Siyum Celebration in Ma'alot
Siyum Celebration in Ma'alotCourtesy

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

“Shavua tov and Chodesh tov, Sivan,” writes Neta ben Amran from the city of Ma’alot, located up north in the Western Galilee. “In light of the ongoing war, we thought about what we could do in our city that would have a positive impact on the situation and decided to study the entire Torah in one week.

Our local Yeshiva under the leadership of Rabbi Yehoshua Weitzman, together with the mayor, involved the entire city in this project. The Torah was divided into sections and everyone received an amount to read of the Torah whose size was commensurate with the individual’s desire and ability.

What does it mean to study the entire Torah? It includes the Tanach (Bible), the Mishnah, the Babylonian Talmud, the Jerusalem Talmud, Midrashei Halacha and Midrashei Agada (expansive investigations and interpretations of Torah texts) and the holy Zohar as well. I was privileged to study nothing more than the 39th chapter of Genesis.

But one small piece added to another small piece and so on becomes a magnificent whole that is greater than its parts.

This project became a ray of light during these difficult days of bombardment in the North. The city was swept up in a collective spiritual mission. It was a mission that provided a powerful link to our magnificent story and to God. There were those who learned together in pairs, as well as children, women, teenagers, and yeshiva students. We felt that we were creating our own ‘Iron Dome.’

At the celebration marking the completion of our Torah project, Rabbi Sayeg, our local rabbi, stood in front of hundreds of people and asked, actually demanded, peace and healing for the hostages, the soldiers, the wounded, and those with broken spirits... Everyone answered ‘Amen’ with deep emotion and immediately began to sing and dance.

I have looked at videos of the celebration over and over and suggest to the public to undertake similar projects. But mostly I ask that our prayers be fulfilled and that we hear and share good news.”