Keeping the Siyum Hashas Sacred.

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    I attended the Siyum Hashas for the first time as a young bachur in 1990 in Madison square garden. The arena was like a huge sparse warehouse with a few sports posters on the walls. There were no ads, the was no hype, The seating was Keish echod B’lev echod, the biggest gevir sat on a hard seat like the rest of us. There was no one serving him Steak & wine for participating in a Siyum that he didn’t even learn one Blatt for.
    It was Sacred.
    As we heard Rav Gifter speak in a wailing voice, we shuddered. We heard Cantor David Werdyger recite the Kel Molai for the kedoshim of the holocaust & we cried. It was sacred. It was austere. It was Pnimi not chitzoni.
    The more Hype, the more chitzonius, the more commercialization even with best intentions ruins it. Chazal tell us that the firtst luchos were broken because Matan Torah was given befumbi, in public display. The luchos shniyos endured because they were given betzinah.
    Every time I drive down Route 9 the last few months I see a huge lit up billboard anouncing the Siyum. Every frum newspaper, magazine, weekly, is running articles & photos promoting it as a great advertising opportunity as well as a way to support further limud Hatorah. A special luxury pre Siyum hotel celebration is also offered.
    Is this pure Torah event or a massive fundraising event? It can’t be both.
    I feel the sacredness of the Siyum has been sacrificed by all this nonstop marketing campaign.
    How do other frum Yidden feel about this?
    I hope a lesson is learned for the the next Siyum Hashas.


    “Is this pure Torah event or a massive fundraising event? It can’t be both.” The last siyum already proved it can be.


    “Is this pure Torah event or a massive fundraising event? It can’t be both.”

    It has to be both

    while Torah will pay a lot of dividends in the olam haemes. all the Torah in the world will not pay for one seat in citifeld let alone renting the entire stadium, and all the cots involved .
    The Torah event has to be funded by the rich Gvir (its cute that you think they weren’t there in 1990 when you were a ypung bachur, I hear that you didnt realize it then, but to still be that naive looking back?)


    Haimy – I agree with you. I remember the first Siyum in the Felt Forum, as well as the ones in MSG – the chill I felt hearing Rav Schwab ZT”L tell a story of a child killed in the Holocaust, the feeling I had, even as a child, that I was part of something special – something that I could aspire to be a “real” participant in when I would be old enough to learn Daf Yomi. Now? Have a few extra bucks, be a big Knocker. It’s lost that specialness – which is why I’ll be participating only remotely, in an out-of-town Shul with a feed from the “main event”. I’d rather participate in the true Simcha of those I’ve learned the Daf with all these years than just be a part of an “event”.

    an Israeli Yid (currently in CHU”L, where it’s not yet Shabbos)


    Fundraising for Torah events is a positive attribute.


    (of course citifield should be metlife, but that doesnt change the gist of my post)

    furthermore you say “As we heard Rav Gifter speak in a wailing voice, we shuddered.” the fact that you dont feel that anymore is a chisaron in you. yes as a “young bochur” you were easier to inspire. and yes Rav Gifter is no longer with us nor is Rav Schwabb. in 30 years they will say I remember how inspired we were speakers back in 2020 like R’ ——— z”l
    i’m not quite sure what the fact that you have grown more jaded has to do with the rest of your post

    Git Meshige

    Is it respect for Roshei Yeshivas and Talmidei Chachamim to sit in the frigid cold while some wealthy knackers sit inside in the warm dining on steak and wine?


    I think what is bothering Haimy in regards to the fundraising aspect is that it seems to project to bring in much more money than the cost of the event. I think that is a valid point but my hope is that the extra cash raised is used for promoting limud daf hayomi for the entire 7.5-year cycle. It seems that they are also trying to use this an opportunity to promote limd hatorah in general which is, of course, a worthwhile cause.
    I have a bigger issue with organizations that charge full price or more for their products (tisha b’av films, books etc.) and then raise tons of money is donations to sponsor each event to the hilt. Granted the question is more on th donors but it does make one think.


    The op-ed in a nutshell Is On Target completely


    The ticket prices are pretty high, Its one thing if they are about $30 each, but all the inexpensive ones are gone and only the expensive ones are left


    First of all the earlier siyumim of 1990 ,1997 and 2005
    the anticipating atmosphere was organic if one recalls
    originally Agudah had no sense of how much the atmosphere would breed
    and that they had to expand venues more than previously assumed
    today it is the reverse
    they bombard on top of us from on high to attend

    I lost my interest and I do not intend to show up

    The last one virtually every pause there consistently were such constant incessant clapping
    it ruined the atmosphere of what should be the Lasting Impressions of the
    the whole event


    I am an outsider that’s fascinated by the frum community and its culture. I questioned whether this will be posted but based on the other posts it seems y’all are somewhat open minded.
    Here’s my take on this situation. When a community puts on major event its a reflection of who they are and what they stand for. I see 4 categories of people attending this event. Lets break them down starting at the bottom.
    “The Lowest of the Low”-These are the learners, the Baal Habatim. The ones who killed themselves for 7.5 years by getting up at 5:30 in the morning to learn Torah. They wait in security lines and are seating on small cold hard seats distant from bathrooms and other amenities. They sit for hours in a freezing cold (January in NY?) stadium where they were charged a decent amount to attend and for many its simply to expensive to bring their wife and and children to partake in their simcha.
    The “Low”-These are the Magid Shuir. The ones who for 7.5 years taught huge amounts of Torah. They stayed up late preparing the shuirim and missed simchas to give the shuir. The are classed with the lowest. They wait in line with them, sit in uncomfortable chairs and freeze.
    The “Middle-These are the Gedolim. The Chassidish Rebbes and Litvish Roshei Yeshiva. They are honored for being Talnedia Chachomim who are leading the community in doing the Ratzon H-shem. They oversee this whole idea and push it and encourage their followers to learn. They are given free tickets, escorted though security and given better chairs with more elbow room and a bottle of water. But they still sit in the cold and far from amenities (yes, Rebbes also need to use the bathroom once in a while).
    The “High”-

    Not sure how an “outsider” would have detailed access to how much or little learning anyone has done. I don’t think “being open” is equal to allowing motzei shem ra. Perhaps you can rethink your point and post it differently. 



    OP is right.


    A wise man once told me, “There’s no business like Torah business”

    Promotions, marketing, caste systems, social hierarchies, and flaunting wealth are all signs of a highly successful system.

    The frum Torah world championed by Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l has been successful beyond anyone’s dreams.

    The hype is the byproduct of it, for good and bad. I think the bad outweighs the good, but obviously, I am part of an insignificant minority.


    The OP speaks to an earlier, simpler time when learning s’shma was the norm and the poishete yidden who had committed to the daily learning cycle in addition to an already busy daily schedule of kids, job, davening etc. were the focus. The same can probably be said of at least one or two posts in the CR every month where for one reason or another the simpler lives of yidden in the alte heim is invoked to make some point about how we have “lost” something with todays, faster, bigger and more technologically sophisticated lifestyle. Change is scary and stressful but staying in place o reverting to the past is not an option when you can access the highest level of kedushah and the most vile pritzus in an instant and the press of a button (or icon).


    lowerourtuition11210: “Is this pure Torah event or a massive fundraising event? It can’t be both.” The last siyum already proved it can be.

    If anything, the last Siyum proved that it CANNOT be both. OP is completely correct. My first Siyum was 1990 as well, and the description desrcibed what we all felt. My last Siyum was my last one. I have no intention to go to this one, for the reasons given by the OP.

    Look forward to attending the Dirshu siyum instead.


    There’s nothing wrong with fundraising, or with acknowledging donors. Even the Beis Hamidkosh had a huge tribute to the sponsor right over the front gate to the Har Habayis, which was also named in the sponsor’s honor. And naming rights — the main gate to the azara was named for its sponsor.


    OK, the sacredness of the Siyum Hashas needs to be sacrificed in order to raise funds to spread more daf yomi among Klal Yisroel. I don’t know of any gadol or Rosh Hayeshiva who actually urges his talmidimg to join Daf Yomi anymore. Todays hectic work cycle makes it very difficult for a Yeshiva graduate to have a sipuk from daf yomi unless it’s done through Dirshu with it’s strong Chazarah & testing program.
    How exactly will the funds generated create more lomdei Torah?
    Every frum family gets a daf Yomi calendar in the mail each year from Agudah Torah commission which is promptly thrown in the garbage, A cute Sukkos poster with a daf ship riding the waves sent to every frum home?
    More ads in the frum press & social media reminding us about how many days are left to the next mesechta?
    Do they hire maggidei shiur? I don’t think so.
    I don’t think the Agudah can increase Torah learning. This is the job of local rabbonim & rebbeim, not a national organization.
    Before we know it, In 5 & 1/2 years this nonstop promotion machine will start all over again promoting the next siyum hashas. (before that we’ll experience a 2 year promotion from the Vaad Hashmitta)
    I think Agudas Yisroel is a vital organization for the Klal but that the purity, innocence & inspiration of the Siyum is being compromised by all this hype & commercialization.


    Woah! There haimy
    Don’t mix the two
    VAad hashmita Is first and foremost, out of Israel at least, a fundraising organization.
    Of course they run glitzy ads. That’s unfortunately the only way to get money today. Why is that an issue. They don’t hide that. They trumpet it.
    We are trying to raise money please give tons.
    How does that compare to this????


    “I don’t know of any gadol or Rosh Hayeshiva who actually urges his talmidimg to join Daf Yomi anymore.”

    As opposed to what?

    “How exactly will the funds generated create more lomdei Torah?”
    by making it a “do not miss” opportunity. Creating a sense of community and belonging. some groups get excited and look forward to a new i phone comign out, we look forward to a siyum on shas. The last one was almost yesterday. If I had just started then, I would have a passing familiarity with so many sugyos in shas. Is learnign a beiyun better? sure but that isnt waht most people are forgoing for Daf yomi, they are forgoing sleep or TV or doing nothing

    “I don’t think the Agudah can increase Torah learning. ”
    The ycan and they have, obviously the yetzer Harah hates this, so he plants faltche frumkeit into people to make it the “frum” thing to oppose daf yomi. I mean look at some of these arguments. We should get rid of Daf yomi because Rav Gifter and Rav Schwabb are no longer alive to make us shudder or feel special. no sane person could come up with something like that. but the Yetzer Harah blinds even intelligent people to say such foolish things under the guise of being “frum”

    “Before we know it, In 5 & 1/2 years this nonstop promotion machine will start all over again promoting the next siyum hashas”

    AMAZING! and homw many more people will have picked up a Gemara before then that otherwise wouldnt have!

    catch yourself

    With all due respect
    Please do not denigrate Va’ad Hashemitta
    They are working to preserve קדושת הארץ in a very real way
    And advertising works


    “Before we know it, In 5 & 1/2 years this nonstop promotion machine will start ”

    the world is changing
    the change is accelerating and whatever one thinks it will be
    it is extremely unlikely ‘ll be anything similar in half decade
    And advertising and Fiddling is the preference takes the place instead of doing which can be done to stymie this change

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