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HADRAN (Heb. הַדְרָן; Aram. "we returned"), a term indicating both the celebration held on the completion of the study of a tractate of the Talmud (siyyum) and the type of discourse delivered on that occasion. The origin of the term is the formula found at the end of the chapters of the tractates of the Talmud – "hadran alakh chapter so-and-so" (at a later date the words "ve-hadrakh alan" were added). Two explanations of the term have been given: "We shall return to thee"; and indicating "beauty" or "splendor," a form of farewell salutation to the tractate comparable to "Homage to thee, O Altar!" (Suk. 4:5, see Lieberman , in: Alei Ayin, Minhat Devarim… S. Schocken (1948–52), 81 n.33). The celebration and feasting held on such an occasion are mentioned in the Talmud (Shab. 118b–119a), and it is laid down that the meal ranks as a religious one (Sh. Ar., YD 246:26). As a result it can exempt a person from the obligation of fasting, as for instance on the Fast of the *First-born on the eve of Passover (Mishnah Berurah, OḤ 470:10), or exempt those who have adopted the custom of fasting on the anniversary of their parents' death. On it one may partake of meat and wine during the days of mourning between the First of *Av until the Ninth of Av (Isserles to Sh. Ar., OḤ 551:10). The essential elements of prayer recited at the conclusion of the study of a tractate (printed at the end of each tractate in most editions of the Talmud), which includes the enumeration of the ten sons of Rav Papa as a kind of incantation, is already mentioned by *Abraham b. Isaac of Narbonne in the Sefer ha-Eshkol (Z.B. Auerbach's edition, 2 (1968), 49, Sefer Torah no. 14; = S. Albeck's edition, 1 (1935), 159) in the name of *Hai Gaon , who observes that they refer to scholars from different eras and that they were not all the sons of the same Rav Papa. It also includes the expanded version of the Kaddish de-Rabbanan. The discourse delivered at this celebration took on a special character. By recourse to ingenious pilpul it aimed at connecting the end of the tractate with its beginning or with the beginning of the next tractate to be studied. A special literature of this type thus developed, which began to appear mainly at the beginning of the 18th century (the first discourse of this class is perhaps the one at the end of the novellae on Bava Kamma (1631) of Meir *Schiff (published Hamburg, 1747)). Because of their pilpulistic character they gave rise to opposition and criticism.


J. Widler, Hadar Yizhak (1940); S.K. Mirsky, Siyyumei ha-Massekhtot ba-Mishnah u-va-Talmud ha-Bavli (1961); Preshel, ibid., 265–94 (listing 282 hadranim); Leiter, in: Sinai, 33 (1953), 56–61; Margaliot, in: Ba-Mishor, 7 (1945), 8 no. 277; Y.Z. Stern, in: TB, Ber. 236 (Third pagination).

[Shlomoh Zalman Havlin]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.