"This program's incredible!
How did it start?"
On a Wednesday morning in March 2005, the 12th Daf Yomi cycle began. Like thousands of others, a man in Passaic sat down that morning to begin Maseches Berachos. But unlike those Daf Yomi learners, he set forth to make his way through shas at the pace of a daf per week. His goal was to allow time to thoroughly grasp even the most challenging sugyos, and to do significant chazarah — spending a week mastering each daf before moving to the next one. He shared his vision with others, and soon it began to catch on.
Today, the Daf Hashovua (aka Daf-A-Week) program includes thousands of participants in more than 20 cities worldwide. The pace encourages lomdim to take increasing responsibility for their learning, and as they do, many find it growing more meaningful and rewarding than ever before.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM DAF A WEEK?
Almost anyone! It provides a structured framework in which anyone with a desire to step up their learning can do so with the support and chevraschaft of a large and ever-growing tzibur. It can do for them what it’s done for us—imbue their learning with seriousness of purpose and unmatched satisfaction, ultimately providing genuine chiyus and simchas hachayim.
Daf Hashovua's pace is designed to allow participants the time to learn each daf with clarity and also review it enough to retain the information. The slogan of Daf Hashovua has been, "Learn it, Review it, Own it!" Those who are able to invest sufficient time into proper chazarah can indeed make a true kinyan b'Torah, one masechta at a time, to whatever level of depth they are able to achieve. Many who have joined the program have remarked how their learning has become so much sweeter because they feel they can finally retain their learning in ways they were never able to before!
Of course, there is also an ultimate goal of getting through Shas through this limud. Although it may be encouraging that Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit"a has given his personal bracha that those who have started the program should be able to complete it, nonetheless with a nearly 52-year cycle on this program, that goal may seem very distant or perhaps out of reach for some. Indeed, getting through Shas can be achieved much faster by learning Daf Yomi, but the main goal of Daf Hashovua is the quality of the learning and the remembering of it. This is bolstered, in a way similar to Daf Yomi, by the fact that the learning is at a fixed, disciplined pace, and participants are in the company of many others who are learning the same gemara along with them.
Daf Hashovua has been catching on quickly, and programs have already been established in dozens of communities. Many will learn the daf b'chavrusa, while others will learn it initially by attending a shiur. Each community has different learning programs and shiurim available according to the needs of that community, and the resources to support participants have been steadily increasing. What is common, however, is that similar to Daf Yomi, all participants are following a fixed pace which offers structure and a steady roadmap for their learning.
In addition to local resources, a great deal of material is available online via this website as well, in the form of audio shiurim and marei mekomos.