The Jewish world is gearing up for a big, once every seven years party in which tens of thousands of people will celebrate their completion of a daily study regimen of the entire Babylonian Talmud, back to front, cover to cover, all 2,700 pages of it.
The project, known as Daf Yomi (a page a day), is undertaken by thousands of Jews in Israel and all over the world, in which they study one double-sided page of the Talmud every day for seven and a half years.
The Babylonian Talmud is the exhaustive compilation of rabbinical discourses on Jewish oral law and tradition, based on the earlier Mishna, which was finally redacted in the sixth century CE.
Understandably, at the conclusion of such an enterprise those who completed the study course feel a certain right to party, and this year is no different with huge celebrations, known as Siyum HaShas (the completion of the six Orders of the Talmud), being planned across Israel and the Jewish world for July 31.
One such party is being arranged by Dirshu, an international organization based in Israel that promotes the Daf Yomi program and other Torah-study initiatives in 15 countries around the world.
Dirshu is putting on a celebratory event at the 12,000-capacity Yad Eliyahu Arena in Tel Aviv, which will be attended by some of the most senior and revered rabbis in the world from the “Lithuanian” haredi, Hassidic and Sephardi streams, and will include musical performances from a 101-strong choir of boys, and an orchestra assembled for the event.
In addition, Dirshu has produced a music album of hassidic songs composed specially to commemorate the 2012 Siyum HaShas.
“People have learnt a page a day for seven years, day in day out, through their vacations, in parallel with their working lives and family responsibilities, through everything they’ve persevered with it,” a spokesman for Dirshu said. “We’re getting to the stage now where everyone is getting very excited now that the finishing line is in sight.”