Earlier in September, a man suffered a stroke in his home in Petah Tikvah, and his family members called emergency services for help. Shimon Bach, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, was in shul for the morning prayers when he received the alert.
“As I was putting on my tefillin, I received an alert on my emergency communication device notifying me about a man who was suffering what they suspected was a stroke just a block away from my location. I grabbed my medical kit, ran outside, and rushed there. I arrived in less than 2 minutes.”
At which point Bach was startled when he discovered that his patient was also his study partner, with whom Bach learns every day.
“We study the Babylonian Talmud together as part of the Daf Yomi (the study of a daily page of the Talmud)” Bach explained.
Bach gave his chavrusa a quick and thorough check-up and found that he had all the signs of a stroke: his jaw was drooped, he couldn’t use his right hand, and he was unable to talk.
“He recognized me but couldn’t communicate,” Bach recalled. “I took his vital signs and waited with him until the ambulance arrived. When it did, I briefed the ambulance crew about his condition and helped put my friend and study partner into the ambulance. I wished him a full recovery and he was whisked away to the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva.”
Just before Rosh Hashanah, Bach’s chavrusa was released from the hospital after fully recovering from the stroke. Bach met up with him, and they eventually sat down to continue their daily study.
“When I showed up, he was very moved and thanked me for being there to help him,” Bach said. “He invited me to a special thanksgiving meal for his recovery and hasn’t stopped thanking me since then. I am grateful to God that I was at the right place at the right time and that we have resumed our studying once more with a new sense of appreciation for each other, and for the time we have together.”
Tens of thousands of Jews worldwide study in the Daf Yomi program, and more than 300,000 participate in the Siyum HaShas, an event celebrating the culmination of the cycle of learning. The Daf Yomi program has been credited with making Talmud study accessible to Jews who are not necessarily Torah scholars and contributing to Jewish continuity after the Holocaust as a unifying factor among Jews. Each day of the calendar, including holidays and fast days, is included in the Daf Yomi schedule, with a plethora of online audio and video lectures available.