Completing A Sefer

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 27/5/2019


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Completing A Sefer

The question was asked to the Tiferes Shmuel[1] regarding one who makes a Seuda after he finished writing a Sefer or when the printing for the Sefer was finished if that is considered a Seudas Mitzva just like if one finished a Mesachta. One difference would be if he can eat meat if this day falls out during the nine days. Among what he writes there is that Chidushim in Torah is so great of a Mitzva that it is permitted to write them on Chol Hamoed. It is greater even than regular learning. This is מצות לימוד תורה לרבים; a Mitzva of public learning.[2] So, at the finishing of this Mitzva it is fitting to celebrate and make a Seuda more than a Siyum on a Mesachta and it surely is a Seudas Mitzva. And it certainly is better than a Seuda that is made by one who had a miracle performed for him, on the day that miracle happened to him or on a day that a Sefer Torah and holy vessels are given to a Shul. One can surely eat meat and drink wine at this Seuda during the nine days, just like a Seuda of a Siyum or other Seudos Mitzvos.


                In שו"ת חקקי לב, [3]the author writesמי שזיכהו ה' להדפיס ספר חדש אף כשהוא אבל מותר לו לאכול וגם אם נתעסק בסידור הספר אף שאין הספר שלו...; Even one who is a mourner can eat when he celebrates a new Sefer. And even if he only edited the Sefer or did the layout of the Sefer, although it’s not his Sefer, or if he only paid for the publication of the Sefer, it is obvious that he can eat at a Seuda for the celebration of the Sefer. That is, although it would otherwise be a day he would fast such as a Bechor on Erev Pesach.


                What about saying שהחיינו on completing a Sefer? The Chida to Sefer Chassidim[4] writes for one who finishes a Sefer and one who prints a Sefer to say שהחיינו without שם ומלכות (ה' אל-הינו מלך העולם). R’ Yaakov Emdin[5] says to recite a regular שהחיינו. The Munkatcher Rebbe recited שהחיינו on his Sefer, the Minchas Elazar.[6] The Kaf Hachaim[7] writes if possible one should exempt his שהחיינו with a new garment or fruit. He also says there that one who prints from his money a Sefer of Chidushai Torah of others should say a שהחיינו on a new garment or fruit to exempt him from this שהחיינו or say שהחיינו without שם ומלכות 


The Minchas Yitzchak[8] (1902-1989) writes that one who merits to write a Sefer and bring it out to the world through a publisher fulfills the Mitzva of ועתה כתבו לכם[9] and says a שהחיינו just as one would do with a Sefer Torah.

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance. 

[1] שו"ת תפארת שמואל, 55. This was authored by R’ Yaakov Shmuel Ben Avraham Yeshaya from Brodsky. He was a Rav in Yanishpali.

[2] See the Tur and Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah, 270:2 that it is a Mitzva not just to write a Sefer Torah but all books of Torah.

[3] Yoreh Deah, 56 

[4] 1020

[5] Mor Uktzia 223

[6] Minchas Elazar 4:65. See also the Hakdama to the Minchas Yitzchak, s.v. וראיתי and the Netziv in Haamik Shaila toשאילתות דרבי אחאי, Devarim, 171  

[7] 223:26

[8] Hakdama to the Minchas Yitzchak, s.v. ואיתא

[9] Devarim 31:19

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