What were the arguments against the dafyomi cycle proposed by Gedolim when Rabbi Meir Shapiro tried to found it?

  • 1
    Why do you think that there were arguments against it?
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 28 '17 at 22:45
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    – mevaqesh
    Jan 4 '18 at 22:31

According to this site,

the Lithuanian yeshivas [who] felt that the study of one page per day would become perfunctory and not convey the depth of Talmudic knowledge.

This site summarizes an argument but doesn't attribute it to any historical voices,

The breakneck pace means that the learning is often superficial and not committed to memory.

This youtube video has a discussion including historical opposition (starting at about 1:10) which gets to the ideas presented on the other pages I cited.

  • I saw that page (the first one that comes up when googling 'opposition to daf yomi'). However the problem is that they used to learn more than a page a day in Lithuanian yeshivot. I wonder if this isnt just an anachronism.
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 28 '17 at 23:43
  • @mevaqesh I'm no expert but I have to wonder if the concern was that for non-advanced learners, the required amount destroyed the potential for learning in depth, or learning to a level of mastery (on some days it was too much, and on others, too little). Those in Lithuanian yeshivot were probably more advanced. But just my guess. I'm just data mining and reporting.
    – rosends
    Dec 28 '17 at 23:46
  • 1
    I thought of that, but remained somewhat skeptical
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 28 '17 at 23:49
  • According to these answers, which seem to be more anti-fast pace rather than anti-everyone learning the same thing, everywhere (the main idea behind the program), were there any counter-proposals to do amud yomi instead (a program which, TTBOMK, was created for these very reasons, but is much more recent)?
    – DonielF
    Dec 28 '17 at 23:59
  • @mevaqesh OK thanks for clearing that up. I do remember reading that rabbonim then complained that people would learn too little by staying within one daf. Dec 29 '17 at 2:06

The following are some of the arguments of R. Hayyim Eleazar Shapira (Rebbe of Munkacz and author of Shu"t Minhat Elazar) a contemporary of R. Meir Shapiro who held that the Daf Yomi was ridiculous:

“For how can one learn a page every day when the pages almost always end in the middle of a subject.” Divrei Torah (Brooklyn, 1998), vol. 6, no. 82. Elsewhere he explained that the great danger in joining a Daf Yomi group is that one might be led to adopt the Agudat Israel ideology, "and Heaven forbid to join with them." Iggerot Shapirin (Brooklyn, 1983), p. 319. He also accused the Agudah of initiating the Daf Yomi in order to have at its disposal ready-made groups that could be used to colonize the Land of Israel. See Sha’ar Yisaschar (Brooklyn, 1992), p. 382. (Source see footnote 7).

Another rabbinic great who opposed it at the time, was the Satmar Rav, R. Yoel Teitelbaum. Like the Minhat Elazar, he suggested that it was part of an Agudist Zionist plot. As quoted in Kovetz Ginas Verodim (2011) of Satmar, (in turn quoted here), he said that that:

The Agudists use the study of Daf Yomi to show that they study Torah, but their intent was to cover up the bad that they do though this - strengthening the various heretical Zionists (Trans. my own).

This page also noted:

While I do not think that R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik can be called an opponent of Daf Yomi, I was present at a shiur in the summer of 1985 where he expressed his dismay that due to the growing popularity of Daf Yomi, people were no longer studying all six orders of the Mishnah, much of which has no Talmud and is thus not included in the Daf Yomi cycle.

At the time of the initiation of Daf Yomi, R. Soloveitchik was a rising star, but he probably wasn't a well known opponent of the time. The view of a near contemporary is nevertheless relevant.

Obviously, these aren't my views, and I am not endorsing them. I am answering the question of why some rabbis at the time, including the very influential Minhat Elazar and Satmar RAv, opposed it. This isn't the place to attack them, or their ideas.

  • Do you have the source for that Satmar Rov quote? You just linked back to the Wikipedia page, and that page doesn't mention the issue or provide the quote you linked.
    – Yehuda
    Aug 29 at 20:12

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