Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

New York - The 76th Yahrzeit Of Rav Meir Shapiro zatzal Founder of The Daf Yomi

Published on: October 25, 2009 10:36 AM
By: VIN News By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
Change text size Text Size  
Bookmark and Share
Rav Yehuda Meir Shapiro Zt'lRav Yehuda Meir Shapiro Zt’l

New York - The Chofetz Chaim was often saddened by the fact that certain Seforim and certain Mesechtos were virtually ignored.  The Midrashei Halacha, comprised of the Mechilta, the Sifra and Sifrei, were written by Tannaim.  They form the very first commentary on Chumash – but for some reason few opened these holy seforim.  The Chofetz Chaim considered it a Mais Mitzvah to learn these Seforim.

Further saddening the great Chofetz Chaim was the fact that not only were the Midrashei Halacha disregarded, but entire Mesechtos of the Talmud were ignored as well.  Indeed, this state of affairs was even worse than that of the Midrashei Halacha – because the Talmud Bavli was the authoritative repository of all halacha.

Advertisement:

To the Chofetz Chaim’s delight, this situation was single-handedly resolved by one man – Rav Meir Shapiro zatzal.  Indeed, on one occasion, the Chofetz Chaim informed Rav Shapiro of his great affection for him – telling him of the great changes he had accomplished in the heavenly world.  Who was Rav Meir Shapiro?  And what, if we dare conjecture, might have been his z’chus to play this extraordinary role in the history of the Jewish people?
Lehavdil, the great Kabbalists and authors of great literary works have something in common.  It is called “foreshadowing.”  The dictionary defines it as:
To present an indication or a suggestion of beforehand; presage.

Rav Yehuda Meir Shapiro was born on March 3rd, 1887 in the city of Shatz, Romania.  March 3rd fell on the 7th of Adar.  This was the day both of Moshe Rabbeinu’s birth and of his Yahrtzeit.  Clearly, the young lad was destined for greatness.

His parents were Rav Yaakov Shimshon and Rebbitzen Margale.  Rav Yaakov had served as the Rav and Raavad of Shatz.  Margale was the daughter of the Minchas Shai, Reb Shmuel Shorr zatzal.

Nowadays, we hire tutors for our children when they are behind in their studies.  At that time, however, knowledgeable parents who could afford it (and even those who couldn’t) would hire tutors in order to ensure that a child grow in Torah at a prodigiously rapid rate.
And Rebbitzen Margale did just that. 

Two of the tutors that she had hired were Rav Shalom of Shistov and Rav Yehudah Leib Flohr.

But just after Pesach in 1894, the seven year old Meir Shapiro found his mother in tears.  Why?  The tutor she had hired had not yet arrived.  Every day that passes where a child is not learning to full capacity is an extraordinary tragedy- one that should and must bring one to tears. The young lad was profoundly impacted by his mother’s tears, as he mentioned it many years later when he first opened the doors to his Yeshiva, “Chachmei Lublin.” If only the menahelim and parents who sometimes delay entry of their child to the first day of Yeshiva would take note of this.

The tutor arrived and stayed for six years.  Imagine having a personal Rosh Yeshiva learning with your child.  Not just any Rosh Yeshiva and not just any child.  Young Meir Shapiro had given his first original Dvar Torah at age four.  After a year with the tutor he had covered significant sections of Shas.  Some report he had finished it. 

After two years, the young boy became known as the Ilui of Shatz.  The tutor knew what he was doing.  He had taught him all of Yore Deah by heart.  Rabbonim came from Romania, Poland and all of Galicia to test him.  They walked away impressed.

Shortly after his Bar Mitzvah, Rav Meir was sent to study under and spend time with his illustrious grandfather, the Minchas Shai.  His grandfather was a prominent Rav in Galicia.  There, he broadened his knowledge of communal issues and psak halacha.  He had spent eighteen months under his grandfather;s tutelage until his grandfather had passed away.

He learned straight until his marriage at the age of nineteen in 1906.

Rav Meir Shapiro published his first Sefer, Imrei Daas, shortly after his marriage.  It was a Sefer on the Parshios.

AT the age of 23, Rav Meir Shapiro took the position of Rav of Gliniany (also known as Glina), a small town outside of L’vov.  Under his leadership this small town soon became a prime model of what a Torahdike town could look like.  He upgraded every single religious institution in town –especially the cheder.  He opened up a Yeshiva Gedolah and ran it with love and dedication to each Talmid.

The transformation of this town was noted by the leaders of the new organization called Agudas Yisroel.  Rav Meir Shapiro was invited to head the Education Department of this new organization and teach others of the remarkable possibilities that can be accomplished.  Rav Meir Shapiro, was a mechanech – par excellence. 

From his parents he knew of the importance of paying mechanchim well and on time.  From his experience with his tutors, he knew what worked.  He had organized a curriculum that was farreaching, but doable.  His ideas were viewed at the time as revolutionary – and workable.
All his communal work did not make Rav Meir ignore his learning.  In 1925 he published a responsa sefer called Ohr Meir.  The Sefer deals with remarkably complex shailos that span all four sections of Shulchan Aruch.

Rav Meir’s policy when he ran his Yeshivos was to take in every child.  The idea of not accepting a child for any reason was abhorrent to him.  He even made sure that the children of the poor received special tutoring as well.  His efforts bore fruit.  Many of these poor students grew up to be illustrious Talmidei Chachomim.

In 1923, Rav Meir Shapiro presented the brainchild that he would become famous for.  At the Agudah’s first Knissia, he introduced the idea of Daf Yomi. 
His major goal in this innovation, believe it or not was, achdus – Jewish unity.  He writes “When two Jews from different towns, or even different countries, meet, the knowledge they share on the Gemara currently being studied will help them form a deep bond of friendship.”

Today, the Daf HaYomi is learned by all - Chassidim, Litvaks, Chardal, modern Orthodox, Modern Chassidish.  Rav Meir Shapiro had no children.  But, from another perspective, he has tens of thousands of children.

Rabbi Shapiro became ill with Typhus in 1933 and died within a month on 27 October 1933 at the young age of 47. His death was marked by popular mourning across Jewish and non Jewish Poland. Countless newspapers across the entire political spectrum from orthodox to Yiddishist to Socialist featured front page biographies of Rabbi Shapiro.

In honor of this remarkable Tazdik on his Yahrtzeit zayin Cheshvan, VIN News is launching a daily Daf HaYomi column written by Rabbi Yair Hoffman.  The column will highlight one issue of interest on the Daf.  It is requested that the comment section for the column be reserved only for Torah discussions and questions on that particular Daf only.  It is hoped that this column will help achieve the unity, friendship and achdus in Avodas Hashem that Rav Meir Shapiro zatzal dedicated his life to achieve. Amain!


More of today's headlines

New York - In honor Of Rav Meir Shapiro zatzal Founder of The Daf Yomi on his Yahrtzeit today zayin Cheshvan, VIN News is launching a daily Daf HaYomi column written by... Jerusalem - The written ban by four prominent haredi leaders, including Rabbi Y.S. Elyashiv, just as tourists flooded local hotels for Succot, created much media...

 

Total14

Read Comments (14)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Oct 25, 2009 at 10:42 AM Correction Says:

R' Meir introduced the idea to the crowds, but was not the one who came up with the idea!.

2

 Oct 25, 2009 at 10:49 AM m r Says:

Hey Vin- kol hakovod !

3

 Oct 25, 2009 at 12:14 PM Chaim B. Says:

Does anyone know who R'Meir's Rebbi was?
HE was the one who might of been the inventor of the daf hayomi.

4

 Oct 25, 2009 at 01:14 PM ST Says:

Who cares who the iventor was.

If Daf Hayomi is a good thing, then he is the one that deserves the credit for it. The one who invented it originaly, might get merit, but after all its because of Reb Meir that Thousands are doing the Daf.

5

 Oct 25, 2009 at 02:46 PM Anonymous Says:

see the url. It seems that the daf idea was NOT MahaM Shapiro's. He does and should get credit for the marketing though.

http://agmk.blogspot.com/2008/04/daf-yomi-predecessor-in-america.html

HaRav Shapiro was one of the last Ish haEshkolot incredibly talented in all aspects of humanity. a thinker, a dreamer, a speaker a doer. one of the last to have accomplished so much in so little time. What a loss.
Anyone know the story of how his death saved the Yeshivah - he had life insurance from LoL?? I heard the details once from the Rav in Far Rockaway - but never saw it written.

6

 Oct 25, 2009 at 03:04 PM Anonymous Says:

There have been versions of the daf yomi that date back to the times of the chazon ish.

8

 Oct 25, 2009 at 03:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

There have been versions of the daf yomi that date back to the times of the chazon ish.

You need to learn some history; the chazon ish lived after rav meir shapiro.

9

 Oct 25, 2009 at 05:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
ST Says:

Who cares who the iventor was.

If Daf Hayomi is a good thing, then he is the one that deserves the credit for it. The one who invented it originaly, might get merit, but after all its because of Reb Meir that Thousands are doing the Daf.

the originator of the idea of daf hayomi was Reb Mayer Shapira's rebbi Reb Yisroel Freidman zt'l famously known as the Chortkover Rebbe who was also the co-founder of the Aguda movement together with the Chofetz chaim the Gerrer rebbe & the vilna rov Reb Chaim oizer

10

 Oct 25, 2009 at 09:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Dear #8,

The Chazon Ish did live after Rav Meir Shapiro, but he was born nine years earlier. He could have promulgated such a system, but we have no record of it as far as I know..

11

 Oct 26, 2009 at 07:56 AM Anonymous Says:

Interesting to note- that Rabbi Yair Hoffman’s wife is a great-granddaughter of Rav Yehuda Leib Flohr who was one of Rav Meir Shapiro’s tutors.

12

 Oct 26, 2009 at 07:29 AM matzahlocal101 Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

see the url. It seems that the daf idea was NOT MahaM Shapiro's. He does and should get credit for the marketing though.

http://agmk.blogspot.com/2008/04/daf-yomi-predecessor-in-america.html

HaRav Shapiro was one of the last Ish haEshkolot incredibly talented in all aspects of humanity. a thinker, a dreamer, a speaker a doer. one of the last to have accomplished so much in so little time. What a loss.
Anyone know the story of how his death saved the Yeshivah - he had life insurance from LoL?? I heard the details once from the Rav in Far Rockaway - but never saw it written.

#5,
In order to gain publicity, a life insurance salesman (a new concept at that time) said he would pay Reb Meir the total Death benefit up front bichayov, if Reb Meir would pay the premiums so he could say Reb Meir was a customer. The story is in print. Reb Meir took the money, $50,000 in the version that I read and used it to complete the Yeshiva.

The story says:
"Rav Meir’s policy when he ran his Yeshivos was to take in every child. The idea of not accepting a child for any reason was abhorrent to him. He even made sure that the children of the poor received special tutoring as well. His efforts bore fruit. Many of these poor students grew up to be illustrious Talmidei Chachomim."

The gemara itself says be careful with the children of the poor, because from them Torah will go forth. This may have referred to a cheder for small children however Reb Meir did not just anyone into the Yeshiva. The entrance exam was a closed book test on 200 blatt Rashi Gemara and Tosfos.

Another point not mentioned was that Reb Meir served in the Sejm, the Polish Parliment. It should be noted that when the Chortkover Rebbe zt'l wanted someone to look after Jewish interests in the sejm he did not send a clean shaven college educated maskil. He sent the biggest talmid chochum who could do the job, Reb Meir. Even though Reb Meir would have preferred not to do it, he could not refuse his rebbe.

And lastly, in the story we see the power of a Yiddishe Momma's tears. Not tears that son should graduate college, get a degree, get married and make big money. Tears that one day of Torah learning was missing from the life of a seven year old. Gei masber zein far di maderneh.

13

 Oct 26, 2009 at 01:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

see the url. It seems that the daf idea was NOT MahaM Shapiro's. He does and should get credit for the marketing though.

http://agmk.blogspot.com/2008/04/daf-yomi-predecessor-in-america.html

HaRav Shapiro was one of the last Ish haEshkolot incredibly talented in all aspects of humanity. a thinker, a dreamer, a speaker a doer. one of the last to have accomplished so much in so little time. What a loss.
Anyone know the story of how his death saved the Yeshivah - he had life insurance from LoL?? I heard the details once from the Rav in Far Rockaway - but never saw it written.

MaRam Shapiro was a Chortkover chosid & his Rebbe who came up with the idea charged Rav Mayer with the task of pioneering & promoting it. the Rebbe told R'Mayer that if he himself were to announce the idea people would have the excuse not to learn the daf by saying "im not a chortkover chosid" how right he was - the daily Rambam shiur is mostly only learnt by lubavitcher & daf-yomi-yerushalmi is mostly learnt by only gerrer etc.

14

 Oct 25, 2009 at 10:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Interesting to note- that Rabbi Yair Hoffman's wife is a great-granddaughter of Rav Yehuda Leib Flohr who was one of Rav Meir Shapiro's tutors.

15

 Oct 26, 2009 at 12:06 PM historian Says:

Reply to #1  
Correction Says:

R' Meir introduced the idea to the crowds, but was not the one who came up with the idea!.

actually , its the opposite. the gerer rebbe made it a mass movmement, but reb meir only introduced it to a small group of pepolle during the knessiah gedola

16

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!