A siyum (Hebrew: סיום) (“completion”) means the completion of any unit of Torah study, or book of the Mishnah or Talmud in Judaism. A siyum is usually followed by a celebratory meal, or seudat mitzvah, a meal in honor of a mitzvah, or commandment. Siyum also refers to the celebration.
An enduring custom is for the community to complete a unit of Torah or tractate(s) of Talmud during the 30 days following the death of a beloved one and hold a communal siyum thereafter, in tribute and honor of the memory of the deceased.
It has become customary for synagogues to arrange a siyum on the morning before Passover to allow those fasting for Ta’anit Bechorim (Fast of the Firstborn) to break their fast, taking advantage of the halakhic principle that prioritizes Torah study.
A siyum ha-sefer, meaning “completion of the book,” is also held as a ceremonial completion and dedication of a sefer Torah, a handwritten copy of the Torah, the most important Jewish ritual object, which is kept in the Ark of a synagogue.
Usually, when an individual or a group conclude the study of any tractate of the Talmud, or even of the Mishnah, a siyum is celebrated. At the end of every volume of the Talmud a special hadran prayer is printed with a set order of prayers and a special kaddish, Kaddish D'itchadita, in honor of the completion of that volume, which Judaism considers to be an important achievement and a milestone worth celebrating.
In the merit and honor of a deceased individual, it is customary to undertake Mishnah study with the goal of holding a siyum.
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, based on the Nemukei Yosef, the Ran (Rabbeinu Nissim), the Rashbam, and the Eliyah Rabbah, extends the concept of a siyum to include even a festive meal celebrating the completion of any mitzvah (commandment) that has taken a significant duration of time (such as a number of weeks or months).
An event known as the Siyum HaShas marks the completion of the entire Talmud in the Daf Yomi study program, in which one daf or folio of Talmud is completed each day. Under this program, the entire Talmud is covered every seven and a half years. The 12th Siyum HaShas is took place on August 1, 2012 at the 90,000-seat MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Tens of thousands are expected at Hebrew- and English-language events in Israel.
- A daf, or "blatt" in Yiddish, consists of both sides of the page.
- Bauman, Casriel (6 June 2012). "Majority of Siyum Hashas Tickets Sold Out". matzav.com. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Klein, Yonoson (24 May 2012). "Dirshu World Siyum: 48 hours of achdus, simcha, and accomplishment". Five Towns Jewish Times. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Walz, Steve K. (11 January 2012). "Behind The Plans For Jerusalem Siyum Hashas Celebration". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- "Jerusalem City Hall Says ‘NO’ to Funding Siyum HaShas for Shas". Yeshiva World News. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- Eisenberg, R.L. The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions. The Jewish Publication Society, 2004
- Donin, H.H. To be a Jew. Basic Books. 1991
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