The Joy of Torah

Friday, 14 February, 2014 - 11:51 am

There are many things that can bring a person joy. One of them is achievement. When that achievement is in the area of Torah study, that joy becomes a holy joy. In Jewish law a celebration associated with achievement in Torah study, called a Siyum, has the ability to diminish Halachicly based sadness. For example, during the nine days of mourning for the destruction of the Temple, a Siyum can introduce Halachicly sanctioned joy that can reduce the restrictive mourning practices during that period. Similarly a first born son, who is mandated to fast on the day before Pesach, is absolved of that obligation by participating in a Siyum celebration that includes food. How much more so when we are in the month of Adar, a joyous month in and of itself. An Adar Siyum is icing on the cake.

Some time ago Jared Sichel and I began a regular study session in Talmud. At the time he was finishing up his studies at Tulane. When he moved away we continued our sessions using Google Video. This week we have arrived at our first destination, the conclusion of the volume of the Talmud that we have been studying, Tractate Makkot. We will be marking the Siyum celebration this Sunday morning @ 9 AM at a breakfast following morning services. Jared will be joining us by Google Video. Please join us at Chabad House for this special celebration. The celebration will also honor the memory of Orit Naghi’s grandmother on the occasion of her first Yahrtzeit. Let us know that you are coming – [email protected].

Last night the committee met to determine the theme for this year’s Grand Purim Feast. Following great themes such as last year’s Rockin’ Moroccan, or Purim in the Wild West, or the 2010 Who Dat Purim, it was decided to take this year’s Purim on a distant journey. Ladies and gentlemen… the theme for the 2014 Grand Purim Feast is…. Purim in the Far East. We are eagerly anticipating the creative costumes, décor and menu that will certainly have overtones of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other Far Eastern cultures. The Purim in the Far East Celebration takes place on  Sunday afternoon, March 16 @ Chabad Metairie. More details will be released in the coming weeks.

Monday is President’s Day. As such morning Minyan will begin at 8 AM instead of 7 AM.

Have a good Shabbos
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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