Sunday, August 05, 2012

An interesting juxtaposition

  • A Magnificent Evening:  The Twelfth Siyum HaShas 2012  Rabbi Eliyahu Fink found this celebration of the completion of one cycle of the reading of the Gemara very inspiring.  Now, he's starting a Daf Yomi group in his own synagogue.
  • Overhauling Orthodox Education to Make Better Jews.  Rabbi Dov Lipman is of the opinion that the Orthodox yeshiva "system's" obsession with Gemara leaves Jews undereducated in the Hebrew language, the Written Torah (Bible), the Mishnah, and, perhaps worst of all, derech eretz (proper behavior), which is one of the goals of Jewish learning and practice, and that, therefore, yeshiva education needs a radical overhaul.  (Thanks to Rabbi Gil Student and/or his partners at Hirhurim/Torah Musings, for this link, which I couldn't find at The Jewish Press until after I found this link on Rav Student's blog.)

Rav Lipman's opinion piece was published only two days after the Siyum HaShas.  Hmmm.

Correction:  I read Rav Lipman's opinion piece in the printed Jewish Press two days after the Siyum HaShas--it was published in the online Jewish Press the same day as the Siyum HaShas.  Coincidence?  I think not.


Blogger Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Watch my blog. I'll have something on this on Sunday but the bottom line is that once Gemara was a subject reserved for the serious learners and the average people were content to know the basic halacha.
But with the advent of easy-to-read Gemaras like Artscroll and now Steinsaltz, everyone wants to learn Gemara so it's become more important for everyone to know it.
Objectively, however, things haven't changed. Gemara isn't for everyone. Ethical behaviour is and we're not teaching it anymore.

Thu Aug 09, 05:55:00 PM 2012  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Gemara isn't for everyone." It's certainly not for me--I'm way too impatient. I haven't forgotten the time many years ago when the Conservative Movement tried to encourage Talmud study by sending out study sheets and having local rabbis teach weekly Talmud classes. We spend roughly three classes reading the Talmudic discussions regarding when one is supposed to recite Sh'ma. To be blunt, I was bored out of my mind. I kept wondering why they couldn't just bottom-line it and tell us when to say Sh'ma. When I told that story to a good friend, the friend said that maybe I needed a class in Shulchan Aruch, instead. :) More recently, I've gotten a suggestion to study the Rambam's (Maimonides') Mishneh Torah. Anything but Gemara! I have the utmost respect for Talmud scholars, but I'll never be one of them.

Fri Aug 10, 11:10:00 AM 2012  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Ethical behaviour is [for everyone] and we're not teaching it anymore."

It's certainly a sorry statement regarding Jewish education when so many Jewishly-well-educated and observant Jews are arrested for financial fraud, sex abuse, and other crimes. Do these criminals think that eating kosher food in prison makes the fact that they've committed (a) crime(s) any less of a chillus hashem (desecration of G-d's name/public disgrace)?

Fri Aug 10, 11:16:00 AM 2012  

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