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Two Projects of a Lifetime

He was not privileged to have children of his own and he would often say that the two projects that comprised his life’s work were his children. Today is the anniversary of the passing of Rav Meir Shapiro from Lublin. These are the “children” he left behind:

  • HaDaf HaYomi (daily study of a gemara page). His dream was to unite the Jewish world through a single global network, in which everyone would learn the same gemara page each day. His goal was not just to connect and synchronize Jews all over the world but to demonstrate how  one drop of water and another and another eventually make an ocean. One page and then another, and once every 7 years you can finish the entire Talmud, all 2,711 pages. The circle of learners whose pulse beats in rhythm to HaDaf HaYomi has grown from year to year, until today.
  • Yeshivat Chochmei Lublin (Yeshiva of the Sages of Lublin). This large yeshiva was a glorious educational enterprise. At the entrance to the yeshiva you saw these words: “Go, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear the Lord.” (Psalms 34:12) The Rav explained: “Why did King David say ‘Go, my children, listen to me’ and not ‘come, my children’? He should call them to come to him in order to listen to his words. But the real test of an education, of whether any real listening took place, occurs after the children go, after they leave school. Only then is it possible to see if they really learned something and internalized it. And perhaps there is a connection between this idea and the Daf HaYomi, that is really meant for those who have already embarked on life’s journey but want to remain connected and to continue to listen.

It’s amazing how much one person can do in just 46 years of life. May Rav Shapiro’s memory be a blessing for us all.

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin


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