Close to a thousand people packed the Carlton Crest Hotel on
Sunday night 18 Adar I to attend the Melbourne Siyum HaShas.
People from all walks and strands of life from the frum
community participated at the festive meal held in the honor
of those completing Shas.
The guest speaker was Rabbi Noach Aizik Oelbaum from Kew
Garden Hills. He mesmerized the audience with his moving
examples of the power of learning Torah.
He said that although previously you could have mitzvah
Yidden, that is Yidden who could remain Jewish
just by keeping mitzvos, nowadays that's not enough. Mitzvas
are compared by the posuk in Mishlei to a
candle, but a candle is blown out even by a relatively mild
wind. In contrast, if even a pretty strong wind blows on a
raging fire, the blaze will only get stronger and spread.
In the previous century the winds were not strong and people
could survive with the candle of mitzvos. Today, with the
raging winds of today's decadence, Jewish education is not a
luxury — it is a must.
Rabbi Nojowitz of Kollel Beth HaTalmud and Rabbi Binyomin
Cohen recited Tehillim. Rabbi Binyomin Wurtzburger of
Kollel Beth HaTalmud gave an introduction to the evening.
HaRav Beck of the Adas Yisroel Kehilloh recited the Hadran
with spontaneous dancing breaking out after the special
siyum Kaddish. The whole hall danced together, uniting
all types of Jews in the simchah of completing
A special award was given to the major sponsor of the evening
Mr. Gary Schmidt, who felt himself that a commitment to just
mitzvos nowadays, with the wind of the world blowing so
strong, is not enough: one must learn Torah to withstand it
successfully. He began to learn Daf yomi and it was only
natural for him to sponsor the evening.
It has been a while since such a kiddush Hashem and
kovod haTorah was seen on the shores of Australia.
A few days earlier, on Wednesday the 23rd of February, Sydney
Jews celebrated the siyum haShas in Central Shule
hall, and the number of Daf Yomi shiurim since that
evening has tripled.