By Rochelle Maruch Miller
Inundated with the many pressures and demands of living in a frenetic and fast-paced society, today’s typical ba’al habayis is all too often overwhelmed with the rigors and routines of his daily schedule, depleting him of much of the energy and attention necessary to maintain a serious learning program.
Baruch Hashem we have been afforded an abundance of priceless tools that have made it possible to integrate learning into their schedules. Artscroll and Oz V’Hodor are among the innovative publishers who have dared to explore uncharted territories, revolutionizing Torah learning for our generation. Now, as never before, we are privileged to have access to a stellar array of shiurim by outstanding rabbanim. Despite all of these opportunities, many individuals still find it difficult to remain committed and are dissatisfied with the quality of quick-paced learning programs. To address these concerns, many individuals have begun exploring how advanced technology can be implemented to help advance Jewish education and improve Torah study; particularly through visual learning.
The power of visual learning has long been recognized as an effective means of enhancing comprehension and retention of newly learned skills. Studies have shown that the more senses are stimulated during a learning session, the higher the rate of understanding and retention.
Animated videos have become increasingly popular as highly effective teaching tools. At the forefront of this initiative in the Torah world is Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Friedman, who has released numerous powerful educational videos, including the groundbreaking 3D animated Beis HaMikdash, Birchas Hachamah, Kiddush Hachodesh, and Hilchos Treifos with Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, shlita. Besides the visual impact of these striking presentations, educators have praised the clarity and organization with which these complicated and unfamiliar subjects were presented.
Building on those successfully developed programs, Rabbi Friedman, along with the vision and guidance of Mr. Chesky Kauftheil of Mishkan Yecheskel, have developed a revolutionary three-step program of studying and retaining the blatt through visual learning.
One-minute intro. In this superb introduction to the daf, the maggid shiur presents a clear and concise outline of all the important concepts the Gemara will be discussing. Animated and illustrated on the screen alongside him, the maggid shiur’s words come to life as he speaks, capturing the individual’s full attention and maintaining it all throughout the shiur.
Daf Hachaim shiur. Rabbi Shlomie Schwartzberg, a highly respected member of the Lakewood community, is the maggid shiur for Daf Hachaim’s initial English shiurim. A much sought after lecturer for yeshivos, Bais Yaakovs, and kiruv organizations, Rabbi Schwartzberg delivers a meticulously prepared, clear, and well-organized shiur on the daf. The scope of his Torah knowledge and warm personality are an integral part of this unique learning experience.
The five-minute review. Review is absolutely vital to ensure mastery and retention of the daf, regardless of how well a shiur was presented and how high the level of focus. Reviewing is a powerful learning tool; it serves to reinforce newly acquired knowledge, helping us to remember as well as enhancing our understanding. Faced with the deadlines and demands of a hectic schedule, reviewing can be a challenge, particularly after closing the Gemara and focusing on mundane matters.
The maggid shiur presents a concise, “concept-centered” review, together with animated charts, illustrations, and photos. The review section is a key component to the learning, facilitating understanding and retention. The ability to successfully review with such alacrity and facile will infuse the individual with a “bren” for reviewing the daf. Learners can easily find five minutes of free time during the day to review the daf, inscribing it visually and conceptually in their minds.
Masechta Berachos is now available free of charge at www.DafHachaim.com. Coming soon: Daf Hachaim App and DVD.