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The Siyum Hashas

01/04/2020 01:25:00 PM


Rabbi Elie Karfunkel


This last Sunday over 90,000 people came together at MetLife stadium in New Jersey to celebrate the completion of the entire Talmud in recognition of those that are part of the Daf Yomi Program (a-page-a-day). This Sunday a similar, but smaller, celebration will be taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building. Although I was in Toronto for this mega-celebration, I was well-represented by my father, brothers, nephews, second cousins and their children and many friends. I was also able to watch most of it on a great website called which live-streamed it.

I can tell you that just watching the event brought tears to my eyes.

So many thoughts went through my head and here are just a few:

Firstly, I cried because I got to thinking that not so-long ago, survivors would have been overjoyed if 500 people gathered for such a ceremony. And now, in their lifetime, they got to see over 90,000 in MetLife and over 20,000 at Barclays in Brooklyn!

Secondly, there is no substitute for studying Torah. We live in an era where the pursuit of knowledge, of Torah knowledge specifically, has never been so readily available to us. There are literally hundreds of websites, thousands of beautifully written English books, and dozens of classes in the city. One has a Smorgasbord of opportunities that is all ours for the taking.

Thirdly, we have the two great challenges in our time (and truly, in all times): anti-Semitism and assimilation. As Jews, we must do what we can to ensure our success and continuity. I am always overjoyed when I see Jews who care about the Jewish people, yet claim not to believe in Divine Providence. I look at these people with awe - in my eyes, they are like super-people... they commit their lives to the Jewish people, and yet they can’t explain why they care as much as they care! I take a totally

different perspective; I believe the HaShem cares about the actions of each and every single individual, that He cares when we open up a Jewish book as opposed to a magazine, that he cares when we spend an extra 10 minutes with a book in front of us instead of closing it and heading off to bed,, that He cares about every ounce of effort we put into our study, as well as all the other Jewish activities that we are involved with, and that the One Above looked down at MetLife and Barclays and saw a Jewish people coming together to celebrate his Torah and He got nachas.

So watching this thrilling event I felt that if we could only connect more to positive Jewish living, that we would then put assimilation and anti-Semitism to bed. No, I am not delusional, I do believe that we must be vigilant against the actual bad people who are out there. But I also believe that when the Jewish people are committed to living our eternal values, not only will good things happen to us when we reach heaven, but that heaven will come down to earth and make this world a better, safer place for us. Then, and only then, can we truly be a light amongst the nations, and then G-D's blessing to Abraham (that those who bless the children of Abraham will be blessed) will finally be fulfilled through us.

May HaShem continue to protect us and may we live with purpose and promise .

Good Shabbos, Stay Jewish, Be Jewish, Live Jewish

Mon, April 22 2024 14 Nisan 5784