Bochurim in Yeshivas Tiferes Bachurim in Morristown, NJ celebrated a significant milestone by making a siyum on Tractate Succah.
Siyum participants include Bochurim Yehoshua Cubacub, Levi Schrager, Shmuel Gruys, Yehoshua Hertzeld, Betzalel Hyman, Lev Palgon, Eitan Rosen, Duvid Tabaczynski, and Aharon Chanan Weindruch.
The bochurim have spent the year in Rabbi Dovid Dick’s beginners gemara shiur, level two of four in the Tiferes program, building knowledge of gemara terms, patterns, and background information needed to start learning of their own. They are regularly tested on knowledge of the mesechta by heart — often chapters at a time.
Aharon Chanan Weindruch, 19, from Bettendorf, Iowa, has been learning in Rabbi Dick’s shiur since Cheshvan. “This is my first experience in yeshiva, and it’s amazing to be able to make a siyum,” he said. “Being aware that the practices [of Succos] are not just tradition, but are directly included in G-d’s instructions, has helped me appreciate all the other opportunities G-d gives us to connect to Him.”
The shiur plans to make another siyum — including Gemara, Rashi, and Tosafos — during the 9 days.
“I hope and I believe that you learned that you can go way beyond what you think you can do,” he said. “That was one of the most important things that I wanted to try to teach you over the course of the year, because no one believed that they can do it, and when we started, no one thought that this was really going to work, and nevertheless we see that we were able to accomplish it in an amazing way.”
Rabbi Moshe Herson, Dean of the Rabbinical College of America, quoted a talmudic dictum that “the one who comes to purify himself, he is helped from Heaven,” he said. “The Aibishter says only that you start.” He also emphasized the importance of reviewing the content so that “the accomplishment is not only for today, but should be for the future as well.”
Rabbi Shneur Zalman Dubinsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Tiferes Bachurim, connected the siyum to the theme of Mah Nishtanah, asking “how is this siyum different from most other siyumim?”
First, most siyumim are done by an individual, but here we have an entire group of siyumim, he said.
Second, “people often make a ‘hit-and-run’ siyum. They say hadran and move onto the next mesechta. The siyum over here is not hit-and-run; it’s chew-and-digest. Everyone who did the siyum learned it multiple times. You want to chew it and digest it, acquire it and make it part of you,” he said.
“That’s the right way of learning,” Rabbi Dubinsky added. “When you’re gonna have a family and be working, and you ‘don’t have time’ learn, are you going to open up the mesechta to learn or not? You have to remember that there’s no such thing as not learning. You’ll continue learning because what you’re learning now is the strength and motivation to continue learning throughout your life.”
“In the merit of this siyum on meseches Succah,” said Rabbi Herson, “Hashem should raise the ‘succas shalom hanofeles’ by bringing Moshiach” — bimhayra biyamaynu Mamish.