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Holy Hadran

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 19/1/2020

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Holy Hadran

At a Siyum we say הדרן עלך...והדרך עלן, we shall return to you and you shall return to us. It is understandable that we should return to the Mesachta—by learning it, but what does it mean that the Mesachta should return to us?


There was a boy in Yeshiva that learned Mesachta Succa very well but when he left Yeshiva, he eventually left Judaism. One day he found himself in Meah Shearim and while he was in a shul there, he saw a Mesachta Succa. He opened it and began to learn. One Daf led to another, causing him to learn for an extended period of time. This was the turning point that eventually led him back to Judaism. This is how we can explain הדרך עלן, the Mesachta shall return to us, that the Mesachta should remind us of who we are. That is, everyone on their level, as of course it doesn’t just apply to one who left the path of Judaism. This is in accordance with the dictum תורה מחזרת על אכסניא שלה,[1] the Torah returns to its inn meaning the place or people where it was made welcome.


Another interpretation is that הדרן is derived from the term הדר, glory.[2] Whatever glory we have attained is due to the Torah (הדרן עלך), and we daven that the Torah shed its glory upon us (הדרך עלן).
Rabbi 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. Rabbi 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] Baba Metzia 85a.

[2] See Sefer Hachaim, Sefer Zechuyos, chapter 2, s.v. ונקראו.

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