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We learn in Bava Metzia that one is allowed to lie if someone asks him if he has learned a certain masechta. For example if someone walks up to me and asks me if I’ve learned maseches shabbos(and he’s not asking for a halachic question see tos.), even if I have, I’m allowed to reply “no, I haven’t”. This is to avoid pride and haughtiness. If so would it be proper to avoid making siyumim?

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  • are you asking whether it is wrong "to make" or "not to make" a siyum?
    – rosends
    Aug 2 at 18:01
  • I’ve had the exact same question in the past. An answer that I’ve found is yes, you have to be humble about what you learn and what not, but still we must celebrate the Torah and our learnings when we accomplish something big, namely finishing a masechet. You need to find the right balance. Also as a potential separate answer, some say that you can lie about having learned a masechet not to prevent haughtiness, but rather to prevent embarrassment if you get asked a question regarding the masechet and you don’t know the answer to it. So if you follow this, there’s no problem with a siyyum Aug 2 at 18:03
  • Your title is "is it wrong" but you wrote "is it proper not to". Those aren't synonymous
    – robev
    Aug 2 at 19:14
  • Actually, Bava Metzia 23b says that rabbis (רבנן) must lie when asked about "tractate, bed and hospitality". Does it say anywhere that this applies also to ordinary people? Aug 2 at 20:17
  • A fortiori is put in place. Aug 2 at 20:50

2 Answers 2

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Perhaps, I don’t have a source on this, just my own hunch, there’s a difference who is asking the question. It’s not inherently haughty to say you did a mitzvah of learning. However, some people who are not familiar with that, will look at it as being haughty.

In the Gemara BM, it’s talking about a random person who is not learned, and by answering him in the positive, it will seem to HIM that it’s haughtiness, so they change the answer in an act of humility.

By a siyum, the Gemara says Abaye made a seuda for the other “rabbanan” meaning people who understand what learning is about and that it has nothing to do with haughtiness, and only to do with service of Hashem and mitzvohs.

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  • This would lead to you not inviting a bunch of people that were at your last one, no? Aug 3 at 12:05
  • If they are people who understand the importance of learning and the value of learning, then they won’t think of it as gaavah. R Chaim Kanievski made an annual siyum on Kol hatorah kulo. I don’t think anyone thought he was being haughty
    – Chatzkel
    Aug 3 at 12:10
  • But what if at least one person did? Wouldn’t it have been preferable to avoid making the siyum? Aug 3 at 21:07
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Not only is it not wrong, it is a mitzvah. The Rema writes in Shulchan Aruch

הַגָּה: כְּשֶׁמְּסַיֵּם מַסֶּכֶת, מִצְוָה לִשְׂמֹחַ וְלַעֲשׂוֹת סְעֻדָּה, וְנִקְרֵאת סְעֻדַּת מִצְוָה
When one finishes a Masechta, it is a mitzvah to rejoice and make a meal, and it is considered a "seudas mitzvah".

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  • Presumably, the question was about doing it publicly
    – Double AA
    Aug 3 at 11:41
  • If you're making a seudah, it's public.
    – N.T.
    Aug 3 at 16:16
  • I don't know how to respond to such an obviously false claim. What are you talking about?
    – Double AA
    Aug 3 at 16:17
  • Look at the Taz and Shach on the Rema.
    – N.T.
    Aug 3 at 16:22
  • I see that if you have a public celebration it's a mitzva on others to attend.
    – Double AA
    Aug 3 at 16:25

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