This is what my husband did last week. The “party” was a celebration of having learned 2,711 individual pages…
Last Sunday night, 5th January 2020 my husband and 3,000 men celebrated a very special event; one that only occurs once in 7.5 years. He celebrated the Siyum Hashas, literally, finishing learning the page. The event took place at Event City, Trafford, Manchester, organised by Dirshu, a worldwide organisation that strengthens and encourages Torah study.
At the close of the Siyum at Event City, Trafford, the manager of Event City said to the organiser’s son that this was the first event that they hosted that there was no violence or unpleasant incidents. The manager was amazed at how everyone said “thank you” to the workers and waiters. Watch here.
What is a Siyum Hashas?
According to Wikipedia, “The Siyum HaShas means (“completion of the Six Orders [of the Talmud]”) is a celebration of the completion of the Daf Yomi (daily Talmud) program, a roughly seven-and-a-half-year cycle of learning the Oral Torah and its commentaries, in which each of the 2,711 pages of the Babylonian Talmud are covered in sequence – one page per day.
The first Daf Yomi cycle began on the first day of Rosh Hashanah 5684 (11 September 1923); the thirteenth cycle concluded on January 4, 2020 and the fourteenth cycle began the following day, to be concluded on June 7, 2027. The Siyum HaShas marks both the end of the previous cycle and the beginning of the next, and is characterized by inspiring speeches and rousing singing and dancing.”
There are Siyums all around the world. There were at least three in the UK, one in London, Manchester and Gateshead.
You could say that the Siyum Hashas is the Super Bowl of Talmudic Learning.
As religous Jews, studying the Torah is a daily obligation. The Siyum Hashas is a very exciting occasion. It is literally a celebration of having completed learning the page. In each cycle there are 2,711 pages to learn.
Learning the Daf Yomi is a worldwide movement started by Rabbi Meir Shapiro, a great leader and visionary, in 1923, at a Jewish Agudath Yisroel conference in Vienna. The first Siyum was in 1931.
The main Siyum Hashas in Metlife Stadium New York
Since 1990, attendance at the main Siyum HaShas takes place in America, and is organised by the Agudath Israel of America.
Within the next 4 weeks there will be many Daf Yomi Siyums around the world, celebrating the completion of the 13th cycle. The biggest one took place on 1st January in MetLife Stadium, seating capacity 90,000., in New Jersey. It was sold out. Watch here.
My husband celebrated completing the cycle for his second time. Every morning, rain or shine, my husband attends his 6.30am Daf Yomi lesson with Rabbi Simcha Bamberger, a well known Daf Yomi expert. His lessons (Shiurim) are uploaded daily, and are listened to by many people around the world. Every day not matter what is going on, my husband attends the Shiur. When we are away on holiday, he listens in. The Shiur that my husband attends has the most participants in all of Europe.
Story that happened the day after the Siyum Hashas in New York
The following true story was related by Rabbi Pesach Krohn an author and lecturer. The story happened on the 2nd January, the day after the main Siyum at the Metlife stadium in New York. The driver, Rabbi Binyomin Ginsburg was late for a speaking engagement. He was weaving in and out of traffic. He was stopped by a police officer. The police officer looked at the man’s face, saw he looked obviously Jewish, and asked the driver,
“Did you learn your page yet?”
Rabbi Ginsburg asked him what he meant. The police officer said,
“I was at the Metlife stadium yesterday. I know that you guys celebrated that you learned all those pages. Did you learn your page today?”
Rabbi Ginsburg was a bit embarrassed, and he said,
“Well, not yet officer.”
So the officer said to him,
“If you promise me that you will learn the page, I won’t give you a ticket.”
The officer then went on to say,
“I want you to know that there was another officer there with me yesterday and he said to me that he wishes that he could be Jewish.”
Rabbi Ginsburg asked him why,
The officer said, “My friend said to me, Imagine these people they celebrate because they read and understood a page. What a nation, what a people. No other nation would do that. We party for many reasons. but not because we understood a page. That’s incredible!”
The officer let him go.
What the manager of the SSE Arena thought of the Siyum Hashas in London
The above letter was printed in the Hamodia newspaper this weekend.
There was a Siyum at the SSE Arena, Wembley in London.
The manager wrote a letter to the event organisers. (See above.)
“It is 2am as I write this to you having just got home after the Siyum.
On behalf of all the team, I must express our deepest pride and pleasure at being given the opportunity to host the Siyum event.
When we were first approached in July by the committee we had absolutely no idea what type of event this was nor what to expect in terms of the programme or what was actually going to happen.
Working closely with the team we began to gain an understanding, and as the date approached, I briefed our internal staff as to the nature of the event. However nothing could really have prepared us for what happened.
6748 tickets were scanned at the door, aside from the top table Rabbis who entered via the VIP entrance and of course all your volunteers and crew. There are a number of points that have blown us away:
- We have a security cupboard in which we allow guests to deposit anything deemed dangerous or inappropriate. At an event this size we would normally hold anything between 700-1000 items. Tonight we held nothing.
- There was not a single incidence of drunkenness, boisterous or rowdy behaviour. Not a single one. I have been at the Arena for 28 months and accommodated over 300 events in that time. Never have we had no incidence.
- All the team were blown away by the amount of thank you’s that we received at the end of the evening. I actually thought everyone had been instructed to do this!
I am devastated that the Siyum only takes place once every seven years. This event was a delight for all of us.
My personal take on the Siyum Hashas
They say that behind every great man lies a great woman…
I am not sure about the “great” part. I am sure about the “organised” part!My job is simply to run the home, (and my work…) and look after the kids, so that it is easy for my husband to go out to his daily Shiur. Not an easy task especially when I have ADHD. I am pleased to say that I have succeeded (for the most part…)
The children and myself gladly accept that there will be times when Daddy can’t be home, eve when it may be inconvenient. Our days and weeks are shaped by the Daf Yomi Shiur. During the summer holidays, and various other times in the year, the Shiur is in the evening.
I need to be organised so that we can leave early for day trips and come back early so that Daddy can attend his Daf Yomi Shiur on time. We are so proud of Daddy that he learns the Daf Yomi every day.
My two sons attended, aged 16 and 13. My seven year old really wanted to attend, I told him that by the next Siyum, he could attend…My husband brought back a small souvenir for him, to show him that he was thinking of him…
I have attended a number of Daf Yomi Siyums, one in 1997, and 2004. In 2012, my youngest was only a few weeks old, so I skipped that one. I did not attend this current Siyum, as I wanted to be home to greet my two daughters aged 18, and 20 who were expected home that evening. They had been away for a week; one in London, and one in Zurich to visit friends and family, (and be available if there were any hitches or delays…) I watched via the live stream.
My husband and my boys came back well after midnight. The morning after the Siyum Hashas, on 6th January, my husband was up early as usual for the 6.30am Shiur. The real celebration starts the morning after, when the 14th cycle is started…
My biggest celebration is seeing my husband continue with his studies, and seeing the satisfaction that this brings to him.
Times change, your duties and your roles are constantly evolving and changing. One of life’s biggest success secrets is being able to adapt smoothly and easily (transition) to the role that you are in right now.
We all need a mission in life that gives our life meaning and purpose.
My question to you is:
What is your mission?
How far are you along your journey to find your mission?
Do you know what steps you need to take to reach your goal?
Success is small seemingly small steps. Success is moving forward, and celebrating your success, one page at a time.
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