.

    #1868229
    Haimy
    Participant

    Kol Hakovod to anyone that commits himself to learning a Blatt Gemarah each day, with or without Rashi. I am grapling with this question myself as I want to embark on a set pace of learning for part of my day. The idea of going through shas without Rashi seems like a change from tradition & is not in the spirit of the Yeshiva mesorah. There is a special sweetness to figuring out a gemarah with Rashi at your side that no study aid can replicate.

    #1868281
    charliehall
    Participant

    Until a 900 years ago, nobody went through shas with Rashi. Rashi was a change from tradition.

    #1868286
    charliehall
    Participant

    I mostly use Rabbi Steinsaltz. In addition to elucidating the Rashi, he often cites Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch for the actual halachah, and brings down interesting historical and scientific information, including drawings (Hebrew translation) or photographs (English translation) that help to place the text in context. Rabbi Steinsaltz also un-censors the censored text based on the old manuscripts so we get what Chazal actually said rather than what ended up in the censored Vilna text; sometimes the differences are important. Artscroll has more references, though, for anyone wanting to do more in-depth research on a single topic. And I think that the form of its elucidation is easier for beginners.

    #1868280
    charliehall
    Participant

    Also true of Steinsaltz.

    #1868289
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    In order to learn on your own, you must know the idioms of the gemora to be able to recognize them and set the words correctly. There is a program available with multiple choice teaching them called Gemora Tutor at jewishsoftware dot com. There is another program that teaches the logic of the gemora called Talmud Master.
    It is also to important to say ืฉื ื™ื ืžืงืจื ื•ืื—ื“ ืชืจื’ื•ื repeat the Torah twice and once its targum, every shabbos, which teaches aramaic, gemora language.

    #1868323
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    As I mentioned from the Rabbenu Bachya, that people should pursue learning on their own and not rely on crutches. Whoever had a proper yeshiva education, should be able to follow the above. If words need translation (not idioms, frequent expressions of the gemora), then use them.

    #1868338
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    There are certain letters that get exchanged in aramaic. ‘ื–’, with ‘ื“’, for example, ื–ื”ื‘ with ื“ื”ื‘.
    Also ื–ื›ืจ with ื“ื›ืจ. A ‘ืฉ’ with a ‘ืช’ like ื™ืฉื‘ืจื• with ื™ืชื‘ืจื•.

    #1868370
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Look at the Ramban and Rabbenu Bachya Devorim (32,25) how the letters change.

    #1870170
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Reb Eliezer,
    ” As the generations became weaker, more and more commentaries became necessary. This is how the gemora came about.” Rav Sheraira Goan writes that Talmud preceded the Mishna. Either way the gemora is dialogue. That makes it difficult to call it commentary.

    #1870209
    Benephraim
    Participant

    As far as the changes in ื“ and ื– etc. do you know why there is this difference and also which came first. It seems that these things should be clarified. Otherwise it is ืžืœืชื ื‘ืœื ื˜ืขืžื.

    #1870233
    yytz
    Participant

    It’s interesting you seem to define Daf Yomi as studying the daf without rashi. I don’t think this is really true. For example, Rabbi Schwartzberg’s daily shiur always includes Rashi. He doesn’t say the Rashi in Hebrew, but he does incorporate every Rashi in his English translation/comments on the Gemara. He also includes many tosafos.

    #1870879
    harvard
    Participant

    Haimy how can I contact you it’s very urgent and time sensitive
    Thanks

    #1871355
    Benephraim
    Participant

    It is almost 100 years since RMS started the DY. Ger was in favor but Chabad was nod. I know they make siyumim in Chabad Yeshivas quite often. While I never spoke in learning with him some people believe that I am a ืชืœืžื™ื“ of Rav Mentlick. z”l. Harav Rivkin z”l was the masmich and menahel of Torah Vodaas where the Rebbe RMMS was very revered. I was friendly with his einekel who was also a descendant of the Buffalo Rov and many admorim .

    #1876388
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Haimy,
    ARtscroll and Mesivta do not fill in the blanks. They are doing something else. Gemara can be learned effectively without Rashi. You need to decide what are you focusing on. The Gemara itself? Or only as a stepping stone to everything that was written after?

    #1876458
    DovidBT
    Participant

    Gemara can be learned effectively without Rashi.

    Did Rashi quote himself in discussions with contemporaries?

    Reuven: “Rashi, what’s the meaning of this passage in Shabbos 111b?”
    Rashi: “Well, Rashi says it means ….”

    #1877219
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Dovid,
    My apologies on leaving out the determiner. Being that ‘the kuntries’ was originally incognito, Rashi may very well have quoted himself. I have wondered about this.

    #1877285
    rational
    Participant

    I know of no evidence that Rashi wrote incognito. He was already famous at age 20, and became Rav of Troyes at age 30 or so, when he established his own yeshiva there. The term “kuntrus” is used only because his perush was published in “notebook=kuntrus” form, with many copies available. This is similar to the famous “stencils” of the Brisker Rov. Say the word “stencil” in yeshivishe circles and everyone knows what is means. That does not make the work anonymous, rather it identifies the author publicly. Thus, it is also unlikely that Rashi needed to quote himself anywhere. All knew of him and his copied works.

    #1877323
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    This has been documented in various biographies of Rashi. As well as overviews of the Tosofos. I never checked if it is authentic. I have heard it from various historians. I think Rabbi Berel Wein and Rabbi Avrohom Birnbaum.

    #1877443
    rational
    Participant

    Without disparaging either of the two highly esteemed Rabbonim mentioned above, neither is a bona fide historical scholar. Their conclusions are not based on painstaking research of primary sources (kitvei yad, comparisons of different nuschaot, etc…) but on what previous Rabbonim have conjectured. Their writings are beautifully written for the layman but are not considered serious scholarship material. I too had been taught that Rashi wrote his Perush anonymously, but this is no more than romantic hagiographic conjecture without any historical basis.

    For a serious analysis look in Grossman’s ื—ื›ืžื™ ืฆืจืคืช ื”ืจืืฉื•ื ื™ื, (see especially pages 227-230) where he quotes Lifshitz, Epstein, Zunz, Friedman, Ta-Shma, Havazelet and others. No one entertains the possibility that Rashi wrote anonymously, quite the contrary. The questions, still under debate, are how many versions of his Perush did Rashi write, what was their nature (original? emendations to previous perushim? written with or by his talmidim?) and separately, what is the nature of Rashi-like perushim (Rashi on the Rif for example), and what happened to the original Rashi Perush on masechtot which clearly were written by others and not Rashi (Rashbam in several places, Nedarim, etc…) ?

    In any case, ืจื‘ ื”ื ืกืชืจ ืขืœ ื”ื ื’ืœื” on this riveting topic.

    #1877467
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Rational,
    I know, I know. I came across it in earlier works. Maybe Horowitz or Eisenstein. I know again, do not care very much. The incognito model is acknowledged to have been in place, prior to tosafists. To what extent, and if this included Rashi using his own writings unassumingly is conjecture. I never bothered looking into it.

    #1877970
    rational
    Participant

    Dear nomesorah
    The phenomenon of writing anonymously is quite interesting and amusing, if only because it totally confounds the historians. Who wrote a specific anonymous piece? LOL.

    And yet, there were periods where almost all wrote anonymously, especially early kabbalisitic works from the 4th to 9th centuries after the churban. Apparently, the extreme modesty of these authors enabled them to forego the fame. Since these esoteric works were written for the elite few and were not meant to be seen by the hamon am, it’s not surprising that the author kept silent.

    As far as halachic works go, there were few, and not anonymous, even though our sources are somewhat sketchy.. The ones we know about are the B’hag written in Iraq (?), the Seder Amram Gaon, and the Machzor Vitri, written by R’ Simcha of Vitri. Obviously the latter two are not anonymous.

    As far as perushim of the Talmud, the major question is whether they were written by one person (Rabeinu Hananel ?) or by groups of students of a great teacher, such as Rabeinu Gershom. Most think thet Perush rabeinu Gersom was written by his students and not by him, albeit they were his teachings. As is well known, Rashi was the greatest mefaresh and was able to accomplish what no one since has been able to. Whether he himself wrote all of his perushim or guided and edited what his students wrote in his name is debatable, but his name traveled far and wide very quickly. His Perush was never anonymous, nor was that of the Rashbam . His kuntrusim were so accepted that almost no one felt the need to compete. The result was the expansion of a different form of perush, the dialectic question-answer style of the baa’lei hatosfot. This style was not new, Rashi also used it, but Rabeinu Tam and the Ri perfected it.

    When you become more interested, the two major works on Rashi and Tosfos are Grossman’s ื—ื›ืžื™ ืืฉื›ื ื– ื”ืจืืฉื•ื ื™ื, ื—ื›ืžื™ ืฆืจืคืช ื”ืจืืฉื•ื ื™ื and Auerbach’s groundbreaking work , ื‘ืขืœื™ ื”ืชื•ืกืคื•ืช. Almost all later works are based on these.

    Enjoy.

    #1878018
    147
    Participant

    Haimy:- Somehow you managed to forgot to mention Soncino which has been around for Gemoro since 1938, and is very good for Daf-Yomi, because:- 1) Despite whatever issues about authenticity of Soncino notes on Nach, yet by Gemoroh, Soncino notes are authentic; 2) With lightning speed that Daf-Yomi moves along, Artscroll notes are too cumbersome whereas Soncino notes, and Steinsaltz notes for that matter, are of durable length.

    #1878077
    huju
    Participant

    Daf Yomi was originally studied weekly because the learners were Yiddish speakers but not fluent in Hebrew.

    #1878106
    Haimy
    Participant

    My main intention was to rethink the original intention the originators of daf Yomi had. I don’t know why this aspect of torah learning has almost been forgotten from fine balei batim. Learning a piece of Gemarah with Rashi is a thrill not to be missed which no equivalent study aid can compare. I simply felt too guilty tuning the page without looking at one Rashi that I decided to try the Oraysoh Amud Yomi program. Rashi is Rabon Shel Yisroel!, how can we leave him out of our study of Gemara? Of course, all the study aids are relying on Rashi, but don’t you want to learn from our Rebbi first hand?.

    #1878158
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Haimy,
    Learn Gemara a page a day with zero Rashi. Every Shabbos pick one sugya to go over with Rashi. [One of my problems in yeshiva was that Gemara without Rashi was ignored. Like, if it wasn’t in Rashi the Gemara could not have said it.]

    #1878165
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Rational,
    The anonymity of Kabbilistic writings did not end 1000 years ago. Anonymous manuscripts abound from all eras. What changed was we have very little in terms of relying on the contents of these manuscripts. Even the Rokeach’s writings use pseudonyms.
    I’m confused why the halachic works of yore are not anonymous. Sefer Mekach, Sefer Chafetz, Sefer Hamiktzuois, Bassar Al Gabbai Gecholim, Mesivos, and Shimusha Rabbah are all of unknown authorship. Really I should say i am confused in general. Maybe you were just giving information.

    I am curious if you know of anyone who wrote about the kuntreis being anonymous as fact or myth.

    “His kuntrusim were so accepted that almost no one felt the need to compete. The result was the expansion of a different form of perush, the dialectic question-answer style of the baaโ€™lei hatosfot. This style was not new, Rashi also used it, but Rabeinu Tam and the Ri perfected it.”
    I think I disagree with this take.

    I believe I came across both works you referenced. Neither one seemed conclusive. I took to learning the tosofos themselves. Yuchsin, Kerisus, Or Zaruah, etc.

    I am enjoying, Than you!

    #1878252
    specticated
    Participant

    I think that using a artscrol or a tape makes it to easy. i found a soncino gemarah and it makes it much harder. i think thats the point. learning is supposed to be about shvitzing over the blatt

    #1878428
    Pekak
    Participant

    @N0M

    If you learn without Rashi, you make up your own pshat.

    #1878524
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Pekak,
    You are making up your own pshat in Rashi if you are unaware of how the gemara came to be. Rashi was very cognizant of this. And if you mean that everyone before Rashi made up their own pshat, that is what I am trying to do. Even when I spend a whole week on the rashi.

    #1878623
    Pekak
    Participant

    Rashi makes the Gemara available to the masses. Chumash as well. My father’s Rosh Yeshiva discouraged bochurim from learning masechta nedarim so they shouldn’t think that they could learn without Rashi. But then, your name says that Mesorah is meaningless to you.

    #1878658
    yitzymotcha
    Participant

    DovidBt
    Maybe Rashi did quote himself in conversation. Who knows. I read last week that someone asked the Chofetz Chaim a shalyla and he told him to look it up in the mishnah berurah.

    #1879212
    rational
    Participant

    Dear Nomesorah
    Not ignoring you, just haven’t had the time to comment again on this. Hope to get to it next week.
    Shabbat Shalom

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