It was the day after Shavuos, and klal Yisroel was privileged to celebrate another Siyum in the 13th Daf Yomi cycle. After 111 days of intensive learning, the daf yomi completed Maseches Kesubos.
The Daf Yomi Commission of Agudath Israel of America hosted a major Siyum that was broadcast live to over a dozen communities across North America, in addition to Mexico City and Panama City. A similar Siyum has been held for virtually every Masechta since Maseches Kesubos was completed during the last Daf Yomi cycle, seven and a half years ago.
The Siyum was held at Congregation Ohav Emeth in Highland Park, New Jersey, where over 150 members of the Edison/Highland Park community gathered in honor of this momentous occasion. HoRav Reuven Feinstein shlit”a, Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva of Staten Island, was the special guest speaker. Noted local activist Mr. Joe Friedman was instrumental in arranging the event.
Our Beloved Uniter
There are over 900 Daf Yomi shiurim across the continent that are affiliated with the Daf Yomi Commission of Agudath Israel of America, in addition to countless others across the globe. The Daf Yomi Commission Siyumim offers individual communities across the country the opportunity to celebrate this global celebration down home and personal – and share it with the world – on a rotating basis.
In Highland Park, the music and dancing were festive and happiness was in the air. Reb Rafi Miller, local early morning Daf Yomi maggid shiur, spoke of how Maseches Kesubos culminates with a discussion about the greatness of Eretz Yisroel and then recited the hadran. The crowd then danced with great simcha for this important accomplishment.
Rabbi Avi Schnall, New Jersey Director of Agudath Israel of America, delivered greetings recounting the words of Daf Yomi founder HoRav Meir Schapiro zt”l, who in 1912 reflected upon the founding of Agudas Yisroel in Katowice, Poland.
HoRav Schapiro wondered how Agudas Yisroel would be able to unite Jews from different countries. It dawned upon him how the Gemara and its mefarshim are able to unite Jews throughout the generations and from diverse locations across the globe. Daf Yomi has unified us all the more so. “What is it that can unite klal Yisroel? A Daf Gemara!,” Rabbi Schnall exclaimed. “That is the success of Daf Yomi, and we see live testimony to that tonight.”
In his Divrei Beracha, Rabbi Eliyahu Kaufman shlit”a, Mara D’Asra of Congregation Ohav Emeth, expressed the emotions of the community, calling the Siyum “a special moment in the close to 100 year history of our shul.” Rabbi Kaufman related the Gamara in Maseches Chagigah, which talks about the miracle of the lechem hapanim, which remained hot and fresh for a full week. This showed to all of klal Yisroel, “Re’u chibaschem ilfnei hamakom” – see how much Hashem loves you.
Rabbi Kaufman implored the audience to remember this principle, and never underestimate the Heavenly love and reward given to those who learn Torah and keep mitzvos. He then welcomed the guest speaker, HoRav Reuven Feinstein, and recalled the days when he learned by the Rosh Yeshiva’s father, HoRav Moshe Feinstein zt”l.
Committing to Torah
The much anticipated highlight of the event came when HoRav Reuven Feinstein stepped up to the podium to deliver Divrei Chizuk V’Hisorerus.
HoRav Feinstein delivered an intricate, compelling address about the importance of making a solid commitment to Torah. He emphasized the Gemara towards the end of Maseches Kesubos, which says that an am ha’aretz does not merit techias hameisim.
The Rosh Yeshiva quoted his father, Rav Moshe, who said that when one learns Torah without the proper ameilus, toil, it is considered as if he did not learn. He explained that techias hameisim is granted by Hashem for those who toiled in Torah despite the difficulties of galus. After Techias Hameisim these yidden will be afforded the opportunity to learn Torah without the impediments of galus.
The Rosh Yeshiva noted that Shavuos symbolizes a renewed commitment to Torah. A yid does not only need to believe in Hashem’s existence, but also trust that Hashem will enable him to learn Torah and keep mitzvos in spite of any difficulties one sees ahead.
Rav Reuven expounded upon the berachos in Parshas Bechukosai given to those who toil in Torah, as well as the “ashrecha b’olam hazeh” – the good fortune in this world – promised by Chazal. One who learns Daf Yomi or otherwise toils in Torah on a consistent basis is fulfilled, even if lacking physical or material comfort. “When you have mesiras nefesh for Torah, you get to realize how much it is not mesiras nefesh to learn,” the Rosh Yeshiva concluded.