When learning Gemara in general, and especially in a Daf Yomi arrangement, we regularly encounter passages of Aggadot. Usually, students move quickly through these Aggadic passages in order to return to the “real” sugyah. Rarely is adequate and meaningful consideration given to the deeper meanings and symbolisms of the stories and homilies presented in these Aggadot.
However, these Aggadot present very significant content. They teach us wisdom and mussar, cloaked in allegory and symbolism. To understand the depth of the Aggadot, it is necessary to probe beyond the allegory and symbols to the deeper meaning of the passages.
For the student of Daf Yomi, this project provides a unique value added to learning:
For the first time, this project makes it possible to include in study of the Daf Yomi a brief but important window into the Aggadic world. We have divided the Aggadot in the Massechet into individual sugyot, and to each sugyah of Aggadah we have appended a commentary which introduces the deeper meaning behind the parables and allegories. In consideration of the Daf Yomi environment, it was important for us to maintain brevity to the extent possible, to enable use of the commentary in the flow of Daf Yomi study. However, it is commonplace in Gemara to encounter stretches of many pages of Talmud without Aggadah, and then to encounter full pages of Aggadah! It is clear that study of Daf Yomi does not permit in depth analysis of so many Aggadot on one Talmudic page. Our suggestion is that each student select from those Aggadot on the Daf those passages we have explained in the commentary, thus allowing for an experience of deeper Aggadic understanding within the framework of Daf Yomi.
We hope that the commentary on Aggadot as a whole, and its adaptation to the environment of Daf Yomi, will open a window for students into this remarkable world of our Rabbis. Your comments and suggestions are welcome!