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15,000 Take Largest Talmud Test in History

Last Friday more than 15,000 Torah scholars joined together around the world for the largest Talmud test in history.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 9/13/2012, 7:16 AM

Talmud study
Talmud study
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Last Friday more than 15,000 Torah scholars joined together around the world for the largest Talmud test in history.

The event, which took place in dozens of the organization's international testing centers, was a 30-Daf Dirshu Kinyan Torah test on Gemara Brachos of the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi.

In plain English, this involved an examination of the scholars' command over a 30-page section of the Tractate Brachos, in the 13th cycle of the “Daf Yomi” daily Torah learning program.

The two-and-a-half-hour test included an intricate written exam conducted in vast halls that were converted into testing centers, packed with rows of chairs and desks.

The largest testing centers were located in the Israeli cities of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, and many were visited by leading rabbis who delivered speeches of inspiration to those who had gathered for the test.

Among them was the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, who began with the famous passage, “Dirshu Hashem v'uzo – Seek out Hashem and His strength.” He referred to the words of the Sages which state, “There is no strength other than Torah,” expounding that one who aspires to seek Hashem can do so only through His strength, the holy Torah.

The Rebbe went on to quote his father, the Ba'al HaYeshuos Moshe, zy”a, saying, “When it comes to Shas (Talmud and Mishna), a Jew must always repeat, 'I don't know' yet. 'I don't know' the Yerushalmi. 'I don't know' every perek in Shulchan Aruch (the compendium of Jewish law). This way, he will constantly reinforce the truth that he has no time to waste in this world and will devote every moment of time to learn the holy Torah,” he said.

"We weren't expecting this kind of turnout,” one site coordinator remarked in amazement. “But with faith in heaven, everything worked out. Everyone who came was able to be tested on the material they had diligently learned, studied and mastered.”