1. As mentioned previously, it is proper to make siyumim during the Nine Days. There are those who make a siyum after completing the study of a chapter from the Talmud and others who make a siyum after studying a tractate of Mishnayos without studying the Gemara. However, according to all opinions, a siyum can be made after studying a tractate complete with its Gemara.

There are many tractates to choose from. Based on the principle, “When there is a choice between two matters, one of continuous relevance and one which is not of continuous relevance, the one of continuous relevance is given preference,” preference was given to the tractate of Tamid whose name means “continuous.”1 However, since it is improper to “skip over mitzvos,” a siyum will also be made on the first tractate of the Talmud, Berachos.

Berachos is also relevant to the present occasion for we have just completed the evening service including the recitation of the Shema, the subject matter of the first teachings in Berachos. Berachos was chosen as the first of the tractates of the Talmud because it centers on the fear of heaven as it is stated “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of G‑d.” In that context, Rabbi Avraham, the son of the Maggid of Mezritch, explained that the question, “From which time (מאימתי) is the Shema read?”2 can be interpreted to mean, “The Shema must be read out of awe.”3 This awe is expressed in the recitation of the Shema which is associated with the acceptance of the yoke of heaven. This is drawn down into the worlds by reciting the phrase “Boruch Shaim... — Blessed be the Name...” and afterwards, through carrying out one’s service in the world as emphasized in the second paragraph of the Shema, “And you shall gather your grain...” This associates the beginning of the tractate with its conclusion, “Torah scholars increase peace within the world... The L‑rd will give strength to His people; the L‑rd will bless His people with peace.”

[This teaching is also the conclusion of the fourth chapter of the tractate of Tamid at which point the Gemara connected with this tractate is concluded. There are seven chapters of Mishnayos in the tractate. However, the Gemara concludes after the fourth chapter.4 ]

The tractate of Tamid itself concludes with the description of the Psalms the Levites would recite in the Beis HaMikdash each day and mentions the Psalm recited on the Shabbos, “A Psalm, a song for the Shabbos day.” Our Sages explain that this refers to “the era which is all Shabbos5 and rest forever.”6 This, however, is only an allusion and the simple meaning of the verse refers to the Shabbos day, which is a day of rest and peace. The latter interpretation is necessary for all the Psalms recited are associated with the creations G‑d brought into being on that day during the six days of creation. Similarly, the Psalm points out the contribution of the seventh day, the potential for rest.

This connects the tractate of Tamid to that of Berachos for as the Alter Rebbe writes in Iggeres HaTeshuvah, Shabbos is connected with the higher level of teshuvah which relates to the higher level of fear of G‑d, the quality taught by the tractate of Berachos.

The above is also connected with the siyum of the entire Talmud which, like the siyum of Berachos, also focuses on the quality of peace, “The Holy One, Blessed be He, did not find a vessel which could contain blessing for Israel except peace as it says, ‘The L‑rd will give strength to His people; the L‑rd will bless His people with peace.’ ” This refers to the ultimate peace which will be realized in the Messianic Age as evident from the teachings which precede it.

This is connected to the other tractates for, as mentioned, the conclusion of the tractate of Tamid also mentions the Messianic Age and the peace of this era will be “a vessel to contain blessings.” Blessings are connected with the tractate of that name, Berachos.7

It is appropriate that the practice of making siyumim should be continued throughout the Nine Days even on the day of Tishah BeAv. A suggestion was made to hold a siyum on that day after the fast was concluded. Alternatively, a siyum could be made during the day itself since, as it appears from the practice of the Rebbe Rashab, it is not necessary to connect a siyum with an actual meal.

Also, it is appropriate to increase our gifts to tzedakah on these days and thus, this gathering will also be concluded by distributing money for tzedakah. May these activities hasten the coming of Mashiach.8 May he come immediately, on this very night.