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UNITING THE JEWISH PEOPLE – ONE PAGE AT A TIME!

By: Mozelle Forman



The Sephardic community joins the rest of the Torah world in gearing up for the 13th Siyum Hashas celebration in 2020.

While most of us are counting just the days of the omer, there are those who are also counting down to another great event – the grand finish of the Daf Yomi cycle, and the 13thInternational Siyum Hashas celebration, which will take place on
4 Tevet, January 1, 2020.

The Daf Yomi concept, learning a “daily page” of Gemara, was proposed by Rabbi Meir Shapiro in Poland in 1923 as a way of unifying the Jewish people and helping to ensure “keviat itim laTorah” – the allocation of time for serious Torah study every day. Rabbi Shapiro's goal was to unite Jews all over the world by having them study the same page of Talmud each day, and to enable the Jewish layman to reach the great achievement of completing the entire Talmud.

In Rabbi Shapiro’s words: “How great it is! A Jew travels by boat and takes a tractate of Berachot in his arm. He travels for 15 days from Eretz Israel to America, and each day towards evening he opens the Gemara and studies the page. When he arrives in America, he enters a bet midrashin New York and finds Jews studying the very same page that he studied that day, which allows him to happily join their study group!”

The Daf Yomi study program brings together Jews of every background, every stream and every geographic location, who share a love for Torah and the common language of the daily page of Talmud.

This year, in preparation for the grand celebration of the current Daf Yomi cycle, Agudath Israel has launched several initiatives which the organization says seek “to expand the vision of the Siyum to be the celebration of the Torah world’s commitment to Torah.” Details of these initiatives are available at the special website created for this purpose – theSiyum.org.

One such program, Chavrei HaSiyum, allows participants to choose Mishnayot to learn at a pace which enable them to have their own Siyum coincide with the worldwide Siyum Hashas. This way, even those who are notprepared to commit to daily Daf Yomi learning can fully participate in the Siyum Hashas, celebrating their personal accomplishments.

Masmidei HaSiyum is a program for children aged 9-13, encouraging them to learn Mishnayot in memory of the children who were killed in the Holocaust. The goal is to double the 1,000,000 Mishanyot learned at the last Siyum by some 15,000 children. Rabbi Raphael Netanel, Dean of students in YDE boys elementary school who is serving as liaison between our community and the Siyum Hashas administration, reports that “all the schools in our community are taking part in this inspiring program. The kids are really putting in the extra time to learn Torah…and winning awesome prizes.”

The Yom HaShishi series consists of weekly five-minute videos discussing a topic covered in the previous week’s Daf Yomi. These videos are accessible by subscription at thesiyum.org.

The Siyum Hashas is a celebration of this remarkable commitment and unshakable consistency that characterizes those who study Daf Yomi. It is also a beautiful celebration of ahdut (unity), of Jewish continuity, and of the Torah, our spiritual life source.

At each and every Siyim Hashas, the kedushah(holiness) is palpable and energizing. Rabbi Labish Becker, Executive Director of Agudath Israel, says, “Siyum Hashas has galvanized learning in Daf Yomi. In 1982, the first year I was involved, there were 4,500 attendees at the Felt Forum.
By 2012, we had three venues with over 80,000 attendees at MetLife stadium and we were broadcasting to over 150 cities around the word, including Hong Kong.” This is an event we all definitely want to be a part of.

Rabbi Netanel says, “It is my goal to ensure that our community is a big part of this occasion and will be included in the celebration of the siyum.”

Regardless of where we live or our level of knowledge, Daf Yomi unites us all in the commitment to Torah learning, allowing each individual to learn in a way that fits his schedule and lifestyle. It can be studied with a with a friend, abrother, or a son. It can be studied in one of the numerous thriving Daf Yomi groups in our community –
at Shaare Zion, Yad Yosef, Beth Torah, and many other shuls. It can be studied through any one of the new initiatives, or through one of the numerous Daf Yomi websites and apps that are available.