Thursday, January 16, 2020


Erev Shabbos Kodesh parshas Shemos
20 Teves 5780/January 17, 2020

Raf and the Daf[1]
I am Raf. I do the Daf.

That Raf he does Daf.
I do not like Raf who does Daf.

Would you like to join and do the Daf?
I cannot Raf; cannot do the Daf!

Would you learn it here or there;
Would you learn it anywhere?

I cannot learn it here or there
I cannot do it anywhere.

Would you learn it in your den;
would you learn it with a guy named Ben?
Would you learn it when going far;
would you learn it in your car?

I cannot do the daily Daf;
it’s just too hard Mr. Raf!

Would you be doing it in your house;
Would you be encouraged by your spouse?
Would you do it at a wedding;
Would you ensure there’s no forgetting?
Would you go to a shiur in Yiddish;
Would you learn it at a kiddush?
Would you learn it from a CD;
Would you rather from an MP3?
Would you even give the shiur;
Would you just listen in your chair?
Would you in the rain or snow;
Would you learn it on the go?
Would you, could you on a train;
Would you, could you on a plane?
Would you Yom Kippur afternoon;
Would you learn it on the moon?
Would you make it a life עיקר;
Would you on Purim when you’re שיכור?
Will you say “it doesn’t pas”;
Or will you use an Artscroll Shas?
Would you overcome a life of מיתותא;
Would you learn each night with a chavrusa?
Would you learn it from a Sage:
 Would you ensure to do that page?
Would you do it when sick and tired;
Would you do it after getting fired?
Would you do it when you’re harried;
Would you do it after your child gets married?
Would you learn it in your shul;
Would you learn it at the pool?
Would you learn it after a chupah
Would you when vacationing in Aruba?
Would you delve into every סברא:
Would you meet Abayei and Rava?
Would you learn it after Pesach Seder;
Would you give daily nachas to your Creator?

Ok Raf, if you’ll just let me be
I’ll try the Daf, just wait and see

Hey! I CAN do the Daf!
I CAN do it - thank you Raf!
I can do it here or there;
I can do it anywhere!
I can do it in my den;
I can do it with my friend Ben!
I can do it when going far;
I can do it in my car!
I can do it in my house;
I can do it - thanks to my spouse!
I can do it at a wedding;
I can do it - no forgetting!
I can do it – maybe not in Yiddish;
I can do it after kiddush!
I can learn it from a CD;
I can learn it from an MP3!
I can learn it at a shiur;
I can listen in my chair!
I can learn it - rain or snow;
I can learn it wherever I go!
I can learn it on the train;
I can learn it on a plane!
I can do it Yom Kippur afternoon;
I can even do it on the moon!
I can make it my life עיקר;
I can do it before becoming שיכור!
I can do it even sick and tired;
I can do it - hopefully won’t get fired!
I can do it when I’m harried;
I can do it even when getting married!
I can do it at a shul;
I can do it before the pool!
I can do it after a chuppah;
I can do it - where’s Aruba?
I can delve into every סברא;
My new best friends are Abayei and Rava!

I can learn it now or later;
I can give nachas to my Creator!

I can do all twenty-seven hundred and eleven;
I can earn this great ticket to heaven!
I can do it - just a Daf each day;
I can do it - hip hip hurray!

            Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
R’ Dani and Chani Staum       

[1] Dedicated in honor of my father who made his fifth Siyum Hashas with Daf Yomi last week and dedicated in honor of my mother who has been there throughout.

Thursday, January 9, 2020


Erev Shabbos Kodesh parshas Vayechi - Shabbas Chazak!
13 Teves 5780/January 10, 2020


            Like so many other Jews, the Staum family’s American roots begin on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. My grandparents all lived there, and until we moved to Monsey in September 1988, I myself grew up on the hallowed streets of the Lower East Side. We lived in an apartment on the second floor of 550G Grand Street.
            We had wonderful neighbors. On one side was Mrs. Fine, and on the other side were Pauline and Itchie Hagler. Whenever we could, we would knock on the Hagler door, where we were always welcomed with a smile and a cookie (or two).
            Aside for years of friendship, Itchie a’h left a lasting impact upon our family. It was he who suggested and encouraged my father to begin learning Daf Yomi in the early 80s. Since then, during the last almost forty years, my father has consistently learned the Daf every day. His stately Chosson Shas has a check on the corner of every page, from the days before Artscroll was even published.
            Last week I had the proud honor to accompany my father to celebrate his fifth Siyum Hashas.
            In truth, there is another reason why I was very excited for the recent Siyum; I had to rectify something.
            On Tuesday evening, March 1, 2005 I went with my father to celebrate the eleventh international Siyum Hashas, and my father’s third, at Madison Square Garden. The moment the Siyum ended, and there was a jovial cry of Mazal Tov, I hugged my father. I was truly proud of him. My father is of the first attendees at his shiur every night. He rarely misses a day, and when he does, he pre-plans how and when he is going to learn the Daf. It doesn’t matter what else is going on. Right after Pesach, the last hours before Yom Kippur, after eating at the conclusion of Tisha B’av - he’s always running out to the Daf. My mother, of course, shares all those merits.
            On August 1, 2012 I drove in from camp and met my father at MetLife Stadium to celebrate the twelfth Siyum Hashas, and his fourth. For the first while, everyone was just taking in the fact that there were well over 90,000 Jews together celebrating the Siyum.
            At one point I left my seat and made my way down to try my luck and see if I can get onto the field. I was indeed able to and I walked right up the dais. I saw the leading rabbinic personalities sitting there and snapped some pictures. But I didn’t plan well, and suddenly the Siyum was made, shouts of Mazal Tov ensued and there was intense dancing on the field. It was an amazing experience to be there and the dancing was beautiful. But I felt terrible that I had missed that special moment to hug my father right after the Siyum was completed. When I finally came back up, I wished him Mazal Tov but it wasn’t the same. I had missed the moment.
            I waited seven and a half years to rectify my folly. Last week, when the shout of Mazal Tov rang out, I indeed gave my father that proud hug. The dancing may not have been as intense in our seats as it was on the field level, but if was far more meaningful and special for me.
            It was a reminder to me that sometimes we miss the moment because we become too excited with other things, despite the fact that those distractions may be important or exciting.
            I hope my children will have as much nachas from me as I do from my parents’ dedication to Torah!

            Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
R’ Dani and Chani Staum