Thousands of families -- men, women and children -- will join together on August 5 to celebrate the culmination of a cycle of study of the Talmud, known as the Siyum HaShas – Judaism's Oral Law and its commentaries -- at the Jerusalem Convention Center (Binyanei Ha'Uma).
The event, called a “Siyum HaShas,” takes place once every seven and a half years, and is led by prominent rabbinical luminaries from the Torah world. During that cycle, Torah scholars learn a daily Talmudic “daf” or page and its commentaries, thus completing each of the 2,711 pages of the Babylonian Talmud in sequence.
Several of these events are already being held or are on the schedule to be held in the coming days in Israel.
Some 5,000 people are expected to show up for the event at Binyanei Ha'Uma. Thousands of others are attending other similar celebrations.
Four days prior, nearly 90,000 people from the metropolitan New York-New Jersey area will participate in the American version of this seminal celebration, at MetLife stadium in New Jersey, home of the NY Giants and Jets football teams.
The August 2012 celebration will denote the 12th completion of the cycle. The daily Talmudic learning cycle known as "Daf Yomi" (a page per day) can be studied alone, with a study partner, in a daily class led by a rabbi or teacher, via audio, online resources or even a downloadable Smartphone APP. Daily classes can found in the chambers of the United States Senate, Wall St. board rooms or even on the Long Island Railroad.
The advent of translated Talmudic volumes from Hebrew/Aramaic into the English language has provided a window for people of all walks of life, into the brilliant minds of the rabbinical scholars who debated a myriad of fascinating legal and communal issues in ancient Babylon (Iraq), nearly 2,000 years ago. Their legal rulings which were codified in the Talmud as part of the Oral Law also serve as the foundation of contemporary Jewish life all over the world.