The Siyum
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Do You Want To Know Shas?

Dear Fellow Students,

We use the expression ‘The Sea of the Talmud’ because the Talmud is vast, deep and apparently unending. It is fascinating, intricate and instructive. Amazingly, it can be studied with enthusiasm by children, young adults, seasoned learners and great scholars. It is simply unique.


Ideally, we should remember everything we have learned. We should be able to apply relevant sections to whatever situation we meet. On Shabbos and Yom Tov we should remember the tractates which discuss those special days. We should be guided by Kiddushin and Kesuvos in how to build a Jewish home and how to treat our spouses. In all our dealings with our fellow-man in domestic or commercial circumstances we should have in mind Bava Kama and Bava Metzia and so on.

Someone who can do this, is truly living the Torah. The world he lives in is a Torah world. When he is walking along a street or waiting for a bus, his mind is filled with the wisdom of the Talmud, leaving no room for foreign thoughts to enter. This is the level we should be aiming for. Our Torah knowledge should not be limited to the time when we are actually studying. It should be our constant companion, our guide and best friend.

Of course, such familiarity with the expanse of Talmudic teachings does not come without significant effort. We need to understand the material fully, review it constantly and indeed daven for Hashem’s assistance to achieve this level. Does it seem to be a superhuman challenge? It is! Most of us will not succeed one hundred per cent. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. We should always make time to review what we learn. If we don’t manage to remember all the details, at least we should attempt to recall the main points.

Most of us will succeed more with both a structure for review and an incentive. I have compiled this sefer, Do You Want To Know Shas? published by Menucha Publishing and available in all good sefarim stores, which consists of questions on every daf which will encourage the reader at least to look through the material to work out the answer. The format of the questions brings the discussion of the Gemara into the world we live in, applying the principles to modern situations. Because we can relate to the subject matter, imagining ourselves in the situation the Gemara is discussing, reviewing becomes more interesting and enjoyable. This is our incentive.


Rav Avrohom Weiss, a prominent Maggid Shiur in Yerusholayim and former Av Beis Din in Glasgow, Scotland writes as follows:

“To all those who are now completing Shas and are going to the Siyum, I wish you a sincere Mazel Tov. It’s a great achievement and milestone. May you merit to attend many more siyumim. However, our next ambition is not only to learn Shas but to remember it. We need not only to go through Shas but Shas must go through us. But how can we do it? How are we going to find more time in our busy schedules?

My esteemed colleague Rabbi Michoel Fletcher, whom I have known for many years, has come up with a time and energy efficient plan for remembering what we have learnt in an easy and interesting way, requiring little investment of time. He has compiled for us two relatively easy questions on each daf. The questions often update the subject of the daf into a modern context, making it easier to relate to. Once you start looking at these questions and enjoy answering them whether by heart or by looking through the daf, I assure you, you won’t want to stop. Rabbi Fletcher has a most compelling style, as those whose who have enjoyed his previous sefarim will know. The questions he asks are fascinating and occasionally a touch humorous. After going through the sefer, even if you’re not boki b’Shas you’ll at least have a basic idea of the different topics you have covered. And you’ll enjoy the siyum so much more. It’s well worth the small extra effort to feel that you have not only learnt Shas but you will be living it as well.”

Following on in a series from my earlier sefarim, Do You Know Hilchos Brachos? Do You Know Hilchos Shabbos? Do You Know Hilchos Yom Tov? and Do You Know Hilchos Chol Hamoed? Do You Know Parshas Hashavua? I was going to call this sefer Do You Know Shas? However since to that question, everyone will answer “No,” I have changed the name to Do You Want To Know Shas? to which, hopefully, we will all answer, “Yes.”

With best wishes,

Rabbi Michoel Fletcher


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