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Final Finish

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 4/4/2020

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Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)

Final Finish

Many times we hear about a Siyum on some Mesachta of Gemara.[1] Can a Siyum be made on other parts of Torah as well?


One of the sources for a Siyum[2] is from Abaye[3]—who was a Rosh Yeshiva—as when one of his students studied an entire Mesachta, he would make a party for all the students of the Yeshiva.[4] This can’t be talking about finishing a Mesachta of Gemara since they didn’t learn Gemara then as it was before Ravina and Rav Ashi’s time.[5] The Mesachta that was finished was a Mesachta of Mishnayos.


What about making a Siyum on a Mesachta Ketana?[6] On Erev Pesach (when there is a Taanis Bechorim) the Steipler was approached by someone who wanted to eat but didn’t attend a Siyum. The Steipler advised him to make a Siyum on one of the Mesachtos Ketanos so that he can eat.[7]


The Pnei Mavin says that one can even make a Siyum on a Perek of a Mesachta with a Hadran and Kadish. This is why there is a Hadran after each Perek.[8]


What about making a Siyum on a Sefer of Nach? According to the Pnei Yehoshua,[9] when R’ Yochanan would finish Sefer Iyov he would make a Seudas Siyum.[10] In his ruling on what constitutes a Seudas Mitzva to exempt firstborns from fasting Erev Pesach as well as eating meat during the nine days R’ Moshe Feinstein[11] writes that if one learns Sefarim of תורה שבכתב in-depth, the Siyum is considered a Seudas Mitzva. It doesn’t have to be for a Mesachta, rather there is a Simcha upon the completion of any Mitzva that takes a period of time.[12]


R’ Moshe Feinstein once attended a Siyum of an elderly Baal Teshuva from Russia, who was making a Siyum on one Daf of Gemara (the first Daf he ever learned). Soon after the Siyum, this man passed away. At the funeral, R’ Moshe said that יש קונה עולמו בשעה אחת, some acquire the world to come in one moment, but others acquire it בדף אחת,[13] with one page of Gemara.[14]

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] The Aruch Hashulchan (Yoreh Deah 246:45) says that we don’t say שהשמחה במעונו, Hashem’s abode is this celebration, at a Siyum (See the Yam Shel Shlomo, Baba Kamma 7:37) because Talmud Torah is the greatest of all the Mitzvos so the Simcha is here in this world. If we would say שהשמחה במעונו it would infer that it’s not a complete Simcha and that the Simcha is in the abode of Hashem. This is just like other Mitzvos where there is never a complete Simcha and therefore the real Simcha is in the upper world. A Simcha of a Siyum is so complete that you don’t need to say שהשמחה במעונו.

[2] See also the Biur Hagra, Orach Chaim, 669:4, the Beis Yosef, Orach Chaim 669, s.v. ונוהגים and the Yam Shel Shlomo at the end of the 7th chapter of Baba Kamma, s.v. גרסינן.

[3] This was Abaye who was a sickly person and frugal with food as the Gemara (Shabbos 33a) says Abaye was afflicted with Hydrokan and Rava remarked that Abaye was afflicted with it because he deprived himself of food and not because of sins. Despite this, when one of his students completed one Mesachta—which was just Mishnayos—he made a Siyum for the entire Yeshiva, because of his abundant love for the Mitzva (Yam Shel Shlomo, end of the 7th chapter to Baba Kamma, s.v. והנה פקח).

[4] Shabbos 118b-119a with Rashi. Abaye teaches us from this that when one person in a Yeshiva makes a Simcha, it’s a Simcha of the entire Yeshiva. This is different than other Simchos such as a Bris where you are at someone else’s Simcha.

[5] Ravina and Rav Ashi are responsible for Talmud Bavli. 

[6] These are the Mesachtos that appear after Horiyos and Idiyos, which include Mesachta Sofrim, Kalla, Geirim, Sefer Torah and Tefillin.

[7] Orchos Rabbeinu, Volume 2.

[8] For example after the first Perek of Mesachta Brachos—which is מאימתי—it says הדרן עלך מאימתי. 

[9] Brachos 17a, s.v. בגמרא רבי יוחנן.

[10] See Minchas Pitim, Yoreh Deah, 246:26.

[11] Orach Chaim 1, 157.

[12] See also Yabia Omer 1:26.

[13] R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer, Orach Chaim 4:13:4) points out that the little we learn nowadays and with the lack of depth, it is still considered so much (See also Shir Hashirim Rabba 7:11) like the Arizal told R’ Chaim Vital in the 1500s (Shaar Hagilgulim, p. 62b) that a small act in our generation is equivalent to many great Mitzvos of other generations since the shells of impurity have increased tremendously. What would the Arizal say about our generation, close to 500 years later?

[14] This idea is borrowed from Avoda Zara 17a where it says there are those who acquire the next world through many years and others that acquire it in a single moment.

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