A Historical Look at LIFE in ALEPPO

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By: Rabbi Raphael Netanel

With fewer than 100 dapim (pages) left, the excitementis building for the celebration of the 13th global Siyum Hashas in MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2020. The siyum will be celebrated by 350,000 Jews around the world, including 90,000 who will assemble at the flagship location in MetLife. The growing anticipation is being felt in every corner of the globe, and planning is in full swing for a dynamic and inspirational program headlined by our generation’s leading Torah sages.

Living the Dream

The daily Daf Yomi study regimen has brought Jews around the globe together for nearly 100 years, being the most universal, fixed daily learning program in the world. Wherever a Jew goes, when he meets his fellow Jews they are instantly bound together by the daily daf.

Mr. Judah Lifschitz, Esq., a well-known attorney, was traveling for a court case, and as he passed through security in a Columbus, Ohio airport, a TSA agent  noticed that Mr. Lifschitz looked Jewish. The agent approached him and asked, “By chance, did you learn today’s daf?”

Amazed, Mr. Lifschitz replied that he actually had learned that day’s dafright before coming
to the airport.

The agent called Mr. Lifschitz to the side and asked if he could explain a passage from that day’s page which he did not understand when it was taught at his daily Daf Yomi class that morning. And so these two men, who had never met each other before, stood in a corner of the airport in Columbus, Ohio for a half-hour reviewing the daf.

When Mr. Lifschitz arrived home, he shared the story of this remarkable kiddush Hashem with his friends and family. He  realized at that moment that he was living the dream of the holy Rav Meir Shapiro, who conceived of the idea of Daf Yomi about a century ago with the vision of uniting Jews of all backgrounds through the study of the daf. Mr. Lifschitz was privileged to experience precisely that sense of unity.

A Program for Everyone

Numerous different learning programs and initiatives have been launched in order to capitalize on the excitement generated by the siyum for bolstering Torah study

The Chavrei HaSiyum initiative features a range of programs that allows each participant to learn what he wants, when he wants, and in the way he wants. It features an Amud Yomi program and aDaf Hashavua program for those who prefer studying at a slower pace, so that every Jew can connect meaningfully to Torah study, just as Rav Meir Shapiro envisioned. So far, over 183 synagogues, consisting of over 7,000 people, will be making their own personal siyum in honor of the Siyum HaShas – covering an amount of pages equivalent to 83 times the entire Talmud!

The Chavrei HaSiyum program recently introduced My Daf, a unique initiative that encourages the intensive review of either a specific daf, chapter, or segment of Gemara. The participant commits to review the selected material numerous times until he achieves complete mastery over that section.

A special initiative for children, called Matmidei HaSiyum, has thus far brought together 25,000 youngsters from 120 schools in seven countries (USA, Mexico, Canada, UK, Israel, Belgium and Panama) for extra learning in honor of the Siyum HaShas. The students have learned altogether over 93,000 dapimof Gemara, 1.75 million Mishnayot, and 3.6 million pesukimof Humash – and these numbers continue to grow each day. The children proudly call in their impressive accomplishments to the special Matmidei
HaSiyum Hotline.

Another unique program is called Yom Hashishi, featuring a brief video released every Friday with a synopsis of the dapimstudied over the course of the week, along with a meaningful lesson to take home and share. The speakers are prominent rabbis and lecturers, and the videos are viewed by thousands each and every week. Many of our own community’srabbis have delivered these presentations, sharing beautiful and profound insights from the material studied during the week’s Daf Yomi classes.


Tickets for the Siyum HaShas are selling much faster than anyone could have imagined. The $25, $36, and $54 tickets are already sold out. After the $100 tickets were sold out, Agudath Israel found a sponsor who generously enabled the organization to sell additional $100 seats. Synagogues that acted early were able to take advantage of the priority group seating option, reserving full sections for their members, and now many sections are sold out.

Anyone who would like to join this historic event is urged to make arrangements immediately, without any further delay, at thesiyum.org, in order to secure a seat and ensure to be part of what promises to be an unforgettable and inspirational experience.