By Hannah Adler
“So how are you doing it?” Seemingly one of the most basic questions that an individual could be asked, but in the context of learning Daf Yomi, the potential answers seem endless. From accompanying Shiurim (Torah classes) to email lists, the Daf Yomi enterprise has grown exponentially over the years. Just a quick Google search will reveal the myriad of ways to approach this tremendous feat, and personally the sheer amount of content can be overwhelming. This massive exposure led me on a journey to find the most essential Daf Yomi podcasts currently being produced.
The Classics: This category is both expansive yet constantly evolving, in that the space of Daf Yomi podcasting is a relatively new invention. One would be remiss to exclude the prominent influences of websites like YUTorah and TorahAnytime for the sheer variety of content accessible on their platforms. That aside, in the more contemporary space are the likes of those produced by independent synagogues, as well as those featured on the OU Torah website and app. These tend to follow a more traditional form and on average fall out at the thirty minute mark. For a beginner who is looking for a consistent accompaniment to motivate their learning schedule, this is a great path to take.
The Time-Crunch: The dispute behind the optimal time range for a Daf Yomi practice has its own unique history, with many focusing on the most efficient retention model. For the practiced Daf Yomi veteran, these quick overviews of the Daf (page of Gemara) harmonize the vast amount of content while still making each individual Daf feel relevant to each person. Because of the shorter form, this category has grown in popularity with its ease of accessibility. It truly embodies the statement found in the Mishna in Avot 1:16,“Shammai used to say: make your [study of the] Torah a fixed practice; speak little, but do much; and receive all men with a pleasant countenance.”
So what has worked best for me? In an effort to be wholly authentic, I will admit that the mission of “Staying Up With the Daf” continues to feel immense. There are days when the Daf itself takes me close to an hour to get through, and others where I barely want to start in the first place. Having these “companions” has been the most integral factor in my ability to not only stay on track, but glean the most from this process. The feeling of having a reliable voice and method to turn to six days a week really helps me connect to the global effort that is the Daf Yomi cycle, and for that I am immensely grateful.