Ventures of Beginning
Recently, thousands of people around the world finished daf yomi. Daf yomi is a seven and a half year cycle of reading a page of Talmud every single day. The idea is that the world is connected through a prism of study, each of us threaded together through our learning and growing.
Now that the cycle is starting over, Facebook and Instagram are bombarded with people wanting to delve into the daf yomi adventure. Rabbis and teachers posting tidbits of learning to keep themselves on track. Podcasts inspiring budding learners to stay committed to this Talmudic endeavor.
Sadly, I also noticed naysayers admonishing these learners, claiming they won’t be as ambitious two or three months from now, let alone two or three years. But here is my response to the criticism: how can a little extra Torah study hurt the world? Whether someone completes the cycle or gets a few more pages of Talmudic ethical inquiry, halakhic struggle, moral questioning or mental exercise, who are we to critique someone’s desire to begin something new?
And the lesson extends to all ventures of beginning: starting a musical instrument, exercise regimen, hobby, or learning a new language. Whoever got anywhere in life without being willing to take one first step? Hiatus and pauses and restarts may be included in the journey but some of the best lessons come in picking up right where you left off.
Plato is known for saying, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Don’t let the naysayers get you down. The end of the journey should not be the ultimate goal. Enjoy each day as your adventure unfolds.
What a beautiful time to begin…or begin again.