The upcoming 13th global Siyum HaShas sponsored by the Agudath Israel of America will unite worldwide Jewry in an unparalleled display of achdus (unity). Jews from all walks of life will, IY’H, join together at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey in pursuit of a common goal – the completion of Shas, in its entirety.
By: Fern Sidman
In countries spanning the globe, the dedicated ranks of Jews who have devoted themselves to learning Shas and achieving greatness in the Torah HaKadosha of Hashem will join others in working toward the upcoming 13th Siyum HaShas. The singular allegiance to Torah will once again be apparent, when hundreds of thousands gather on the 4th of Teves, January 1, 2020 to strengthen themselves and the world in a united expression of k’vod shamayim.
The pre-Siyum program begins at 11:00. The Siyum itself will begin with Minchah promptly at 1:00 pm and the program is expected to conclude between 4:00 and 5:00 pm. The organizers of the Siyum HaShas have strongly suggested that ticket holders arrive at MetLife Stadium as early as possible to allow for ample time to go through security and still enjoy the pre-Siyum program. The stadium parking lot will be open from 9:00 am.
Siyum HaShas is the celebration of the completion of the Daf Yomi (daily Talmud folio) program, a seven-and-a-half-year cycle of learning the Oral Torah and its commentaries, in which each of the 2,711 pages of the Babylonian Talmud are covered in sequence.
Daf Yomi can be studied alone, with a chavrusa (study partner), in a daily shiur (class) led by a rabbi or teacher, via a telephone shiur, CD-ROM, or audio and online resources. Typically, Daf Yomi shiurim are held in synagogues, yeshivas, and offices. They also take place in Wall Street board rooms, and on the Long Island Railroad, in the last car of two commuter trains departing Far Rockaway at 7:51 am and 8:15 am, respectively, for Manhattan. Daf Yomi shiurim have been piped into the in-flight sound system of El Al flights. A typical Daf Yomi shiur lasts one hour. Participants study the text together with the commentary of Rashi.
The Schottenstein Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, an English-language translation and interpretation published in 73 volumes between 1990 and 2004 by ArtScroll, has been credited with significantly increasing the number of English-language participants in the Daf Yomi program.
The Schottenstein Talmud has also been translated into Hebrew. Additional resources to assist those endeavoring to complete the cycle for the first time are audiotapes, online websites, and iPods preloaded with lectures covering every page of the Talmud. The Daf Yomi Advancement Forum, founded by Kollel Iyun Hadaf in 1996, is a free resource center offering English-language translations, outlines, charts, analyses and lectures on every daf, as well as answers to any question by email. Meoros HaDaf HaYomi, founded in 1999, disseminates a weekly Daf Yomi study sheet in both Hebrew and English available by email and regular mail. It has recorded shiurim on the daf on CD-ROM in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, and French.
The first Daf Yomi cycle began on the first day of Rosh Hashanah 5684 (September 11, 1923); the twelfth cycle concluded on August 2, 2012 and the next day began the thirteenth cycle, to be concluded on January 4, 2020. The Siyum HaShas marks both the end of the previous cycle and the beginning of the next and is characterized by inspiring speeches and rousing singing and dancing.
Early Siyum HaShas celebrations also took place in December 2019 in Melbourne and Vienna.
For Jews for whom Torah study is an essential part of their lives, the publicity and excitement surrounding the Siyum HaShas has resulted in more participants, more Daf Yomi shiurim (lessons), and more Siyum locations with each cycle. Since 1990, attendance at the main Siyum HaShas in America, organized by the Agudath Israel of America, has increased dramatically, necessitating the booking of larger arenas and stadiums.
The 12th Siyum HaShas on August 1, 2012 took place in MetLife Stadium in New Jersey was the most monumental event in recent Jewish history. It impacted, inspired and uplifted over 120,000 participants across 80 cities and 18 countries. The special moments and experiences of the last Siyum HaShas left a lifelong imprint on the collective memory of generations of Klal Yisroel. Other celebrations that took place in the United States, Israel, Canada, Europe, and Australia in 2012 attracted hundreds of thousands.
According to a report on the Jewish Insider web site, Yossi Gleiberman, a lecturer and the composer of the “Songs of Shas” musical video series said, “In the 1930s, it was Rabbi Meir Shapiro’s idea to start a program where people would be studying the same page on a daily basis — approximately between 40 minutes and an hour a day — throughout the whole world — so that if a person in New York travels to London or somebody from London travels to Japan, he’d meet the fellow participant of the Daf Yomi cycle and they can study together and share their thoughts. And today… we are able to share with people from around the world or other study groups daily lectures and commentaries via social media.”
Rabbi Gleiberman also told Jewish Insider that at his two daily lectures, fellow attendees are mostly “practicing good-standing members of the community — it can be from a lawyer to a doctor or people involved in retail or any other kind of labor — and they’re able to juggle and balance a life of studying along with the life of having a family and enjoying and taking advantage of all the great things that the world has.”
In November of 2019, Shlomo Gertzulin, Executive VP of The Siyum exhorted those interested in attending the Siyum HaShas to order their tickets as soon as possible.
“Once the Siyum seats are gone, they are gone,” said Rabbi Gertzulin. “There are only limited seats available, and many sections are already completely reserved. Once the remaining seats sell out, it will just be too late. Please, don’t wait any longer to get your seats, so you will not be disappointed.”
“There is nothing more rewarding than hearing the excitement Klal Yisroel has in coming to be inspired at The Siyum. Tens of thousands were motivated to start learning Daf Yomi last time, and they have been waiting more than seven years to come celebrate with their children and families,” said the long time Agudath Israel executive and son-in-law of the late Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, of blessed memory. “Of all the siyumim I have been a part of, this is by far the most exciting,” Rabbi Gertzulin added.
Said one long-time member of the Agudath Israel regarding the future of the Daf Yomi program and the upcoming Siyum HaShas, “I have been participating in Daf Yomi for almost three decades. Each year, more and more people begin learning and they participate in the Siyumin and for that we must thank the Ribono Shel Olam that this incredible program has taken off in such a spectacular manner. Im Yirtze Hashem, I can visualize Daf Yomi reaching places and people that hitherto we thought would be impossible to connect with. We are seeing great Kiddushei Hashem every moment of every day and I would not be surprised if learning Shas will someday come to the halls of Congress and even the White House.”
The pre-Siyum events include a Yikra D’Oraisa Yarchei Kallah which will be held at the Hilton Parsippany Hotel in New Jersey from December 30 – January 1 as well as a pre-siyum inspirational program at the same hotel from December 31 – January 2. IY’H, there will also be inspiring women’s programming, exciting children’s activities, and a gala seudas mitzvah with music and dancing.
The Siyum HaShas will take place on January 1st at both MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, and at the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn as a livestream venue. Most of the program at the Barclays Center will be a live video feed of the program at MetLife. HaModia reported in November that “Barclays will have one unique speaker, its own minyanim for Mincha and Maariv, its own kaddish following the siyum, and possibly its own hadran. Barclays will also have its own live musicians and singer.” The vast majority of seats at the Barclays Center will be priced at $36 or $54.
To order tickets or for further information about the 13th Global Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi, please visit their web site at: https://www.thesiyum.org/. You can also contact the Agudath Israel of America at 1-877-SIYUM-13 (749-8613) or by e-mail at: [email protected]
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