Tonight we're going to have a siyum on Kesubos. A small affair for fifteen to twenty people in our shul and catered by Benny's restaurant. I believe this is already the fifteenth siyum we're making. Amazing how time flies.
I was in two yeshivas, Sinai and Chaim Berlin. Don't really remember if we learned gemmorah in Sinai or not. In Chaim Berlin, we did, and it was boring me to death. The whole time I was there I was in a bal teshuva class. Since we were considered beyond help or hope, we basically stayed on the same page the whole year and that's not what I consider fun or a good use of my time. Another problem I had with learning was that the class was focused on memorizing the gemorrah in Aramaic instead of moving ahead. In my opinion, this servers no point. Aramaic is not loshon hakodesh. Yes, the translations don't bring across the full meaning, still I found that aspect of learning to be a big turnoff. The only thing those three years did was to turn me away from learning. Three hours per day, five days a week, for three years, same thing every day, fun.
After the last siyum hashas, my friend decided to start teaching daf yomi in shul. I decided to give it a try. It was the complete opposite of what I did in yeshiva and so were my feelings towards it. Nobody was bitching at me for using the English translation, every day was something new, no boring memorizations, no bored Rabbi speaking in a monotonous voice and putting everyone to sleep. Some gemmorahs are easier, some harder, some more fun, some less, but there's always something new, something to look forward to tomorrow. My favorite aspect of daf yomi is getting familiar with everything. I believe that this more important and should come before learning a particular gemorrah in detail. In every gemorrah there's references to other gemorrahs. Yes, you can look up that page, but doesn't compare to actually knowing what that whole gemorrah is about. For me, daf yomi is the way to go. A siyum every couple of months and a siyum hashas after seven and a half years gives a much greater sense of accomplishment than one perek per year.