Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Compendium of Citations

Shortly before Rosh Chodesh Elul last year, I concluded that the the best way to learn Chassidishe seforim was to start on the first page and not feel pressured to complete the section related to the parsha of the week. I removed the bookmark from my Degel Machaneh Ephraim and returned to the first page; slowly, slowly going through each paragraph until the time that it clicked in my mind. As I continue at this snail pace, I have found that sometimes I must review a paragraph numerous times before I am given a glimmer of understanding. Sometimes I remain on a short paragraph for days and only begin to understand it after toiveling in the mikva or reviewing on a Shabbos or yom tov.

Taking the cue from this new sefer, I have recently started making a compendium of the citations from Tanach, Midrash, Zohar, etc. that are noted in Degel Machaneh Ephraim. I am hoping that the process of putting together this compendium will increase my understanding and serve as a useful reference for this sefer that I regard as my lifelong companion.


At October 13, 2010 at 10:50:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Very cool. Hatzlacha.

At October 14, 2010 at 3:52:00 AM EDT, Anonymous steve mcqueen said...

You need to do both, that is why such seforim take a long long time to grip! I like to learn 2 at once, one by the parsha (which has other advantages as well) and one end to end, in a non-rushed fashion. The one done by the parsha is obviously done at greater speed, but that is no problem because you cant learn such a sefer until you have been through it once already. Even having a weak grip on the whole makes understanding each individual passage more feasible when you go back to it

At October 14, 2010 at 7:34:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Steve McQueen: I hear what you are saying. I have already gone through Degel in its entirety about 10+ times.

At October 16, 2010 at 11:46:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Long Beach Chasid said...

You are doing the exact thing that the every author of holy Torah writing wants!

The Sfas Emes once said in a maamer that whenever his grandfather would quote a part of Torah in Chassidus he would look up the verse before and after and then understand a deeper meaning behind his grandfathers choice in using THAT specific quote instead of another instance it or a variation of it is found in Tanach or Gemara.

I feel the whole point of Chassidus is to give us a gateway to find amazing understand of the Written and Oral Torah.

We should all have the zechus to learn amazing Torah and connect to Hashem this year!


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