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My understanding is that a siyum should be made on the last bit of the text being studied. Thus, if the entire Mishna (all six "orders") is studied for someone's yahrzeit, the last mishna (individual piece of the Mishna) to be studied should be the one studied as the siyum.

It often occurs that many people band together to complete the Mishna before someone's first yahrzeit. There's a sign-up sheet, which says something along the lines of "Please complete your portion by [the yahrzeit]". And on the yahrzeit, someone completes the last bit at a meal.

But that meal is not always in the last minute of the day. So those finishing "by [the yahrzeit]" may not have finished their respective portion. How, then, does the one who's completing the last bit know that everyone's done by that time?

  • Does he not, and take his chances?
  • Does he hold the siyum after the yahrzeit?
  • Do those studying understand, generally, that they should finish before (and not on) the yahrzeit? (I haven't understood that!)
  • Does he call all those studying to see whether they've finished their respective portions and, if not, ask them to do so before x o'clock on the yahrzeit when the siyum will be made?
  • Or what?

Any sources, experience, anecdotes, etc. will be appreciated.

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This is a big problem as at times people do not keep their commitments. –  Gershon Gold Aug 11 '11 at 15:26
    
GershonGold, that's why sign-up sheets usually include blanks for contact info. But it's another issue. –  msh210 Aug 11 '11 at 19:02
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And often the person writes his name in Dr script and does not leave his contact info. –  Gershon Gold Aug 11 '11 at 19:17
    
FYI an online signup sheet: hadranalach.com –  ray Jul 1 '13 at 6:30
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1 Answer

In my experience. . .

  • Generally, yes, and many knowledgeable people I've met who have a lot of siyumim under their belts don't seem to mind that much about it (which I have always found surprising).
  • Usually not. Indeed things relating to anniversaries generally ignore the time of day and rather calculate the reocurrence of the original date's day as their target.
  • Definitely not.
  • "Call" in the more general sense of "contact", and not necessarily on the day, but at some prior date to ensure they are all on pace to finish on time. I have observed that a polite way to ensure people are aware of their expected finishing date (and even time) is to invite them to the siyum.

These are my impressions and observations.


I thought [the question to which this is the answer] was your question at first, and it is still relevant to siyum-timing, so I'm throwing it in. The Mahara"m Mintz wrote (in the middle here) that

כשבאים לסוף מסכתא ישייר מעט בסוף עד שעת הכושר, יומא דראוי לתקן בו סעודה וכו'. כמו שנוהגים לשייר מעט עד ערב פסח לסיום בעד הבכורים שלא יתענו.

When one nears the end of a masechta he may (should?) leave off a little bit at the end until an opportune time, a day which calls for throwing a festive meal etc. Like how we tend to leave off a little bit until erev Pesach for a siyum benefiting first-borns so that they need not fast.

I did not find this on my own. It - along with a bunch of interesting ramifications - is mentioned in this shi'ur by Rav Binyamin Tabory.

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+1 for quoting my Rav. –  Seth J Oct 22 '13 at 13:18
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