Monsey Memories: Celebrating the Siyum Hashas in Yeshiva of Spring Valley
By: Yitzy Fried
As the last of the siyumim on Masechta Kesubos in the daf Yomi cycle wind down, we take a look back the time that The Journal News wrote about the Siyum Hashas of the 9th cycle of the daf Yomi, in the year 1990. Monsey, at that time, had its own siyum, presided over by its Rabbonim and Admorim, and—even to a secular journalist—the celebration was remarkable.
“The Talmud and the Torah have for centuries been the guiding light of Judaism,” it begins. “Jews have studied the holy books through inquisitions, pogroms, and death camps ghettos of Europe.4
“Last night, about 1,000 orthodox Jews celebrated the [completion of] the Talmud, continuing the ageless tradition during a four-hour ceremony at Yeshiva of Spring Valley in Monsey. They completed the “Daf Yomi,” the daily study of one page of the Talmud’s 2,711 folio pages during a 7 ½ year period.
Led by the Viznitz Rabbi, Grand Rebbe Mordechai Hager, they read page 2,711, and then started page one, and another seven years of study. ‘We focus on Torah, said Rabbi Berel Wein, a scholar and leader of Congregation Beis Torah in Monsey. ‘That is our basis of existence, our community.
“Last night’s ceremony marked the third in Monsey and the ninth 7 ½-year cycle worldwide of Talmudic study since the daily-page practice was started in Vienna in 1923. Studying a page a day began with Grand Rebbe Meir Shapiro, the Lubliner rabbi, as a method of keeping Talmud study alive in the modern era, said Yosef Hirsch, 16.
On April 26, 25,000 Orthodox Jews, including women, celebrated the ninth Daf Yomi at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. Aaron Markstein, 16, a follower of the Viznitz Rabbi, started reading the Talmud at age 8, and began studying a page a day when he was twelve. ‘When they get halfway through, I will complete my second half,’ Markstein said last night. ‘That will be a major event of my life. You can find Torah in your heart, but you just can’t do it in your heart. You have to show effort.’
“This gives us all a sense of unity, with people studying the same page every day across the world,” Rabbi Joseph Soloman said. Simon Mendlowotz, a Monsey butcher, completed his third cycle last night. He studies at 5:30 a.m.”
On and on the article went in describing the feelings of accomplishment and unity that were felt in the hall of Yeshiva Spring Valley 33 years ago, as Klal Yisroel completed the ninth cycle of daf Yomi