Friday, April 19, marks not only the beginning of tractate Bechoros but also the beginning of a new component in the OU’s line-up of Daf Yomi series: Jewish History in Daf Yomi. Developed by the OU’s new Daf Yomi Initiative, which is spearheaded by Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Rabbi Steven Weil and Rabbi Moshe Schwed, this ground-breaking program will discuss aspects of Jewish history as they appear on each and every page of the Gemara.
Jewish History in Daf Yomi is written and produced by Dr. Henry Abramson, Dean of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Flatbush. Dr. Abramson received his doctorate in history from the University of Toronto, the first PhD in Ukrainian-Jewish history presented since the Chair of Ukrainian Studies was established there. He has held appointments at a number of prestigious institutions, including Oxford University, Cornell University, Harvard University and Hebrew University.
The new series will delve into biographies, culture, geography, numismatics and other realia. The goal is to cover the entire seven-and-a-half year cycle – 2,711 videos in all.
As Jewish History in Daf Yomi begins at the start of tractate Bechoros, it is fitting that the series’ initial topic is a discussion of why Talmudic tractates traditionally begin on page two (shiur posted above). Other topics like currency used in the Talmud and life for converts provide a fascinating glimpse into what life was like during Talmudic times.
Whether you’re a regular follower of Daf Yomi or not, you’ll find that this accessible series provides a 360-degree view of the Gemara through a level of detail that is rarely presented alongside the study of the daily daf.
Questions and comments about the new Jewish History in Daf Yomi series can be directed to the OU Daf Yomi Initiative’s Director, Rabbi Moshe Schwed, at email@example.com.