By Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss
When I am eating a meal at home alone, I tend to read biographies of gedolim while eating. Recently, I was reading an ArtScroll biography concerning Rav Meir Shapiro, ztl, zya, inventor of the Daf HaYomi. It mentioned that when the BluzhaverRebbe, Zt”l, say, spoke by the SiyumHaShas in the Felt Forum, he commented that he was present in Vienna when Rav Shapiro introduced the idea of Daf Yomi, in the presence of the Chofetz Chaim, Rav Chaim Ozer and the ChortkoverRebbe, amongst many others. I had the merit to know the BluzhaverRebbe. He did the upsharin on our oldest son, Nechemia. So, it got me thinking that, as I am now saying my fifth cycle of DafHaYomi, bliayin hara, through my association to the Rebbe, I am linked to the very beginning of the start of the Daf Yomi phenomenon. So it is with great excitement that I’d like to share with my dear readers an awesome gematria that was told to me by one of my congregants, Reb Leizer Kern, shlita.
It is concerning a verse in Tehillim that we say daily in our Hodu prayer in Pesukeid’Zimrah and we also say it in the beginning of V’huRachum on Mondays and Thursdays. The posuk is as follows: Atah Hashem lo sichlarachamechamimenichasd’chav’amit’chatomidyitzruni – You, Hashem, Your mercy will never cease to be with me, Your kindness and Your truth perpetually guard me. Now, fasten your seatbelts. The total gematria of this posuk is exactly 2711, precisely the number of dafim that there are in Shas, and thus the number of days in the complete Daf Yomi cycle. You couldn’t choose a better posuk if you tried to encapsulate the Daf HaYomi, for in this verse we say that Hashem’s kindness and truth will always protect us.
The word tomid, which means perpetually, fits perfectly for the Daf Yomi, which never stops. And the Torah, which is known as TorasChesed, a Torah of kindness and is the Oracle of truth, is what affords us the very best protection. As we are taught, “Ki chaimheiml’motza’eihem – It (the Torah) is life to those who find it.”
When we finish a masechta, a tractate, and certainly when we finish shas, we say in the siyum “B’shoch’b’chatishmoralecha, that ever when you’re sleeping in the grave (after 120), the Torah will watch over you. (No other mitzvah promises such protection.) So we can only imagine how much Torah protects us while we’re alive.
Constant Torah study, like Daf Yomi, is the only pursuit that promises good health without any side effects. All other medicines are good for one thing and bad for another. But, about the Torah it says, Rifus hi lisharechaul’cholb’soromarpei – It brings cure to your navel and healing to ALL your flesh.” The word yitzruni can also mean ‘to guide me,’ because the constant study of Torah is the best tour guidethrough the challenges and vicissitudes of life. As we say in the siyyum, “B’hishalech’chatanchehosoch – when you walk through to Life, It (Torah) will lead you and direct you.”
The beginning of this verse also fits like a glove on the theme of Daf Yomi, for it says You, Hashem, will never cease to have mercy upon me. This is, measure for measure, a reward for those who study the Daf Yomi ceaselessly, never missing a day, not even the day of the seder, when their wife has a baby, when their daughter is getting married, or when they are packing up to the country. Even the unusual word ‘sichla,’ spelled sof-chof-lammed-alef, which means ‘finish,’ is particularly suited to the Daf Yomi message for, when we finish Shas, symbolized by sof (end), also the last letter of the alefbeis, and we complete everything-hinted to by the next two letters chof-lamed, which spells kol and means everything, we right away begin again and start from the beginning symbolized by the alef, which means the first page. And this ceaseless study provides ceaseless mercy for us and our families.
So, as we are learning the delicious masechtasBava Basra in Daf Yomi now, I ask you to start your own personal 2711 day voyage and may it shower Torah blessings upon you and your entire family.
Please learn and daven for the refuahsheleima of Miriam Liba bas Devorah, b’sochshaarcholeiYisroel.
Sheldon Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.
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