What is the first recorded instance of a siyum made for completion of learning torah, historically?

  • maybe simchas torah? – Laser123 Apr 19 '17 at 16:17
  • 1
    @laser no way. That custom postdates the talmud – Double AA Apr 19 '17 at 16:47
  • Please clarify "siyum". Do you mean a seudah / meal or the recital of "hadran" as is commonly done after completing a Talmudic tractate? Related to this, define "Torah" - no formal siyum is done after completing a book of the Torah or even the whole thing (such as on Simchat Torah, based on the annual cycle.) – DanF Apr 19 '17 at 17:09
  • 1
    What is lacking with the answer that your nearly identical question: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/81771/… already received? It seems to answer this. – mevaqesh Apr 19 '17 at 17:30
  • 3
    @DanF It gives you a Talmudic precedent. At the minimum the OP should specify that he is aware of a Talmudic source and is only looking for pre-Talmudic sources, or at least pre-Ammoraic sources, so users dont waste their time posting later sources, or duplicating the effort of finding that passage. – mevaqesh Apr 19 '17 at 20:41

The Midrash in Koheles Rabbah (1:1) makes the following statement, regarding the morning after King Solomon had his famous dream in which G-d promised him wisdom like nobody had ever had.

אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק חֲלוֹם עוֹמֵד עַל כַּנּוֹ, צִפּוֹר מְצוֹיֵץ וְיוֹדֵעַ עַל מָה מְצוֹיֵץ, חֲמוֹר נוֹהֵק וְיוֹדֵעַ עַל מָה נוֹהֵק, מִיָּד (מלכים א ג, טו): וַיָּבוֹא יְרוּשָׁלָיִם וַיַּעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי [ארון ברית אדני ויעל עלות ויעש שלמים] וַיַּעַשׂ מִשְׁתֶּה לְכָל עֲבָדָיו, אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק מִכָּאן שֶׁעוֹשִׂין סְעוּדָה לְגָמְרָהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה.

Says R' Yitzchak: The dream stood on its nest [i.e. it was immediately fulfilled]. A bird would chirp, and he would know about what it was chirping. A donkey would bray and he would know about what it was braying. Immediately (Kings 1:3:15) "he went to Jerusalem and he stood before the Ark of the Covenant of G-d, and he brought up Olos and made Shelamim, and he made a feast for all of his servants." Says R' Yitzchak, from here we learn that one makes a feast on completing the Torah.

An almost-identical Midrash appears in Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:9, except that there, the final statement is attributed to R' Elazar, rather than R' Yitzchak.

This sentiment is paralleled in Shabbos 118b-119a:

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

Says Abaye: Give me my reward, for when I see a young sage finish a Masechta, I make a feast for the Rabbis.

I bring down both, because while Shlomo HaMelech lived over a thousand years before Abaye, the Midrashim in which he is quoted were compiled almost a thousand years after Abaye.

  • Thank you! I think there are two parts to your A: 1. What the OP asked - the first Sium was made by Abaye (move it to beginning) 2. What's the source - it's a dupe, but you can leave it here. – Al Berko Jun 17 '19 at 12:26

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .