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5 Teves, 5780 - January 2, 2020 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Vayigash-5780 Published Weekly
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So Many Siyumim — One Shas

Torah was celebrated by Klal Yisrael this week as the 13th Daf Yomi cycle draws to its end, to give way to the 14th cycle. Many thousands have undertaken and succeeded in finishing the 2711 pages of Shas, a significant and important achievement. The entire world benefits from and increase in Torah, and it is plain to see that the world really needs this benefit today.




Fewer Jews Among those Coming to Israel from Russia and Ukraine

The Jewish Agency report which was publicized this week as marking the end of the civil year, dealt with the immigration in Israel during the past decade. The reports show that over a quarter of a million people settled in Israel, hailing from 150 countries of the world, while by the end of this civil year, some 34,000 olim were expected to arrive. This is small compared to the waves of immigration at the 1990's of the past century, but by other standards the figures are high.

However, alongside the joyful cries expressed that the State of Israel has continued to be a lodestone for Jews throughout the world, sad to say, the joy is misplaced since the bona fide Jewishness of these olim is low. Even the immigration of people through the Law of Return does not guarantee that these are halachically valid Jews, a fact that can flood Israeli cities with these questionable Jews and cause assimilation through marriage, chas vesholom.




A Good Day for the Jewish World

The celebrations of the Siyum HaShas have become an auxiliary tradition to that idea conceived by HaRav Meir Shapira at the Knessia Gedola of 5683 (1923). Those siyumim which have become a "Simchas Torah for the Oral Torah" are an outstanding expression commemorating the status which Jewry boasts regarding "[the One Who] gave us the Torah of truth and instill in us eternal life." There is no other nation which is united by an acquisition of wisdom.

HaRav Meir Shapira compared the concept to "a ship's plank" which comes the way of one whose ship was wrecked at sea. He grasps onto that board as he fights the waves, as Dovid Hamelech testifies, "All of Your breakers and waves passed over me."









Rain and Kinneret Watch

by Dei'ah Vedibur Staff

Our weekly report of the rain and the level of the Kineret - Winter, 5780.

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From Our Archives

HaRav Eliashiv's Message to the Participants in the Siyum HaShas in Yerushalayim

Delivered by Rav Y. Efrati

I have been directed to elucidate one aspect of this institution. On numerous occasions when he spoke, Rav Meir emphasized that the idea of Daf Yomi unites all of Klal Yisroel. He eloquently described how the Talmud Bavli and its commentaries were put together by Klal Yisroel in all the centers of its dispersion. The Mishnah was compiled in Eretz Yisroel, the Talmud Bavli in Bovel, the Rif and the Rambam in the Spanish (North Africa) lands and so on.

This is also the aim of Daf Yomi, to serve as genuine bridge, uniting Torah. When one Jew meets another, no matter from where, Daf Yomi bridges between them and unites them.

But the purpose and the essence of the idea must be remembered - connecting every Jew to Torah, everyone according to their own level. The Gerrer Rebbe, the Imrei Emes ztvk'l - whose addition on Rosh Hashonoh 5684 to the ranks of those who learn Daf Yomi had tremendous repercussions, inspiring many others to join too - wrote in a letter that Torah scholars can learn in depth and develop new insights into whatever portion of Torah they feel drawn to, but should still learn Daf Yomi so as not to be separate from the rest of the community (Rav Meir Shapiro, vol. II, pg. 450).

Daf Yomi - Innovation and Inspiration

by Mordecai Plaut

Daf Hayomi is a wonderful example of a modern innovation within the Jewish religion. It shows that there is room for new initiatives, that the Torah community can come up with things that are genuinely new even while remaining strictly within the bounds of the Torah.

Rather than tearing down time-honored practices as so many illegitimate innovators did, the Daf Yomi innovates by building up the genuine Jewish tradition. It strengthens limud haTorah, the great unifying treasure of the Jewish people. Moreover, the personal discipline from the rigorous schedule, and the knowledge acquired from the content of the 2,711 dapim (folio pages) that are studied, are quintessentially Jewish goals that stand proudly against the flow of modern society rather than pander to the latest fad as so much else of what passes for innovation does. Of course, we do not value innovation for its own

A Yom Tov for Scholars: Celebrating a Siyum Maseches

by B. Re'eim

Why is the completion of a maseches such a joyful occasion? What do the words hadran aloch mean? Should a festive meal be prepared for the completion of a maseches? Why is it customary for a hadran to be delivered? The completion of a maseches is an auspicious time for prayer.

Yomo Tovo Lerabbonon is the name of a special volume that deals with every aspect of completing masechtos and the attendant celebrations, as reflected in halochoh and aggadah. A new edition has just appeared, in time for the approaching siyum haShas of Daf Yomi.

It is a Great Mitzvah to Participate in a Siyum Maseches.


Av, 5765 - Kislev 5766 (August-December 2005)

May-July, 2005