Crown Heights Resident Finishes Shas With No Fanfare

Photos: David Katash/

A l’chaim and some cake after ma’ariv at Mishkan Moshe in Crown Heights looked like it could have been for a yahrzeit. But in truth, it was a vastly different event; a celebration marking the conclusion of the entire Shas.

By reporter

Had a visitor walked into the Mishkan Moshe shul in Crown Heights this past Thursday night, he might have assumed that a shul member was marking a yahrzeit. After all, a modest offering of l’chaim and cake is standard fare for a yahrzeit tikkun.

What was actually taking place was vastly different.

A Crown Heights local was making a siyum, not on a single Masechta or a Seder of Mishnayos, but on the entire Shas.

The mesayem, R’ Shaul Calmenson, did not consider his achievement to be remarkable, and did not see any reason to make a ruckus about it. He planned to make a siyum after ma’ariv in accordance with the Rebbe’s hora’ah to make siyumim through 15 Av, and to treat it like any other siyum on a masechta made during those days. It was only at the urging of a friend, who also alerted of the siyum, that he agreed to a small celebration and some l’chaims. spoke to R’ Shaul following the siyum, and asked him to share a few words with our readers, and he agreed to do so:

“In response to the inquiry of the many people who asked how long it took to be mesayem Shas:

“In truth, the answer to this question is not so relevant, because the number of years to achieve a siyum hashas is all relative to the amount of time afforded to a person each day to work toward that goal. For one person, it could be 10 years and another 15 and another 20, and others even more. The number of years it takes is not of importance– לֹא עָלֶֽיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגְמוֹר, וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶן חוֹרִין לְהִבָּטֵל מִמֶּֽנָּה

“The bottom line– since Hashem desires that we learn kol hatorah kula, it’s certainly something attainable by everyone, each at their own level and within the timeframe they are afforded from Above. All that is expected is that we give it our all.

“Many become overwhelmed by the notion of such an enormous undertaking and give up all too easily. The right approach and outlook, though, can make all the difference, mainly, to translate the sincere desire for this endeavor into consistent, practical action, with kevi’is itim (in accordance with Hilchos Talmud Torah as they apply to each individual).

“Simply put- if someone will set a time each day (or the like) to learn Gemara, be steadfast in maintaining that zman and utilizing it to the best of his abilities, in just no time he will have completed a daf, then a perek, then a mesechta, and so on. As he sees hatzlacha, with the help of Hashem, he gains encouragement to continue.

“We all know how time flies, and it’s really no different here. Before you know it, you’ll have reached your goal and all your hard work will have been like a fleeting moment in time, but what you will gain from the accomplishment is totally invaluable and something that will bear fruits forever.

“In the merit of all the siyumim of anash and Yidden worldwide, may we be zoche to see the siyum ha’galus bekarov mamosh!”

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  1. לא מחזיק טיבותא לנפשיה is really unbelievable. He should go מחיל אל חיל and be a positive example for others. Kudos to for reporting this.

  2. His humility is amazing. However according to Halacha (רמ”א יו”ד סרמ”ו סכ”ו) he should have made a Seudah, as the Rebbe in תנש”א encouraged as well.

    1. FYI. This past Shabbos a Seudah was made at Chabad of Mineola, N.Y. Shaul spoke with his family and friends present.

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