Daf Yomi: Cycle 13 is a reading plan for the Babylonian Talmud.
The Babylonian Talmud (a.k.a. Bavli) is one of the most important texts of the Jewish faith. But reading Bavli can be a daunting undertaking: early print editions filled over 5,400 rather dense pages and modern typeset editions often span dozens of volumes.
In 1923, Rabbi Meir Shapiro proposed a reading plan for Bavli which consisted of reading one page (two sides) per day, following the most common pagination (that found in the Bomberg/Venice Talmud of 1523, which was followed by most subsequent editions, including the popular Vilna Talmud of 1835). Thus each cycle covers the entire Talmud in about 7 years, 5 months. Unlike reading plans which can start at any time, Daf Yomi (Page of the Day) has each reading fixed to the calendar so that the entire community is reading the same Daf together each day. This synchronization has encouraged new benefits in the digital age, with blogs and podcasts and other internet resources dedicated to helping answer questions about the day’s Daf—very handy for new readers of the Talmud.
Daf Yomi has grown to be a very popular approach to Talmud study. Since 1923, the entire cycle has been completed 12 times, with the last finishing on August 2, 2012 (an event which culminated in the celebration of Siyum HaShas with an estimated 300,000 participants in large venues around the world marking the occasion). This reading plan starts the next day on August 3rd and covers the complete 13th cycle, which will finish in January of 2020.
The Logos Bible Software edition of Daf Yomi: Cycle 13 is designed to function best with the Jacob Neusner editions of the Talmuds, released earlier in 2012. (Without the Talmuds installed, one can still see the bookmark for what should be read each day—perhaps useful if one is trying to look up the day’s reading for use with a printed Talmud. But with the Neusner Talmuds installed, the Cycle 13 reading plan will display each day’s reading inside the plan with KeyLinks to jump to the other resources. Logos generally remembers where you left off in each resource, but there is a handy ‘Today’s Reading’ link at the beginning of the reading plan.)
When the cycle gets to the tractate Sheqalim (Shekels), the reading plan switches to the Jerusalem Talmud (Yerushalmi). This is because Bavli originally had no commentary (Gemara) on Sheqalim, but Daf Yomi follows a print edition that copies Sheqalim over from Yerushalmi. The Logos edition of the schedule tracks with those changes. Likewise, for a few days towards the end of the cycle, there are some readings that are only found in Neusner’s Mishnah, not his Talmuds (content which has no commentary in Bavli or Yerushalmi), but if you have Neusner’s The Mishnah: A New Translation, you won’t have to miss a beat
(Special thanks go to the Dafyomi Advancement Forum. Their publication of the entire 12th cycle helped us identify the order of readings and locate the tricky spots mentioned above.)
For anyone wishing to learn more about Judaism in general or the Talmud in particular, Daf Yomi is a great place to start. Get your free Cycle 13 reading plan today!