osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

A Mishanaic Dialog

Warning: very Jewish post.

I was amused that my younger brother and I had the following discussion on the way home from Hashkamah minyan this morning. The halacha shiur had been about the laws of siyum (the celebration after completing a work of halacha, such as a Tractate of Gemorah). One of the questions was "what, exactly can you make a siyum on, i.e., how much do you have to learn." This lead to the following discussion between us.

Me: Ma'aseh (an illustrative anecdote). When I was 16, on the tenth anniversary of our Grandfather Marker's yahrtziet, I learn Sefer Daniel with our mother. I asked our Master, Rabbi Wolgemuth (z'tsal) if we could say the Kaddish for siyum. He inquired of me "did you learn it in the text, Hebrew and Aramaic?" "Yes." "Did you learn with Rashi or other Rishonim?" "Yes." "Then you may say the Kaddish for siyum."

My brother replied: Lo Ma'aseh (this anecdote does not show that learning a book of the Tanach with commentary is sufficient for a siyum). For our Master also taught that the kaddish of siyum was originally the Kaddish Yatom (the Mourner's Kaddish). But the people grew impatient, so they substituted the shorter Mourner's Kaddish that we say today. Therefore his leniency was because it was yahrtzeit.

My brother added: For our Master was very strict on the matter of siyum. Nor would he permit a siyum to be made during the Nine Days, for he said "He who would learn the words of Torah just so that he can eat meat and drink wine during the Nine Days is like the rebellious child. Just as the rebellious child steals meat and wine from his father, so too does one who makes a siyum just so that he can have meat and drink wine." However, he also said: "if one happens to complete a tractate of Gemorah during the Nine Days (e.g., as part of learning Daf Yomi), it would be permissible to make a siyum.

Me: He taught the following ma'aseh. Once, he was at a hotel for vacation on the First of Av. He saw the cook preparing meat for dinner. He said to them: "Do you not know this is the Frist of Av." So they made fish. On the third day they came to him and said: "Rabbi, make us a siyum so we can have meat." But he refused. When they found another to make a siyum, he would not eat meat or drink wine.

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