by Sandy Eller
Video of the Siyum Seder Kodshim. View the full video of the event here.
What began in Lublin has returned to Lublin, as divrei bracha delivered in honor of the penultimate siyum of the 13th Daf Yomi cycle emanated from a place whose walls still echo with the kol Torah of pre-war Poland, Rav Meir Shapiro’s Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin. With just over two months remaining until klal yisroel’s global celebration of Torah unfolds at MetLife Stadium on January 1st, 2020, Daf Yomi fever is at an all time high and there could be no better place to celebrate the completion of Seder Kodshim than Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, Poland, where the first two Siyumei HaShas were held in 1931 and 1938.
Traveling to Lublin to speak in front of the iconic yeshiva’s aron kodesh, Rabbi Meir Tzvi Spitzer, Rosh Mesivta at Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim, described the siyum on Seder Kodshim as a major milestone that will inspire countless individuals to expand the scope of their limudim, sparking additional siyumim as the countdown towards the 13th Global Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi heads towards its final celebratory moments. Eloquently describing the tremendous kedusha of the yeshiva as the best possible location to daven for the continued growth of klal yisroel’s unprecedented commitment to limud HaTorah b’kvius, Rabbi Spitzer noted that those who study Daf Yomi have been showered with tremendous bracha and siyata dishmaya as they bring Rav Meir Shapiro’s dream to life on a daily basis.
Returning to Lublin to forge another link in the chain of Daf Yomi adds an additional dimension to the siyum on Seder Kodshim. The number of lomdei haDaf has grown with each siyum and has more than doubled since the 1990s, drawing on Rav Meir Shapiro’s vision which has made Daf Yomi a central part of everyday life for countless thousands. Even since the 12th Siyum HaShas in 2012, the number of lomdim of all ages who have committed themselves to daily learning through a wide variety of programs including Chavrei HaSiyum and Masmidei HaSiyum has increased with every passing month and more than 90,000 men, women and children are expected to attend The Siyum, whose theme Ki Heim Chayeinu illustrates how limud Torah is the foundation of our very existence, connecting us with our past and building bridges to our future. Siyum HaShas organizers are continuing to encourage others to seize the opportunity to delve into the vast oceans of learning right now so that they can participate in the Siyum HaShas as mesaymim and continue onwards in their hasmada in the months and years ahead as the next Daf Yomi cycle begins.
The beginning of the last seder of the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi is an ideal time to become part of a legacy created nearly a century ago that has changed the life of millions of people, explained Rabbi Labish Becker, executive director of Agudath Israel of America.
“Rav Meir Shapiro’s concept of Daf Yomi has always been about mastering Shas, promoting achdus throughout Klal Yisroel and k’viyas itim l’Torah,” said Rabbi Becker. “While there are those who find the concept of committing to a seven and a half year Daf Yomi cycle intimidating, making a siyum on even a single masechta is a major accomplishment. And what starts with one masechta will b’ezras HaShem lead to another and another, which makes right now, the exciting final days before The Siyum, the perfect time to start learning Daf Yomi.”
Rabbi Becker also noted that a Ki Heim Chayeinu Initiative will be rolled out in the near future to help ensure that the momentum of limud HaTorah b’kvius that has invigorated Klal Yisroel will grow ever stronger, even once The Siyum takes its place in the history books.
“Ki Heim Chayeinu is more than just the theme for the Siyum HaShas,” said Rabbi Becker. “It is a mission statement, one that reminds us that our lives are dedicated to Torah study. It is a commitment that defines us and guides us in all that we do and as we look ahead with great anticipation to gathering together at MetLife Stadium on January 1st, 2020, we are also setting our sights to January 2nd and beyond, so that we can reach even more people, spark new waves of hasmada and spread the light of Torah farther and wider than ever before.”