Live Updates From the 13th Siyum HaShas

Maariv (Hamodia)

As Klal Yisrael gathers around the world to celebrate the 13th Siyum HaShas of the Daf Yomi, Hamodia will provide live updates from the main venue, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., where an estimated 90,000 Jews will gather for kavod Shamayim.

Special thanks to Yaakov and Racheli Katz, of Yaakov Katz Studios, for spectacular photography.

Posts are in reverse chronological order.

The printed program is available here

 

(Yaakov Katz)

 

Harav Uren Reich speaking. (Yaakov Katz)

5:24 p.m.

We begin Maariv, led by Harav Eliezer Ginsburg.

Thank you all for joining Hamodia’s Siyum HaShas coverage.

Mazel tov to all the mesaymim!

We’d like to thank Rabbi Yosef Chaim Golding, COO of The Siyum, and Mrs. Leah Zagelbaum of Media Relations, and every member of the amazing Agudah staff for their incredible assistance to Hamodia since the pre-planning stages of the Siyum long ago.

Thanks to all the MetLife Stadium personnel and the security officials who spent their holiday ensuring be”H the safety and comfort of the approximately 90,000 people who attended this event.

The 14th Siyum HaShas will be on 2 Sivan, 5787 – June 7, 2027, iy”H in Yerushalayim Habenuyah!

Maariv (Hamodia)

5:22 p.m.

Kaballas ol malchus Shamayim, led by the Novominsker Rebbe and the Klausenberger Rebbe, shlita.

 

5:18 p.m.

Now is the tribute to zichron kedoshim, as this Siyum HaShas – like all the Siyumim starting with the 7th – has been dedicated to the six million Holocaust kedoshim, Hy”d.

A video is playing showing speeches on zichron kedoshim at past Siyumim, from Rabbi Moshe Sherer, Harav Mordechai Gifter, Harav Shimon Schwab, and the Bluzhever Rebbe Harav Yisroel Spira, zichronam levracha.

There are also videotaped comments from survivors who are present today, expressing their delight at witnessing the rebuilding of Torah following the churban.

Ani Maamin, the song of faith, was sung by Shloimie Gertner, Boruch Levine and Shloimy Daskal, along with a children’s choir.

Chazzan Yitzchok Meir Helfgott is reciting Kel Malei Rachamim.

4:42 p.m.

Harav Uren Reich is now speaking.

He says we can “best capture the inner essence” of this event by examining this week’s parsha, “Vayagidu lo leimar Od Yosef chai vchi hu moshel beretz Mitzrayim,” and Yaakov Avinu found it impossible to believe but when they repeated all the words that Yosef had said, and when he saw that the wagons, then he accepted.

Yaakov has no problem accepting the possibility that Yosef was still alive physically. But “Od Yosef Chai “meant so much more than that to Yaakov Avinu,” says Rav Reich. “Od Yosef Chai means Yosef is still the tzaddik he was when he was in beis Yaakov. Yaakov Avinu could not believe it was true, sitting in Mitzrayim surrounded by decadent culture.” He was moshel bchal Eretz Mitzrayim, firmly entrenched in every aspect of Egyptian life … how is it possible that Od Yosef Chai, spiritually?
But Yosef gave the code of egla arufa, “a profound message to Yaakov Avinu …  You, Yaakov accompanied me all the way … wherever I went I was never alone.” Just as the concept of egla arufa shows that when people are physically accompanied, they are safe, Yosef was spiritually safe in Egypt because he kept the Torah he learned with his father as a spiritual accompaniment.

Likewise, says Rav Reich, the rivivos amcha beis Yisrael are here to loudly proclaim, “Yaakov Avinu lo meis!”

And Rav Reich says we are not only here to rejoice in the past, but to also commit to the future, to be mechazek ourselves to even more learning, so that we can firmly declare, “Yaakov Avinu lo meis!”

Harav Uren Reich speaking. (Yaakov Katz)

4:30 p.m.

Impact of the Daf: A video tribute to the Chassanei HaShas.

Now Harav Aharon Feldman, shlita, will begin the 14th cycle of the Daf Yomi, with the first Mishnah in Meseches Brachos.

Before reading the Mishna, Rav Feldman spoke of what Torah means to Klal Yisrael.

“Shas is the blueprint of Jewish life,” he said. “This gathering… is a recognition of what Torah means to the Jewish People.”

 

(Yaakov Katz)
(Yaakov Katz)
(Yaakov Katz)
(Yaakov Katz)
(Yaakov Katz)
(Yaakov Katz)
Jay Schottenstein reciting kaddish. (Yaakov Katz)
Hot drinks provided free. (Hamodia)
Dancing (Hamodia)
Mazel tov Rabbi Steinberg! (Hamodia)

4:10 p.m.

Jews around the world are dancing in unison, in celebration of Torah.

Ashrei mi she’amalu BaTorah!

Vetaher libeinu l’avdacha b’emes!

The video screen shows the dancing at concurrent locations including the Barclays Center in Brooklyn; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Israel; and Lublin, Poland, where the first two Siyumei HaShas were held in the 1930’s.

There is much emotion. Tears of ecstasy are flowing over the simcha, an accomplishment of 7 1/2 years, of the joy of kinyan Torah, of our gratitude for being the Am Hanivchar.

The Hamodia web team left the press box briefly to join the dancing. It was our first time inside the stadium seats. Outside, and in the walkways, it is very windy and cold. But inside the bowl stadium, at the time of dancing it felt like a pleasant evening. But people who have been outside all night tell us they are really cold.

And we’d like to congratulate Hamodia’s Rabbi Zvi Steinberg, who is among the misaymim!

R-L: Siyum HaShas COO Rabbi Yosef Chaim Golding, his son Yaakov Moshe, and MetLife Stadium CEO Ron VanDeVeen in the broadcast booth. (Hamodia)

3:54 p.m.

“Oseh shalom bimromav, hu yaaseah shalom aleinu, v’al kal Yisrael vimu Amen.”

Mazel tov!

THE CELEBRATION IS ON!!!!!

3:52 p.m.

Kaddish is recited by Jay Schottenstein, sponsored in memory of his father Yaakov Meir Chaim ben Eliezer haKohen.

3:45 p.m.

Brief video tribute to Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, z”l, founder of Artscroll, which made Shas available to countless Yidden.

Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlita, will now make the Siyum, using a Gemarah Niddah that was part of a Shas printed in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany. The volume was brought to Rav Shmuel on the stage by Rabbi Zev Paperman, son of the U.S. Army chaplain who arranged its printing, and Rabbi Chaim Seiger, son of the survivor who owned the Shas.

Rav Shmuel is thanking Harav Dovid Feinstein, shlita, who was asked to make the siyum, but gave the kavod to Rav Shmuel instead.

Rav Shmuel is reciting the hadran, pausing to explain parts in English. He is very emotional, his voice is cracking. Several times, he pauses to compose himself.

Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky making the siyum. (Yaakov Katz)
Harav Reuven Feinstein speaking. (Yaakov Katz)
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(Yaakov Katz)
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(Hamodia)
Masmidei Hasiyum (Yaakov Katz)

3:36 p.m.

Rabbi Shlomo Farhi is honoring Mendy Rosenberg, an ALS patient who was inspired by the last siyum to learn Shas with the computer controlled by his eyes movements.

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Rabbi Shlomo Farhi honoring the remarkable Mendy Rosenberg, an ALS patient who was inspired by the last siyum to commit to learning Shas, with the computer controlled by his eye movements. (Rabbi Binyomin Zev Karman/Hamodia)

3:29 p.m.

We are vieiwng a video of the Saar haTorah, Maran HaGaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, making a Siyum HaShas.

Rav Chaim was asked to give a brachah to the thousands of Yidden who completed Shas, and he replied, “They should have the zechus to know Shas.”

Rav Chaim also sent a letter to the mesaymim, which is read aloud by Harav Reuven Feinstein.

The letter says that people should learn and sharpen their understanding of each daf, and in the end they will be”H know all of Torah. It says in the Medrash Shir Hashirim that the foolish person says he can’t learn the whole Torah, but the wise person says I will learn two laws today and two laws tomorrow, until I cover the entire Torah.

Rav Chaim says we should be zoche to learn the entire Torah, and he blesses all those who learn daf Yomi to be successful spiritually and physically.

Rav Reuven then gives his own bracha: He says there are times we find parts of Torah difficult to understand, and that “yagaati umatzasi taamin, yagati v’lo matzasi al taamin.” Rav Reuven says we should not give up, and notes that Rav Preida had to teach his talmid 400 times. He gives a bracha that we should be zoche, with true effort,to reach understanding b’chol hatorah kuloh.”

Harav Chaim Kanievsky giving via video from Eretz Yisrael. (Yaakov Katz)

 

3:26 p.m.

Harav Aaron Schiff, Chief Rabbi of Antwerp, is now speaking in Yiddish.

He says he came from Antwerp not to speak, but to look at 90,000 Jews who have come out in cold weather for this celebration of Torah.

He says the kavod haTorah of this event is without measure.

Rav Schiff says that there isn’t a home that doesn’t have problems with children, unfortunately, and there are gezeiros about yeshiva curriculum, and our message of this kavod haTorah gives our children an understanding of the power and the value of Torah more than anything else.

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Harav Aharon Schiff (Yaakov Katz)
(Yaakov Katz)

3:08 p.m.

Ki Heim Chayeinu: a video tribute to Chavrei HaShas is now playing.

Novominsker Rebbe says that just as we eat and drink on a daily basis, “every yachid must learn Torah. This is ki heim chayeinu v’orech yameinu.”

Comments also from Harav Hershel Schachter, Harav Elya Brudny, Harav Naftali Jaeger, Harav Yeruchum Olshin, Harav Chaim Rottenberg, Harav Aaron Dovid Goldberg, among others.

Dancing following the siyum on Shisha Sidrei Mishna. (Yaakov Katz)
Dancing following the siyum on Shisha Sidrei Mishna. (Yaakov Katz)

2:57 p.m.

Kaddish after the siyium on Shisha Sidrei Mishna. Now there is singing and dancing!

Baruch Levine, Abish Brodt and Shloimy Daskal, along with a children’s choir, singing “Vzakeinu Legadel” followed by “Echad Yachid Umeyuchad.”

Members of the Hamodia team dancing, breaking the old adage “no cheering in the press box.” (Hamodia)
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Dancing following the siyum on Shisha Sidrei Mishna. (Hamodia)

2:52 p.m.

Now a tribute to the 40,000 children who are Masmidei HaSiyum, collectively learning over 3.5 million mishnayos. Rabbi Nosson Scherman read the final Mishna, encouraging the boys to continue their great work. He tells the boys that the excitement of learning should be greater than any other excitement they have.

Harav Chaim Benoliel read the hadran.

2:40 p.m.

Rabbi Frand continued:

Telling the story of a couple, who got married with little interest in Torah, and who said their “primary concern was how much fun we could have. And the highlight of our week was Saturday night”

The man came to 2012 Siyum HaShas only because he was interested in seeing the crowd of almost 100,000 people.

The man said, “What really made an impact on me was the video of regular people form all walks of life saying I finished Shas, I finished Shas.” The man was inspired to start learning Daf Yomi.

“By the time the fellow got to Kodshim, he was giving the Daf yomi shiur.”

Rabbi Frand says that some people feel they shouldn’t start because there is no way they can finish.

“Anyone who thinks that way doesn’t understand one of the great truths of life, and that is, the perfect is the enemy of the good. It’s the mindset of people who think that ‘if I can’t achieve perfection then what’s the point?’ and as a result, even the good is never achieved, in all areas of life.”

In a rising voice and impassioned tone, Rabbi Frand declares, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!”

 

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Rabbi Yissachar Frand (Yaakov Katz)

2:33 p.m.

Rabbi Yissachar Frand:

Even for those who have not finished Shas, today we should all be proud of how far we have come, the last 75 years in the United States, and gratitude to Hashem, who bechasdo hagadol has rebuilt Klal Yisrael.

Rabbi Frand discusses how even the Nazis understood that the Talmud is a cornerstone of Judaism and how they mockingly called Orthodox Jews “talmud lerners and talmudeshe Juden” saying they needed to be destroyed because they spread Judiasm.

“You,” declares Rabbi Frand,” are those talmud lerners and those talmudishe Juden!” to thunderous applause.

He also mentions how when Harav Michoel Ber Weissmandl asked a Nazi why he was seeking to destroy the Czech Jews, the Nazi replied it was because they would “bring the Bible to America.” A Holocaust survivor in attendance today told Rabbi Frand that he is here because he wanted to see the fulfillment of that Nazi’s prediction, that the Bible has come to America.

Rabbi Frand is discussing how much daf yomi has transformed individual’s lives. People had empty lives then were inspired by Siyum HaShas to learn the Daf Yomi, then had their lives changed dramatically.

“For those of you who haven’t finished Shas, look around you … you may be sitting next to someone who finished Shas. He should inspire you: if he could do it, so could you.”

2:25 p.m.

Agudah acknowledges and thanks New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who is in attendance today.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. (Yaakov Katz)

2:20 p.m.

Rabbi Leibush Lish pays tribute to Shimon Yehuda Brodsky, a 10-year-old child in Yeshiva Bais HaTorah in Lakewood, who has a brain tumor, but despite chemo and surgery, learned Mishnayos Meseches Berachos.

(Yaakov Katz)

2:18 p.m.

Video tribute to “Heroes of the Daf,” the tens of thousands who learn Daf Yomi each day.

The Novominsker Rebbe (Yaakov Katz)

2:15 p.m.

Novominsker Rebbe, shlita, speaking:

“This is a great Yom Tov for klal Yisroel.”

The Gemara says when a young talmid of Abaye completed a Mesechta, he celebrated with the entire yeshiva.

“Today, a great segment of our Torah People celebrates the completion of all of Shas, and thousands upon thousands of people have assembled here today to give living expression to this historic accomplishment … because we all sense inwardly, deeply, its profound meaning.”

The Greek, Roman, Babylonian empires, et. al. no longer exist “because there was no neshama … to keep them alive. But Klal Yisrael is alive, despite churban beis hamikdash, despite persecution and pain, Despite the crusades, despite the recent churban Europe …. even now, in this malchus shel chessed, that is America, we are reminded almost daily that anti Semitism is on the rise and Jews are attacked and hated because they are Jews. What is, then, the secret of netzach Yisroel, the secret of the survival of our people? the Torah hakedosha, which we cling to, and study.”

 

Rabbi Chaim Zwiebel (Yaakov Katz)
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(Yaakov Katz)

1:50 p.m.

Harav Malkiel Kotler, Rosh HaYeshivah of Beth Medrah Govoha is speaking now.

“We come together to celebrate the simcha of a siyum hashas of lomdei daf yomi … of thousands of lomdei daf yomi is not only … a simcha of each person in his own … but it is a Klal Yisral simcha.”

He quotes his grandfather Rav Aaron zt”l: “Morasha kehillas yaakov” – Torah is a yerusha for all of Klal Yisrael, not only for he who learned.

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Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin at the siyum. Zos Chanuklah was the second anniversary of his release from prison. (Yaakov Katz)

1:45 p.m.

Harav Shlomo Mandel, Rosh Hayeshiva of Yeshiva of Brooklyn, is leading Tehillim Chapter 130. An extremely emotional recitation, no doubt largely due to the recent tragedies in Klal Yisrael.

Following the Tehillim, Acheinu Bnai Yisrael was recited, as well as a Mi Shebeirach for Cholei Yisrael.

(Yaakov Katz)

1:40 p.m.

Mincha just concluded, led by philanthropist Lazer (Louis) Scheiner. We’ve been waiting 7 1/2 years for that Amen Yehei Smei Rabbah with 90,000 people!

Agudah Executive Vice President Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel spoke briefly.

Speaking about “chizuk haTorah” being “an essential part of the Agudah agenda.”

Referencing the difficult times we live in, “At a time when the scourge of anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head once again, when our yeshivas are under attack …”

(Yaakov Katz)
(Yaakov Katz)

1:10 p.m.

Mincha schduled to begin momentarily

1:02 p.m.

Mincha was scheduled to begin at 1:00, but that’s not happening. No more than 1/3 of the seats are filled thus far. Presumably long lines at security.

Police choppers flying above the stadium, but no other aircraft or drones. This is a no-fly zone, with the highest level of security. The New Jersey State Police Chief has said that security-wise, this event will be a “football game on steroids.”

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A police helicopter flies above the stadium. (Hamodia)

12:38 p.m.

Looks like the coffee is late in arriving, and the grumpy, sleepless press members are already suffering caffeine withdrawal.

Pre-program videos playing now, with Siyum organizers discussing the history of Siyumim. Now there is a tribute to Rabbi Moshe Sherer, z”l, legendary president of Agudath Israel.

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View from the press box.

 

12:31 p.m.

For the first time ever at a Siyum HaShas, the stage will be in the center of the field rather than at the end. Lecterns will be set up on each side of the square stage, at which speakers will rotate, and the dais will be four-sided as well, so no matter which side of the stadium one sits on, he or she will face some of the speakers and some of the 650 Rabbanim on the dais.

 

 

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12:10 p.m.

Good afternoon everybody from a cool and windy MetLife Stadium.

It’s 39 degrees now, expected to climb as high as 41 this afternoon. (We’re coming to you live from the indoor press box, but this is the last time today that we’ll rub that in.)

Skies are cloudy, but no rain in the forecast.

We’ll all be warmed by the free hot drinks Agudah is providing throughout the stadium. And most of all, by the fire of Torah, as tens of thousands are being mesayem Shas Bavli.

The program is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. with Mincha. Pre-program videos are playing now. Currently with interviews with mesaymim.

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