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Anglos in Israel Join Worldwide Talmud Celebration

Over 4,000 English speaking men, women & children celebrated the "Siyum Hashas" at the Jerusalem Convention Center. Another is on Thursday.
By Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 8/7/2012, 1:14 AM

Less than a week after 95,000 people celebrated the Siyum Hashas at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, a phalanx of renowned rabbinical luminaries including Rabbi Aharon Feldman, Rosh Yeshiva of Baltimore's Ner Yisroel Rabbinical College, Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Rosh Yeshiva of Jerusalem's Ohr Somayach, the Kaliver Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Taub) and others inspired over 4,000 men, women and children during the Siyum Hashas celebration for Israel's hareidi English-speaking community, which was held in the main auditorium at Binyanei Ha'uma (Jerusalem Convention Center) this past Sunday evening.

This cultural, historical and spiritual event which targeted Israel's fast-growing hareidi English-speaking community, was created by Rabbi Mordechai Kornfeld, Rosh Kollel of Jerusalem's Kollel Iyun Hadaf and International Media Placement.

Israel's Rebbetzin Yemima Mizrachi, an enthusiastic lecturer who has a significant following across the Jewish State and the USA, delivered an uplifting speech to the nearly 1,000 women who attended the Siyum Hashas in an adjacent hall at Binyanei Ha'auma.   

"Learning Daf Yomi represents the essence of Torah and chesed. It is a wonderful thing. Even if some of the people who learn Daf Yomi forget some of the material, it keeps them connected to the Torah. Learning the Oral Law (Talmud) has a definitive impact on the soul of a person and allows you to submerge yourself in kedusha (holiness)," said Rabbi Feldman.

"We are inspired by victory this evening as those who have overcome the obstacles of the materialistic world to learn Daf Yomi, day after day for 7.5 years until they've reached the treasured goal of celebrating Siyum Hashas. The Jewish people have survived the Inquisition (Spanish) and Auschwitz (Holocaust), which has enabled us to celebrate the Siyum Hashas," added Rabbi Weinbach.

During the course of the festive evening, which also included musical renditions by the Seeach Sod and Kol MeHeichal choirs, as well as a virtuoso performance by superstar Cantor Chaim Adler, members of the audience danced and sang enthusiastically in the aisles, accentuating the expression of unity (achdus), as a result of daily Daf Yomi learning.

The anglo religious-Zionist Siyum Hashas, a joint project of Young Israel and the Rabbinical Council of America, will take place at Heichal Shlomo on Thursday night.



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Photos by Mattisyahu Goldberg

Historical Perspective

Siyum Hashas (lit. "completion of the Six Orders [of the Talmud]") is the celebration of the completion of the daily Talmudic folio, a seven-and-a-half-year cycle of learning the Oral Law and its commentaries, in which each of the 2,711 pages of the Babylonian Talmud are covered in sequence. The contemporary effort to learn a Talmudic page per day began in 1923 in Eastern Europe (Lublin, Poland). Thus, 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.