41st International Siyum HaRambam Held In Front of 770 Eastern Parkway, Avraham Fried Entertains Crowd [VIDEOS & PHOTOS]


The 41st Central Siyum Harambam took place on Lag Baomer night in front of 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights with over 15,000 men women and children in attendance, marking the conclusion of the 41st cycle of learning Rambam — studying three chapters of Rambam daily, as instituted by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 5744 (1984).

The event began with the recitation of the twelve Pesukim, followed by a Siyum made by a young boy on the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos, which is traditionally studied by children as part of the Rambam initiative.

The crowd was addressed by Rabbi Leibel Williger, Rosh Kolel Torah Vodaas, who spoke about the connection between Lag B’Omer and Moshiach, and why to never give up on any Jew.

The Siyum was conducted by Rabbi Yitzchak Raitport, Rosh Kolel Lemetzuyanim of Borough Park, who authored twenty Sefarim (!) on the Rambam.

The beginning of the new cycle of Rambam was conducted by Rabbi Gavriel Zinner, author of the famed Nitei Gavriel Halachic series.

Several videos of the Rebbe talking about the Rambam and Lag B’Omer, as well as about the Siyum Harambam, were shown during the event.

The event was addressed via video by:

• The chief rabbis of Israel: Sefardic Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau, and former Chief Rabbi of Israel and current chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

• the Rabbis of the Crown Heights Beis Din, Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba and Rabbi Yosef Braun.

• Rabbi Yechiel Michel Daskal, Rosh Yeshiva of Tzemach Tzaddik Vishnitz, who spoke about the tremendous influence of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on Jewish life and discussed some of the Rebbe’s teachings about Lag B’Omer and the Rambam.

• Rabbi Hirshel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University.

• Rabbi Chaim Kohn, Av Beis Din Machon Horaah of Flatbush.

• Rabbi Efram Goldberg of Boca Raton.

• Mr. Dudi Farkash, a businessman who recounted how his personal study of Rambam daily completely changed his life and business for the better during this past year and his tremendous gratitude and happiness at being able to make his first Siyum.

The culmination of the event was the kindling of the largest bonfire in NYC, kindled in the center of the Parkway in honor of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, followed by music and dancing to celebrate Lag B’Omer and the conclusion of the Rambam, featuring:

• Avraham Fried
• The Yingerlich Choir
• Yossi Cohen and the Kapelye

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. I am very surprised at the participation and apparent encouragement of this “minhag” by top brass non-chabadtzkers. I would have thought they would recall that Rav Shach zt”l wrote against the idea. Perhaps they feel that as the concept of “niskatnu hadoros” becomes more severe, we need to encourage any kind of Torah learning.

  2. Givaldig!!!! Mazal Tov to those who finished.
    I will try to join the 3 Perek cycle this time around. Wondering if there are other non Chabadniks who also join this?

  3. @Frumwhere They didn’t listen to Rav Schach then (much to his great tzaar), and they are not listening to him now. There is no reason to think Rav Schach would have changed his mind regarding this particular issue, as all the reasons he listed for opposing it are as relevant as ever.

  4. @ChananiaL, you could be correct, but I’m not sure. He never expected Chabad to listen to him, so I’m not sure who you are referring to that didn’t listen to him then, since at that time others weren’t really joining the movement as far as I know. Also, one of his reasons for not liking the idea was that it took away from their learning actual Gemara and rishonim etc., and that claim may be mitigated by the reality of “niskatnu hadoros” (ie at least they’re learning something). But other reasons he mentioned (like the fact that knowing Rambam on its own is of small overall value, since the Halacha is very often not like the Rambam) are as relevant today, so I’m not sure…

  5. “the largest bonfire in NYC”

    Lubavitch continues to depart from the historic Chabad ways, by adopting a custom from Peylishe Chasidus.

  6. @Frumwhere I’m talking about the other non-Chabad personalities who participated. You would have to ask them what their cheshbon was, but it’s not like they have a track record of following Rav Schach…

  7. just going to point out, Reb Moshe Feinstein zat”l was from thus who indorsed the Rambam campaign, and there is eye witness that he learned 3 chapters every day throughout all his years.

  8. How about Rav Shach’s machaha against the way the Rosh Yeshivos in America are giving shiur. Did the Roshei Yeshivos star learning quicker???
    How about when Rav Shach didn’t allow kolel yungerleit to have AC in Bnei Brak. What would he say about the houses in Lakewood today????
    It’s a different dor!!!

  9. Sorry chanial and frum where but chabadniks actually take out of their free time to learn rambam and therefore have no time to argue about this while you guys appose learning rambam while sitting on your couch twitiling your thumbs.

  10. @tunaisafish I would suggest you visit the YWN Coffeeroom, where you will see that Chabadskers like yourself clearly have no shortage of time for arguing ad infinitum etc 🙂

  11. Recommended: The 5th video down the page has a very nice d’var Torah by R. Herschel Schachter shlit’a on the qualitative difference of n’vu’as Moshe Rabbeinu from that of other n’vi’im.

  12. “I am very surprised at the participation and apparent encouragement of this “minhag” by top brass non-chabadtzkers.”

    FYI – Non-Lubavitchers listed above have long-standing previous connections to Chabad-Lubavitch.

    Do not be misled.

    For example,

    R. G. Zinner of Nitei Gavriel is a quasi-Lubavitcher (if not more), with deep connections to Chabad, despite retaining his Hungarian Chasidic dress.

    R. Efrem Goldberg has come under Lubavitcher influence recently and was learning Tanya with a local shliach.

    Farkash is a Lubavitcher businessman, not an outsider.

    They are trying to give the impression that the Lubavitch Rambam Yomi is widely followed, even outside Lubavitch, like Daf Yomi is, by getting some outside speakers, for window dressing. That is quite far from the truth. Do not be fooled by the Chabad spin doctors.

    As a commenter stated previously, these are not followers of Rav Schach zt”l that converted.

  13. ChananiaL now look at how many of the chabadniks them are new users. all of them cause there bochurim! not so with the misnagdim…