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Another source for Siyum Masechet is Shabbos 118b:

ואמר אביי: תיתי לי, דכי חזינא צורבא מרבנן דשלים מסכתיה עבידנא יומא טבא לרבנן

And Abaye said: May I receive my reward because when I see a Torah scholar who has completed a tractate that he studied I make a feast for the Sages.

If you notice, Abaye did not say that in his view, Sium was obligatory, or that he behaved that way, instead, he was arranging the feasts for other Sages, probably endorsing them to finish Masechtos and claiming the reward for himself.

If so, is the encouragement of having a feast, the only reason for having our Siyum Masechet tradition? In other words, only an external reason, nothing a learner is obligated intrinsically?

I understand that the Minhag is an accepted Halachah (Rem"o 246,26, thanks Avrohom), but as per his answer, no source in Shu"A brings reasons why, and how it follows Abaye.

  • 3
    You say this is "another source" and then ask if this is the "only reason" – Double AA Jun 17 at 13:43
  • I would think "holiday" or "special day" is a better translation of "יומא טבא" than "feast"...(?) – Loewian Jun 17 at 15:05
  • Why not comment on his answer instead of in the body of this question. – Dr. Shmuel Jun 17 at 16:54
  • @Dr.Shmuel I don't want others to waste time on citing Halochos. I'd like to know if there IS something intrinsic to finishing a Masechet, maybe Kabbalistically. – Al Berko Jun 17 at 16:57
  • You asked if it's just encouraged and you got an answer that it isnt. Write in your question post what you want and that way you'll get it. – Double AA Jun 17 at 17:30
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This article at din.org.il

הרמ”א (יורה דעה רמו, כו) פסק אפוא כי “כשמסיים מסכת, מצוה לשמוח ולעשות סעודה, ונקראת סעודת מצוה”. בט”ז (ס”ק ט) הוסיף בשם מהרש”ל כי “אפילו אחרים שלא סיימו, מצוה לשמוח עם זה שסיים”. בש”ך (ס”ק כז) ציין לדברי מהר”ם מינץ (סימן קיט) שכתב שמדובר בסעודת מצווה, ולכן אפילו אבל תוך י”ב חודש מפטירת אביו ואמו יכול לסעוד שם (אם כי בב”ח כתב לאסור אכילה לאבל תוך י”ב חודש בסעודת סיום). ועי’ גם בשו”ת חוות יאיר (סימן ע) האריך בנושא, וביאר שכיון שמסיים מסכת הרי מדובר בסיום של דבר מצווה, ולכן יש בו יום טוב של שמחה.

quotes the Rema in Yoreh Deoh who says that it is a mitzvah to make a meal when one finishes a masechta and that this is called a Seudas Mitzvah.

Taz in the name of the Mharshal says that it is a mitzvah for others who have not learnt to participate in the siyyum.

Shach quotes the Maharam Mintz who allows a mourner in the year of mourning for a parent to attend even though the Bach does not allow it.

Chavos Yoir says the day is a Yom Tov of simchah.

It appears from the above that indeed there is not an obligation to make a siyyum. Nevertheless, the siyyum is a seudas mitzvah of considerable importance so that the day of it is a Yom Tov and according to one authority a mourner in the year of mourning can attend the celebration.

  • I understand that everybody accepts the Halacha but nobody explains the [true] reasons. – Al Berko Jun 17 at 16:47

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