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R’ Shlomo Karliner
(1738-1792) tells us that the word גמרא is related to גומרי, burning coals
because Gemara is like fiery coals that purify us. R’ Aharon Karliner remarked
that when a Jew awakens in the morning, he has בלטה, blutte (Yiddish
for mud) on his face. He washes it off with a blatt of Gemara as the blatt
removes the blutte. In this way, we can interpret גמרא גמור
Learn Gemara and then it will cut off (זמורתא as in וכרמך לא תזמור, don’t prune your
vineyard) the shells of impurity. This
is also hinted to in the word גמרא as it also means to
destroy as in בקשו לגמר... since this is what learning
Gemara does to the shells of impurity.
R’ Meir Shapiro introduced
the idea of Daf Yomi at the כנסיה גדולה at age 35 in front of many Gedolim who
were much older than him like this: The Gemara
relates that Rabban Gamliel said that he was once on a ship when the ship was
sinking and he was pained by the thought of R’ Akiva who had been on that ship
since he was now surely lost. When he came up to dry land, R’ Akiva came and
deliberated before Rabban Gamliel in a matter of law. Rabban Gamliel asked him,
“Who raised you out of the water.” The reply: I took hold of a דף, board from the ship and before every wave that came, I bowed
my head and it passed over me. R’ Shapiro said there are so many
waves—secularism, immorality, materialism... These need to be fought with a Daf
of Gemara daily.
In the Sefer Sheves
from R’ Eliyahu Dovid
and R’ Tzvi Yehuda Rabinowitz-Teumim, it says we heard in the name of R’ Avraham
the brother of the Gra that גמרא is called so because when Ravina and R’
Ashi finished compiling the Gemara, they sent it to the מתיבתא דרקיע, heavenly academy, for them to agree that it should be תורה שבעל פה. Four Malachim signed on this—גבריאל, מיכאל,
רפאל, אוריאל—whose initials spell גמרא.
the brother of the Maharal, comments that גמרא are the initials of גבריאל, מיכאל, רפאל, and אוריאל (Malachim) since when
one learns Gemara he is surrounded by them. These protect and save a person
The Divrei Shmuel (1850-1916),
the second Slonimer Rebbe, related that when he has a problem, which prevents
him from being happy, he learns a page of Gemara to become happy again. For a
big problem, he would learn two pages of Gemara as then the problem wouldn’t
bother him any longer. If the problem was extremely severe, he would learn
three pages of Gemara. As he put it: then there is nothing that can take away
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander
Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia
Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and
publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim
where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching
Jews of all levels of observance.
R’ Eliyahu Dovid (1843-1905) and R’ Tzvi Yehuda Rabinowitz-Teumim
(1843-1887) were twin brothers, which is the source for the additional name תאומים, twins. ר' אליהו דוד רבינוביץ תאומים is also by his acronym אדרת, Aderes. At the age of five his mother died and from then on,
his father, R’ Binyomin Rabinowitz—who completed Shas every month—raised him
and his twin brother alone. R’ Eliyahu Dovid studied under the
tutelage of his father. He davened at sunrise and would stay in the Beis
Midrash to learn until noon, only then coming home to eat. He was married to Feige Minna, with whom he had seven
children. His daughter Batsheva married R’ Kook in 1886, but she died a
few years later. R’ Eliyahu Dovid
encouraged R’ Kook to marry his niece, the daughter of his brother Tzvi Yehuda.
The Aderes (R’ Eliyahu Dovid) became Rav
in the city of Ponovitch and Mir and also taught in the Mir Yeshiva. He
emigrated to Yerushalayim where in 1901 he was appointed as assistant to the
aging R’ Shmuel Salant, Rav of Yerushalayim. The
Aderes penned over 120 books. The Chofetz Chaim in a letter wrote about him:
“The great Gaon, penetrating and scholarly, סיני ועוקר הרים, Tzaddik in his ways and perfect in his deeds.”