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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Thoughts on Daf Yomi

I was fortunate to meet Reena through the Boston Hadran group. We recently began to meet once a week to discuss highlights of the Daf. This is Reena's story. I feel so fortunate to know her and that she would share her own powerful story on this page. Thank you, Reena.

Thoughts on Daf Yomi - Reena Slovin

This cycle of Daf Yomi began at a fortuitous time for me. In January 2020, while the rest of the world was beginning to deal with Covid, I was also beginning the process of a stem cell transplant. The transplant was delayed a few times, and I needed to undergo intensive inpatient and outpatient therapies, finally undergoing the actual transplant in July 2020. This medically required period of extreme isolation forced me to take leave from work and normal life but gave me time to delve into many other favorite pursuits, including the Torah and Talmud study.

I did not feel isolated. I began Daf Yomi at the very start of this current cycle. Several members of my extended family joined me almost daily in studying a portion of the daf together online. Sometimes I participated from one hospital room or another during periods when I was not allowed a single in-person visitor. After I came home, I would learn the Daf with the group from my bedroom. On Friday night and Shabbat meals, my husband and I would look over portions of the Daf together. I bought each new Masechet as we got to it, listened to podcasts, watched videos and read summaries. I even contributed a few entries into My Jewish Learnings “Daily Dose of the Daf”.

Now that I am past the difficult recovery period and am able to participate in much of what life has to offer, I find myself even more committed to learning the Daf every day. Although I don’t catch and certainly don’t retain many details, I find the learning to be interesting and illuminating. It stimulates me intellectually and connects me with the Jewish text-based learning that I loved when I was in highschool and college. It also helps me understand the underpinnings of so much individual and communal Jewish practice in which I participate. I enjoy hearing the competing points of views of the rabbis and am often astounded by the psychological depth of their thinking, so very many years ago when life was as different from now as one can possibly imagine.

It motivates me to participate in a Jewish endeavor that I share with so many around the world and I am so inspired by the contributions and participation of women this time around. The siyyumim I attend are touching and uplifting, causing me to want to learn more and connect more. I am thrilled to have found a group of Boston area women who have committed to sharing our Daf insights and creativity with one another on a weekly basis,

Personally, “Doing the Daf” has meant receiving new, healthy bone marrow from a generous donor and using my newly granted and valuable time to engage, grow and connect through this learning.

Reena Slovin is a Jewish educator and well into the third year of the Daf Yomi cycle.

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