By: Shimmy Blum. The tables were beautifully set in the main Bais Medrash of Mesivta Ohr Chaim Meir in Lakewood, in honor of the most substantial Siyum ever celebrated in the Mesivta’s seven years of existence.
Approximately half of talmidim voluntarily completed Maseches Gittin – the Masecheta learned last year – on their own time. They spent countless hours during bein hasedorim and bein hazmanim toiling over the perakim that were not learned during the regular sedarim, as well as reviewing the perakim that were learned in shiur.
The simcha of the occasion was etched on the faces of the talmidim, and the dozens of fathers in attendance. The bigdei Shabbos worn by attendees; the upscale catered seudah; the live music and the special guests who traveled in from New York brought to the fore just how choshuv this simcha was in the hearts of the Mesivta and its talmidim. As several adult guests commented, “If this is what a Siyum looked like when I was in Yeshiva, I’d still be learning full time today.” One parent who was at the Siyum and later attended an upscale chasuna, remarked, “The chasuna cannot compare to the Ohr Chaim Meir Siyum.”
Indeed, the Siyum was an apt representation of what occurs each day in Mesivta Ohr Chaim Meir. Talmidim are treated with a chinuch at the highest level – in all aspects – from star Maggidei Shiur to a beautiful Bais Medrash to delicious food, generous incentives and recreational facilities to relax and rejuvenate.
Reaching for the Next Level
The Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Shimon Friedman shlit”a, could not contain his emotions as he addressed the event. He noted how the number of mesaymim in Mesivta has grown exponentially from year to year – not long ago, there were just a handful – and an even greater number of talmidim are expected to be mesayem Maseches Bava Kamma next year, b’ezras Hashem. Rav Friedman spoke of how personally he felt the bachurim’s simcha and explained how this accomplishment transforms the metzi’us of each mesayem.
Rav Friedman added that the simcha shel Torah was not only as a result of the quantity of Torah learned, but also the eichus. “The talmidim took hard tests, sometimes on several perakim at once, and then on the entire Masechta,” the Rosh Yeshiva exclaimed. “Every free moment was used well!”
Indeed, in addition to the talmidim’s own sedarim and chavrusashafts, there is a Maggid Shiur in Mesivta – Rabbi Tzvi Braun shlit”a – specifically for the bein hasedorim hours, who helps talmidim learn the additional perakim. Rabbi Braun recited the Hadran – flanked by the mesaymim.
Reb Shea Friedman, the Rosh Yeshiva’s brother, sponsored the beautiful seuda l’iluy nishmas his father-in-law, Reb Yitzchok Yehoshua ben Reb Avrohom Moshe Hollander z”l. Reb Shea described how apropos the Siyum was to his father-in-law’s legacy. Mr. Hollander was a successful businessman who most greatly valued the time each day he dedicated to learning Torah. He had a one hour daily learning seder at the peak of business hours, where he was off limits for any business matters. Reb Shea and Reb Yechezkel Stanger, a close yedid of the Rosh Yeshiva, sponsored the generous prizes given to each mesayem.
“The Greatest Simcha”
Several speakers eloquently articulated why a Siyum is such a significant simcha. More than just the amount of Torah learned to reach this milestone, the achievement of completing a Masechta makes an indelible impression upon the mesayem and encourages him and his fellow talmidim to be mesayem yet another Masechta.
One of the mesaymim, Moshe Pitterman, shared his feelings about the significance of the occasion. Moshe expounded upon the famous Yam Shel Shlomo who discusses why we do not recite a beracha at a Siyum with a fascinating insight.
Rabbi Avrohom Luria, ninth grade second seder Maggid Shiur, spoke of how the personal warmth and devotion of the Rosh Yeshiva; the Menahel, Rabbi Leib Klein; and the rabbeim; gives talmidim the she’ifa to learn b’hasmada and acquire additional kinyanim in Torah. “There is no greater simcha for the Rosh Yeshiva than him seeing another bachur complete a Masechta.”
A special guest speaker from Brooklyn, HaRav Aharon Weinberg shlit”a, a noted Maggid, kept the talmidim spellbound as he expounded upon the core concept of a Siyum. Rav Weinberg spoke of the “Kesser Shel Torah,” the crown of Torah that the Rambam said is within reach of every yid. The Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Kotler zt”l, explains that just as royal crown is incomplete with even one jewel missing, the Kesser Torah necessitates a shleimus in one’s devotion to and acquisition of Torah.
When a bachur completes a Masechta, particularly through the level of devotion and ameilus shown by the mesaymim in the audience, he acquires this crown. “If we’d have the proper spiritual eyes,” Rav Weinberg exclaimed, “we’d see the crown on the heads of the bachurim here, which many gedolim wish they would be zoche to!”
“He is reflected in the bachurim!”
Rav Weinberg stressed to the bachurim the great zechus they have to learn in Mesivta Ohr Chaim Meir, where they are continually climbing the ladder of Torah and yiras shamayim. Rav Weinberg spoke of the close relationship he enjoys with Reb Naftuli Friedman, the Rosh Yeshiva’s father and Nasi of Mesivta – which is named after his father, Reb Chaim Meir Friedman zt”l.
Reb Naftali spoke with deep emotion about his personal simcha witnessing the beautiful Siyum. He spoke of the personal warmth and dedication that his son, the Rosh Yeshiva, has towards every talmid’s success. “It is k’mayim panim el panim,” Reb Naftali explained. “You see a reflection of the Rosh Yeshiva in every bachur. His chiyus and his geshmak is when you learn Torah.”
Mesivta Ohr Chaim Meir will iy”H be hosting its seventh annual dinner on Motzei Shabbos Parshas Terumah (February 9th) at Bnos Devorah Hall. To attend the dinner and/or place an ad in the journal please call 732-865-0201 or email [email protected]. Ad deadline: Monday, February 4th.