Siyum Masechet

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When one completes a Masechet (tractate) of Gemara, it is a Mitzvah to rejoice and celebrate with a Seudat Mitzvah.[1] It is considered a Seudat Mitzvah for others who didn't learn the Masechet, as well.[2]

Procedure of a Siyum

  1. One reads the last part of the Masechet, recites the Hadran, the list of Rav Papa's ten sons, the "Vehaerev Na" prayer, and Kaddish.[3]
  2. Kaddish De'itchadeta is commonly recited at the conclusion of the Siyum.[4] Some recite Kaddish DeRabbanan.[5]
  3. The Maharshal suggested that "Shehasimcha Bimono" should be added to the Zimun at a Siyum, but his suggestion has not been accepted.[6]

What Learning Entitles One To Make a Siyum

  1. If one learned an entire Maasechet except for one paragraph, it’s sufficient for a Siyum. [7]
  2. It is not necessary to study the entire masechet in order. [8]
  3. If someone studies through one of the books of the holy Zohar, it is considered an act of genuine Torah study even if he does not understand any of the mystical meanings of the passages. Celebrating the completion of these books is sufficient to exempt a firstborn from fasting on the 14th of Nissan. [9]

Tachanun

  1. Tachanun is not recited at the Tefillah following or preceding a Siyum.[10]

Who May Not Attend a Siyum

  1. A firstborn who is within a year of mourning for his father or mother may nevertheless attend the celebration of the completion of a masechet on the 14th of Nissan to exempt himself from fasting.[11]
  2. Likewise, someone within the thirty-day mourning period for another immediate relative (Shloshim) may attend such a celebration, as well.[12]
  3. However, someone within the seven-day mourning period (Shiva) may not attend such a celebration. See below about Erev Pesach.[13]
  4. One who usually fasts for his parent's Yahrzeit may attend a Siyum and break his fast.[14]

Taanit Bechorot

Regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic, see Halachot Related to Coronavirus, Taanit Bechorot

  1. Many are lenient to join in a Siyum Masechet and to hear the end of the Masechet and the Siyum and then join for the Seudat Mitzvah and break the fast the rest of the day. [15]
  2. Some say that it’s critical to understand the last piece of Gemara to join for the Siyum, however, the minhag is to be lenient in any circumstance. [16] Some say that one only has to participate in some of the learning, maybe by hearing the rabbi speaks words of mussar. [17]
  3. Preferably, after hearing the Siyum one should eat a KeBaytzah of Mezonot or bread as a meal for the Siyum. Some are lenient and allow one to break the fast after hearing a Siyum without eating there. [18]
  4. If a woman finishes a complete masechet she still cannot absolve the first borns from the fast. [19]
  5. Since someone within the seven-day mourning period may not attend such a celebration, he wouldhave to fast Taanit Bechorot. If he is weak and fasting through the day would adversely affect his ability to perform the mitzvot of the seder night, he may redeem himself from the fast by giving some money to charity.[20]
  6. Some say a child's siyum can exempt an adult from fasting Taanit Bechorot.[21]

The Nine Days

  1. One may eat meat at a meal held for a siyum and this includes the friends and family invited to the meal.[22]
  2. A siyum can be made on a masechta of gemara, seder of mishna, or book of Tanach studied with the rishonim.[23]
  3. If a woman learns a Masechet well and makes a siyum, men may eat at the Seudat Mitzvah that follows.[24]
  4. Some say that from the 7th of Av they shouldn't serve meat at a siyum.[25]
  5. If a person missed hearing the siyum itself a rav should be consulted.[26]

When Else a Siyum May or May Not Be Made

See Not_Bundling_Mitzvot, Chol_HaMoed, Having_Simchas, and Having a Meal on Erev_Shabbat, Siyum on Friday

See Also

  1. Making a Siyum by R' Moshe Dovid Lebovitz

Sources

  1. Shabbat 118b, Rama Yoreh Deah 246:26
  2. Moed Kattan 9a, Shach, Yoreh Deah 246:27
  3. Aruch HaShulchan, Yoreh Deah 246:44
  4. Yalkut Yosef Tefillah vol.1 56:33 and vol. 2 110:17
  5. Aruch HaShulchan, Yoreh Deah 246:44
  6. Yam Shel Shlomo (Bava Kama 7:37), Aruch HaShulchan (Yoreh Deah 246:45)
  7. Halichot Shlomo 8:2
  8. Yalkut Yosef 470:20
  9. Yalkut Yosef 470:19
  10. Sh"t Yabia Omer 4:13 writes that one doesn't say Tachanun in the davening right before a siyum just like the mishna in Taanit (31a) says that in they made a holiday on Tu BeAv because certain families finished for the season the mitzvah of chopping wood for the Bet HaMikdash.
  11. Yalkut Yosef 470:24
  12. Yalkut Yosef 470:24
  13. Yalkut Yosef 470:24
  14. Aruch HaShulchan, Yoreh Deah 246:45
  15. Yalkut Yosef, 470:16, Mishna Brurah 470:10, Piskei Teshuvot 470:6, 8 based on Igrot Moshe 4:49, Maharsham 215, Ben Ish Chai Tzav 25, Kaf Hachayim 470:10 and Aruch HaShulchan 470:5
  16. Piskei Teshuvot 470:10
  17. Rabbi Eli Mansour Dailyhalacha
  18. Piskei Teshuvot 470:11, Halichot Shlomo 8:1
  19. Rabbi Eli Mansour Dailyhalacha
  20. Yalkut Yosef 470:24
  21. Shu"T BeTzel HaChochmah 4:100. The following summary appears on Mi Yodea: "Rabbi B'tzal'el Stern (B'tzel Hachochma volume 4 number 100) was asked whether a minor's siyum exempts an adult from taanis b'choros. He cites the Rambam (Hilchos Korban Pesach 5:7) as saying that someone who became an adult between Pesach and Pesach sheni need not offer the korban pesach sheni. The explanation of this Rambam is that, because the Torah says to include an entire household, including children, on the first pesach offering, it's as though the then-child fulfilled the mitzva just like an adult (even though normally we say children are exempt from mitzvos). Rabbi Stern extends this to Torah study: because a parent has a Torah obligation to teach his son Torah, it's as if the son has fulfilled a mitzva by studying Torah just like an adult. Therefore, Rabbi Stern concludes, his siyum can be used to exempt an adult from taanis b'choros.
    This follows Rabbi Stern's understanding of the Kesef Mishneh (ad loc., citing Rabbi Yosef Kurkus) and Mabit (קרית ספר, ad loc.), that the father's obligation to include his minor son in the korban pesach essentially allows an adult-level fulfillment of the obligation by the son. An alternative understanding of the Kesef Mishneh is expounded by Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik. He argues that there are two legal aspects to the fulfillment of the korban pesach commandment. The first is the individual's obligation to perform a commandment, and the second is the legal completion of the sacrificial service. Rabbi Soloveitchik contends that only the second aspect of the korban pesach applies to a minor, so the minor's parent is capable of including him in a household group for the korban's consumption. Since the korban pesach service could be performed by a minor, its prior performance has legal significance for him once he reaches the age of majority. However, it is not as if he actually fulfilled an obligation as a minor."
  22. Chazon Ovadyah (Arba Taaniyot pg 196-8). Although the Rama Orach Chaim 551:10 writes that one should minimize the amount of guests invited to this meal, Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (cited in Nitei Gavriel 18:7), rule that if the one who completes the masechet eats in a communal dining room (such as a camp or hotel), all those who eat with him may participate. Rav Moshe Feinstein quoted in Moadei Yeshurun page 132 says that preferably one shouldn't hold a siyum of a masechet after the sixth of av. Aruch Hashulchan 551:28 says that since nowadays we do not properly celebrate the torah, preferably no siyums should be held during the nine days.
  23. Rav Eider in Halachos Of The Three Weeks p. 7
  24. She'erit Yosef vol. 2 page 56 by Rav Shlomo Wahrman
  25. Rav Moshe Feinstein (cited by Rav Eider in Halachos Of The Three Weeks p. 7) holds that after the 7th of Av they should not serve meat even at a siyum.
  26. Rav Eider in Halachos Of The Three Weeks p. 8 writes that it seems to him to be permitted to eat from the meal even if he missed hearing the siyum but he concludes that a rav should be consulted.