The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously passed H.Res. 124, honoring the Jewish Community on its completion of the 11th seven-year cycle of the daily study of the Talmud. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) joined with Congressman Anthony D. Weiner (D-NY) to introduce the resolution. Congressman Nadler’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:
“I rise in support of H.Res.124, a resolution honoring the Jewish Community on their seven year completion of the 11th cycle of the daily study of the Talmud which I introduced together with Congressman Weiner.
Tossed into a stormy sea when his ship was wrecked, the great Talmudic sage Rabbi Akiva was given up for lost. This is how he later described his miraculous rescue to Rabbi Gamaliel: ‘A daf from the ship suddenly appeared as a salvation, and I just let the waves pass over me.’
When Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the rabbi of Lublin, Poland initiated the program for Jews all over the world to study the same daf yomi, he explained the significance of this undertaking by paraphrasing Rabbi Akiva: ‘A daf is the instrument of our survival in the stormy seas of today. If we cling to it faithfully all the waves of tribulation will but pass over us.’
The latest 7 year cycle of the completion of the Talmud will occur on Adar I 5765, March 1, 2005. This will complete a formidable seven-and-a-half year educational and daily study cycle introduced in 1923 at Agudath Israel’s first international Congress in Vienna by Polish Rabbi Meir Shapiro ‘to enhance the sense of unity of Jews worldwide.’
The entire Talmud is covered in seven and a half years by those who keep to the prescribed daily pace. By studying the Talmud, groups and individuals throughout the world spend time learning the precious details of Jewish law and life. They are able to develop a clear and learned understanding of Jewish history. People study in every country and every city, in groups, alone, with friends, on the phone and over the Internet.
Corporate directors and cab drivers, doctors and shop owners of different ages and nationalities come together to learn the Talmud. Tens of thousands around the globe are all on the same page - literally. In the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, for example, at least 200 fathers of young children gather each night at 10 p.m.
I am proud that more than 50,000 are expected to attend this year's event at Madison Square Garden, the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, and Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey. Approximately 120,000 people are expected to participate across America.
In addition, more than 25,000 other Jews, in 33 locations ranging from Mexico City to Melbourne, Australia, from Los Angeles to Toronto, will be linked to the festivities by satellite television.
I join in their joy and celebration. This monumental achievement in study, dedication, perseverance, and persistence is a lesson for contemporary society and for people of good will everywhere.
I take this opportunity to congratulate the students and teachers of the Daf Yomi program on the occasion of their celebration of the completion of the 11th cycle of the Daf Hayomi, and wish them well on beginning the 12th cycle.”