Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Conversation On Gemara Continues

(Picture courtesy of Breslovworld.com)

Litvak comments once again on "Torah Is A Smorgasbord" :

Interesting article somewhat related to this here

When people don't enjoy what they are learning, great problems can arise, G-d help us. That's why it's so important that the learning be satisfying and even enjoyable, by learning what people are interested in and is appropriate. To force a youngster to learn something on a level he is not ready for has caused many problems.

If one is learning Gemara, one should first learn simply, without too many commentaries, covering significant amounts of ground, and only later get into deeper, more intricate analysis and learning slower.

Another problem is that alot of Gemara deals with things that, while part of regular life when it was compiled, are not so for most Jews today, which can make it seem out of touch and hopelessly irrelevant, especially for youngsters. Like learning about oxen goring each other, lost and stolen sheep and the like. We have to either make it relevant to today (e.g. by analogizing cars and trucks to oxen perhaps) or otherwise deal with this disconnect.

8 Comments:

At March 20, 2007 at 6:52:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

Part of the problem is that we foist this learning on our male children at much too young & tender an age. The Zilberman and Hadar Tzion method/s, which is basically is a return to Chazal of Pirkei Avos, 5:25 -- At the age of 5 [begin] Mikra [Tanach], 10 for Mishna, and 15 Talmud [Gemara].
Says HaRav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch:
"If, as specified here, a boy, by the time he has reached the age of 15, has 10 years of Mikra and 5 years of Mishna behind him, he should have become so familiar with the basic truths of Judaism & with the fundamental concepts & requirements of our Law that it should be an easy thing for him to make the transition to the commentaries, reasonings & inferences contained in the Gemara...Ah, when shall we see the day when our young people once again tread the path to spiritual & mental development in accordnace with the teaching left us by our wise "fathers"!

 
At March 20, 2007 at 6:55:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yitz: I agree with you 100%

 
At March 20, 2007 at 6:58:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

Another problem is that alot of Gemara deals with things that, while part of regular life when it was compiled, are not so for most Jews today, which can make it seem out of touch and hopelessly irrelevant, especially for youngsters. Like learning about oxen goring each other, lost and stolen sheep and the like. We have to either make it relevant to today (e.g. by analogizing cars and trucks to oxen perhaps) or otherwise deal with this disconnect.
Again, a more mature person will be able to abstract from these cases & apply it to his everyday life. And perhaps, just perhaps, we have become too alienated from Hashem's world of Nature and the animal kingdom within it? In the Shomron &other parts of Israel, there's a growing amount of young people going back to the "professions" of our forefathers: farming and tending sheep, etc. Something to think about!

 
At March 20, 2007 at 8:39:00 AM EDT, Blogger Mottel said...

And yet the biggest problem is a tremendous lack of inpiring, talented teachers and rebbeim. In many of the schools where Gemarah is not the primary focus, great care is taken to select inspiring teachers who make the students think. In the Yeshivas where Gemara is the main focus, they take "bochurim" who might know how to learn but cannot teach at all.

 
At March 20, 2007 at 9:12:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Gemarah refers to "The Gemarah" as the wine of the Torah. Rebbe Nachman said that a yid does not acquire his "Tzelem Elokim" until he has learned all of Shas. Gemarah is a crucial part of Torah and it is therefor important to make learning Gemarah "work" for you. Today B"H learning Gemarah has been made available to everyone. There's Artscroll, Daf Yomi tapes, Shiurim, etc. It is important to cover as much ground as possible as the Gemarah in Shabbos says "first Girsah - cover ground, then you can be Miayen - try to understand better what you have learned. If you don't enjoy learning Gemarah then why not try learning just 15 minutes at a time and build from there. Alternatively, you can start with Mishnayos and try to learn through all of Shishah Sidrey Mishnah first. There's also Eyn Yaakov (as perviously mentioned in this conversation). My point is that if Gemarah is not "your thing" then don't go and neglect it all together. Rather, learn what you enjoy and make time for Gemarah as well. Beg Hashem to give you a taste of the sweetness of Gemarah. With Hashem's help you will succeed!

 
At March 20, 2007 at 1:17:00 PM EDT, Anonymous moshe said...

Yitz: What you mentioned about young people in EY going back to farming hits close to home, I myself very much want to do it or at least get connected with people who do. Do you know anyone specifically? I live in Yerushalaim.

 
At March 20, 2007 at 3:46:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Artscroll is good; but please be very careful not to look at the notes on the bottom that explain any more than Rashi until you have done the Gemora a few times first.

 
At March 21, 2007 at 12:42:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

Moshe, please e-mail me at
hanegina@yahoo.com
and I'll try to get you some info.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home