Join Me In My New Year Resolution

The beginning of a new calendar year is the time when we are inspired to make resolutions, to lose weight, to exercise, or to start a new hobby. Although these good intentions are fueled with optimism, other responsibilities often intervene and prevent us from fulfilling them. So I stopped taking part in this well-meaning tradition, despite the many areas where I could make improvements. My abstinence ended when I saw the article in My Jewish Learning “Get Your Daily Dose of Talmud” (https://www.myjewishlearning.com/get-your-daily-dose-of-talmud/). 

 

January 5, 2020 marked the beginning of the next Daf Yomi cycle, the seven and half-year cycle of Talmud reading done at the rhythm of one page a day, both sides. This program provides a short email each day highlighting a key argument, a pearl of wisdom, a beautiful interpretation, a spiritual insight, or even an ancient rabbinic joke from that day's Talmud page. Intrigued, I have made my New Year’s resolution to participate in the program.

The Talmud is the comprehensive written version of Jewish oral law and subsequent commentaries. It originates from the 2nd century CE and is written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The Talmud is the source of Jewish Halakhah (law). Rabbis often cite the Talmud in their sermons. These citations can be funny, wise or just practical.

Although the Talmud always has intrigued me, I have thought that it was something only for dedicated students and not accessible to people like me. I am mistaken. The Daf Yomi, the "page of the day", program, offers Jews all over the world the possibility to read the same page at the same time. Initially it was mostly meant for the Yeshiva students, but soon became popular with the layperson. Now in the era of the internet, the program allows all of us to become a “Talmudist”.

I’m a believer in life-long learning. This offer to study Talmud online allows me to start a new adventure.

But I’m a bit apprehensive. This is a seven-and-a-half-year commitment and I fear that there might be moments of weakness along the route. I need a supportive environment. If any fellow IJCers might be interested in joining me on this adventure, I would like to extend an invitation. Our own Talmud Club! We could exchange and share our insights over a cup of coffee/tea/meal once a month or form a Facebook group or chat over Skype or connect in any other form.

Interested? Please contact me at anusirkku@gmail.com.

Anu Ristola

President IJC