| My COVID Hero |

The Little Booklet That Could

As we mark one year since the pandemic changed our lives, we asked you to introduce us to your COVID heroes

For us bochurim, being out of yeshivah spelled likely disaster. Without structure, without seeing our rebbi or chavrusas, where would we get the drive to learn? That’s where my COVID hero comes in.

My COVID hero is Shas Chaburah, a goal-oriented chazarah program that really changed my three-month-long exile from yeshivah for the better. It caused me to shteig more than I ever had before, and showed how much one can accomplish with just a little push.

The program, which was introduced to me by an older bochur in my yeshivah, is a very structured combination of learning new material and reviewing old material. It has you learning something new every day, which you record in their booklet. You review that same Gemara a second time the next day (Day two), a third time a week later (Day Nine), and a fourth time 30 days after that (Day 39). But along with the review, you keep covering new ground. For example, on day 39 of the program, you learn something new, plus review what you learned new on days 1, 31, and 38.

I started the program a few months before Purim and kept at it very devotedly. Then came lockdown. It was a big transition from learning in person to learning on the phone. Compounding the problem was the fact that our yeshivah didn’t come up with a structured learning schedule until after Pesach, so I learned a little bit with a couple of chavrusas, and still stuck to Shas Chaburah. All in all, I didn’t learn much.

But during the Pesach bein hazmanim break, I started accelerating the amount of new material I learned each day. (Don’t worry, I helped clean for Pesach too.) I would stay up extremely late each night, not going to sleep until I finished my goal. I finished a few perakim three times. It was extremely hard, and extremely rewarding.

After bein hazmanim, our yeshivah instituted more of a structure, but since it was on the phone, I found the learning very challenging. I tried hard, but my real shteiging came once my family went to sleep. Without distractions, I would keep on learning, staying up until I finished my goal, which sometimes took hours.

Looking back, I would not have been able to shteig during COVID as much as I did without the little push that Shas Chaburah provided during these extremely difficult times.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 854)

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