Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why Not Maseches Berachos?

His masechta of choice for newcomers was Mishnayos Zevachim, the detailed and specific laws of the mizbeiach and korbanos, because in his own words, "everything is so precise that it's impossible to fool yourself."


At January 11, 2009 at 11:41:00 PM EST, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Firstly, that book rocks (I'm on my second reading).

Secondly, I remember hearing that Reb Moshe was against starting w/ Berachos based on the fact that his talmidim in MTJ would learn the exact times for Kriah Sh'ma and see that their parents davened in shuls and recited Kriah Sh'ma at questionable times. Reb Moshe didn't want his students to look down on their parents.

At January 12, 2009 at 8:08:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an aside: I heard an additional reason Reb Moshe favored Bava Metzia (in addition to his stated opposition to Brachos for the reason Neil stated) is that a child has to have it hammered into him that "M'Tor nit nemen yenems", We must not take what belongs to someone else. Important lesson for this past year.

I am actually learning Mishnayos Zevachim with a chavrusa now. The numerous details of how, when, where etc. make the learning tedious at times.

The hallmark of these mishnayos is the precision in both thought and action that was expected of those who were doing the avoda. One wrong intention or location could disqualify an entire korban and earn a hefty spiritual penalty. As far as deriving lessons for one's personal Avoda, it can be quite frightening.

At January 17, 2009 at 6:52:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I asked Rabbi Zvi Davis, author of the ground-breaking Mishnayos commentary "Kol Demamah Dakah," this question, and he said that in his opinion masechtas Zevochim was too difficult and complex for beginners. He didn't take a position on which masechta would be the best starting-point, but agreed that Berachos would be fine. (BTW his perush is now being designed for publication in the near future through the mosad that does most of the seforim associated with Beis Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood. Tentative title of the series: "She'arim.")


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