Tuvia Rotberg, proprietor of Tuvias’s Seforim Judaica & Gifts, has asked himself this question countless times: “Can everyone be a gemarakup?”
He’s seen young boys coming in to purchase their very first gemara and wondered, “How many will understand? How many will learn?” He’s seen bachuim riffling through gemaras, pouring over tosfos, delving into seforim and wondered, “Do you understand what you’re studying?”
An owner of a seforim store, especially one who’s as personable as Tuvia, is often more than just the person you buy seforim from. He becomes a friend, an advisor, a confidante. Over the years, Tuvia has heard about the difficulties some boys face when they start learning gemara. He’s heard stories from boys and stories from rebbeim. He’s heard from yungerleit who walked out of yeshiva, not knowing how to read a gemara at all. And he decided that something must be done!
Often, when people say, “Something must be done,” the something remains elusive and the thing never gets done. But Tuvia is made of different stuff. Once he understood the extent of the need, he knew he was indeed, going to do something about it.
That something is a project that is already a many years in the making. It’s an ambitious undertaking involving the printing of twenty volumes of gemaras with nekudos, of which 15 are already out in the market. Not only are all the Rashi and Tosfos menukad, but the gemaras are also printed in a cleaner, more modern typeface and feature all the abbreviations of that amud on the side of each page. The body of the gemara, however, is identical to the old version. Not one iota of the original tzuras hadaf was altered.
It’s gevaldig. It’s amazing. And it has already revolutionized the learning of gemara in yeshivos worldwide.
Tuvia explains, “When you try to teach a child to ride a bicycle, you don’t put him onto a 10 speed, two wheeler. You start him on a bike with training wheels. As he becomes more comfortable and confident, you remove the training wheels and gradually teach him to ride bigger and faster bikes. Now he will have the tools and ability to succeed.
“When a child starts learning gemara, he’s faced with a host of new, confusing skills to master. He must learn to think in a completely new style, the style of a ‘gemarakup.’ On top of that, he must read without benefit of nekudos in a new language (Aramaic) and grasp the meaning of a bunch of strange abbreviations. It’s enough to make the smartest head spin.”
Many boys buckle under the pressure and just give up.
With this new gemara, so much of the pressure is relieved, and boys can concentrate their efforts on the main goal: learning the blatt gemara.
This gemara is excellent for adults, too, especially for busy businessmen who feel strained after a long day of work, yet still want to learn each day. Many daf yomi shiurim are using these gemaras with great success.
An undertaking of this sort involves tremendous expenses, but to Tuvia, who understands the immensity of the need, it is all worth it. However, the expenditures are rising and it is difficult to find the funds to print the additional volumes.
If you are interested in dedicating this shas, the zechus will be extraordinary. Don’t forget, this shas is not a one-time buy; every child needs a new gemara yearly and the zechus of limud hatorah by tinokos shel bais raban will bring us the geulah.
For interest in the details of dedications l’zecher nishmas or for a refuah shleima, please contact Tuvia. He can be reached at 845-426-0824.