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B"H

I heard that the rabbis who started daf yomi didn't consult the 6th Rebbe before doing so, and therefore Chabad doesn't officially learn daf yomi. Is there a basis for this? What was the Rebbe's, and 6th Rebbe's, view on daf yomi?

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    very related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/18270/…
    – Joel K
    Commented May 22 at 10:50
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    Where could you have heard that? Surely not from Chabad, since the story casts a bad light on the Rebbe, making him look vindictive? And who else would know?
    – MichoelR
    Commented May 23 at 20:42
  • @MichoelR I heard it from my Chabad rabbi and a few people in yeshiva. It's not about revenge it's just that it shows if they didn't trust his advice then we shouldn't trust theirs Commented May 24 at 1:00
  • @Awtsmoos--עצמות Sounds strange to me. He was the leading Chassidic rabbi in Russia, but the Agudah was based in Lithuania and Poland and Germany, and anyhow Chabad has never joined it. How would they "not trust his advice"? It has always been Chabad's choice to go it alone and remain independent.
    – MichoelR
    Commented May 24 at 13:21

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See WHAT WAS OUR REBBEIM’S POSITION ON ‘DAF YOMI’? at https://anash.org/what-was-our-rebbeims-position-on-daf-yomi/

The conclusions of the author, Mendel Teitelbaum, are:

Having gone through all the above-mentioned sources and more, I would like to lay out in short what I discovered:

  1. Regarding the objection (mentioned by the Rebbe in the Sicha of 5748) against learning fixed amounts (“halomed Torah liprakim“):

The Rebbe, as well as previous Rebbeim, encouraged Chassidim to have a set study cycle of Gemara and other Nigleh Shiurim. Several months prior to the establishment of Daf Yomi, the Frierdiker Rebbe said that Chassidim should learn an Amud a day. In addition, in the Hatomim journal, the Frierdiker Rebbe writes that the Alter Rebbe had instituted in his time the study of a Daf a day.

Furthermore, the Rebbe was supportive of the Daf Yomi in Yerushalmi started by the Gerrer Rebbe – which is also fixed learning – yet the Rebbe never said that everyone should take it on. What the Rebbe was explaining in the sicha, as can be clearly understood by looking inside, was why Lubavitch didn’t embrace the takana and instate it as a widespread custom. This does not however mean that no one should learn it.

I should mention that if you find an issue with learning in this format, learning it one day off wouldn’t help.

  1. Regarding the quote from the Rebbe that since the Frierdiker Rebbe didn’t instruct bochurim to follow it shows “tachlis hashelila bazeh” – “clear rejection of it”:

Although that line is written in one incomplete transcript, in all other hanachos it has it the other way around: that although the Frierdiker Rebbe didn’t reject it explicitly, he never instructed the bochurim to do it.

Moreover, a careful examination of the Sichos shows that the Rebbeim didn’t oppose Daf Yomi at all. The Rebbe mentioned it on numerous occasions and even encouraged it in multiple letters (see the booklet below). The Frierdiker Rebbe himself demanded of some to learn Daf Yomi. Though this may not be a proof in support, it definitely makes it hard to say that the Rebbeim opposed it.

  1. The Sicha of the Rebbe must be understood in the context of the Farbrengen.

The Rebbe wasn’t saying that Daf Yomi is wrong, but why Daf Yomi isn’t included in what the Rebbe had explained a week earlier, that when we see others doing something good, we must join in, just as Aharon was saddened that he hadn’t brought the opening korbanos like the Nesiim. Following the earlier Sicha, the Rebbe said, he had been asked: Why then don’t we join Daf Yomi which is also a good thing that others are doing?

The Rebbe, therefore, explained that Aharon was only sad when he saw that all of the Nesiim brought the korbanos. But if only some people are doing something good, it’s not necessarily something that I must do. Similarly, said the Rebbe, Daf Yomi was not adopted by all of Klal Yisroel at the time, for various reasons, rather it was something that certain communities took upon themselves.

Meaning the Rebbe never said not to learn it, but rather why it’s not something Chabad accepted as an official takana for everyone to do.

  1. In the Sicha of the Frierdiker Rebbe, he derides those who think that due to their study of Daf Yomi millions of malochim rise for them and are building for him a new Gan Eden, while in the past a simple farmer knew that before going to work, he must learn a Daf Gemara.

This clearly indicated that Daf Yomi itself isn’t the issue, but rather it’s the mindset of the person that is an issue, and it can result from other areas of learning and practice as well. In fact, the opposite is implied – that everyone should be learning a Daf of Gemara every day (albeit perhaps not specifically in the widespread cycle).

  1. There is no mention anywhere about any instruction not to learn Daf Yomi due to its association with Agudas Yisroel, though seeing the Frierdiker Rebbe’s opposition to it I can understand if for that reason someone feels more comfortable learning a day off or a different cycle. It should be noted that the Rebbe mentioned that the founder of Daf Yomi, R. Meir Shapiro, was a Chossid, and that it is interesting that the misnagdim nonetheless embraced it.

My goal is not to encourage people to learn Daf Yomi specifically, and everyone can decide what works for them. Of course, we should learn Gemara since it’s Hashem’s Torah and not merely to “finish Shas”, and of course also it should not take away from learning Rambam and Chassidus daily. But if for learning Gemara one finds it helpful to follow a set cycle, it seems clear that there is no objection to following this program. What’s certain is that someone who doesn’t have a daily Kvius for Gemara shouldn’t be running around screaming at people who learn Daf Yomi.

My sentiments are not to be taken as objectives truth. Those with dissenting opinions and proofs should please share them by emailing [email protected].

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    Arguably the strongest reason is that Chabad has a competing system for learning shas. I'm surprised he doesn't mention it.
    – shmosel
    Commented May 22 at 17:50
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    Commented May 23 at 15:04
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I heard that the rabbis who started daf yomi didn't consult the 6th Rebbe before doing so, and therefore Chabad doesn't officially learn daf yomi.

Not being consulted about it beforehand is a pretty odd reason not to officially learn daf yomi. By that logic most groups wouldn't or shouldn't.

Anyway, I heard from elderly Chabad Chasidim who actually knew the 6th Rebbe that he specifically avoided voicing his opinion publicly. On the one hand he did not want to advocate it because he felt that the mass learning of Daf Yomi would replace the type of learning that had been the common approach for hundreds of years in Eastern Europe. There were different groups for people of different abilities and inclination. There was a chevra shas, a chevra mishnoyis, a chevra ein yaakov, a chevra halacha etc. He was uncomfortable with the promotion of the mass learning of Daf Yomi which (would have) replace(d) those groups. On the flip side he did not oppose Daf Yomi or have intrinsic opposition to those who want to learn it doing so.(see below) He therefore did not want to say anything that would discourage it either. Because of his conflicting considerations he avoided taking a public position at all.

I was also told that he himself apparently learned Daf Yomi. Although he never actually said that he did, people claimed to have noticed that the mesechta being learned by Daf Yomi was seen on his desk too often for it to have been a coincidence.

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