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PHOTOS: An Historic Ottawa Event – Siyum Ha’Rambam 5775 (Photos By Issie Scarowsky)



Sunday evening, 22 Kislev, an unprecedented display of Achdus took place in Ottawa. Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva from across Ottawa came together to share words of Torah as Ottawa joined yidden around the world in concluding the Rambam’s Yad Hachazako for the 33rd time since the Lubavitcher Rebbe launched the limud in 5744.

From Ottawa’s senior orthodox rabbi, Rabbi Reuven Bulka of Congregation Machzikei Hadas to Ottawa’s newest Roshei Yeshiva Rabbi Yaakov Harris and Rabbi Dovid Mandel of Ottawa Torah Institute, numerous leaders responsible for spreading Torah in Ottawa joined Ottawa’s Chabad Rabbonim and shluchim to share of themselves with well prepared discussions and pilpulim in the Rambam and to celebrate its completion with a plentiful seuda.

Yair Subar, a long-time Ottawa chazzan commented: “I Think this was one of the most important events that has ever taken place in Ottawa, there was an energy of strong unity.”
In the Rebbe’s vision of uniting yidden through learning Rambam, Just as the list of speakers included leaders of Ottawa’s diverse range of orthodox institutions and mosdei chinuch, so did the variety and depth of topics span an impressive range.

To offer but a sample of the evening:  Rabbi Sender Gordon, Ottawa’s renowned mohel expertly introduced each speaker with sensitivity and precision, characteristics one expects of a competent mohel. Rabbi Yehoshua Botnick, the Mora D’Asra of Lubavitch in Ottawa was mesayim the Rambam and pointed out discrepancies between the ending of the Rambam and a similar discussion in Hilchos Teshuva. He then resolved them with the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s elucidation that distinguishes between a perspective in tune with exile as demonstrated in Hilchos Teshuva and the outlook of geulah displayed at the end of the Rambam in the halochos of Moshiach. Rabbi Dovid Hayes, Ottawa’s Head Shliach, began the Rambam anew and explained the mitzvah to know as opposed to merely believing that there is a matzoi rishon as explained by the Tzemach Tzedek in Derech Mitzvosecho. Rabbi Bulka was medayek in the then went on to practice what he had preached and, to the delight of the audience, he proceeded to compliment all present. Rabbi Yonah Burr, the rosh kollel of the Kollel of Ottawa offered an involved explanation of a difficult to understand Rambam pertaining to a sugya recently covered in Daf Yomi in Yevomos which he resolved with a teshuva of the Rashbo that distinguishes between a typical mitzvas asei and one that is solely to negate the alternative but not to require fulfillment referred to as an issur asei. Rabbi Levy Teitlebaum, Director of the Ottawa Va’ad Hakashrus, contrasted the prohibition against the effects of non-kosher rennet with honey from a bee in an overview of the prohibition of gevinas akum. Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn, director of Chabad of Centrepointe spoke of the unity created through learning Rambam. Rabbi Yaakov Harris, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva d’Ottawa, Ottawa Torah Institute, launched into an intricate analysis of a difficult to understand Rambam by first applying the words of his late Rosh Yeshiva, HoRav Henoch Leibowitz z”l about mastering mishnayos to the study of Rambam suggesting that those who complete torah sheba’al peh in this manner must surely be a ben olom habo. Although the event was scheduled end by 9:30 pm, attendees enthusiastically remained attentive to these and numerous other speakers until the late hours of the night. Other Speakers include: Rabbi Ari Galendauer, rabbi-Young Israel of Ottawa, Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky, director of the Rohr Chabad Student’s Network, Rabbi Shmuly Hayes, Rambam Day School, Rabbi Yisroel Goldbaum, principal-Torah Academy and Rabbi Mendy Loewenthal .

Rabbi Mendel Blum, director of Ottawa Torah Centre said: “It was inspiring to see representatives all segments of the community united through Torah study.” For a brief moment Ottawa sampled a world not only full of the knowledge of Hashem, but permeated by it kamayim layom m’chosim. May it be a preparation for all Jews to be united k’ish echod b’lev echod as Torah chadosha m’iti tetzei is fulfilled!

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One Response

  1. Perfect for Channukah: the Yevanim tried to eradicate Torah, and 2000 years later we are making a siyum across the world in a place they never knew even existed; and the only Greeks you can still find are gathering dust in museums!

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