Torah Study

'The Midrash BEN ISH HAI Message and Discussion Area': Other Jewish Religious Topics: Torah Study
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Avraham P. (Avraham)

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 07:17 pm Click here to edit this post
I am a Bal Tsuva, once was in a University in the USA and now live in Israel. I learn Torah all day. There is nothing like it ! There is no end to the topics one can learn in our Holy Torah ! If I can share one idea that comes to mind right now: I saw once that the Chofetz Chaim ZT"L who was a great Torah Scholar, said if one learned in all the areas of the Torah, but some areas were left out, that the person didn't learn them, that person, after getting to Shemiam, after 120 years, when in Shemiam, those areas of Torah are being learned he won't be able to understand them, and there will be nothing that can be done to gain those portions not learned. I asked a big Talmud Chacham about this, and he said, if one learns all the Mishniot, (the 6 Sedorim of Mishna), (I imagine also one needs to understand them), if so, this will save the person from being (after 120 years), in the terrible situation above menitoned. Also, I would like to say, after a day of learning Torah, a person feels like another person ! he feels the truth of life, and realizes how the petty things of life are not important. There is so much more that can be said ! If anyone wants to strengthen, one of the books I can think of just now is called "Nefesh HaChaim" by Rabbi Chaim from Volozon, the fourth chapter deals greatly with Torah study, I do not know if it is in english, it is in Hebrew for sure. (I learned Hebrew through taking a Liniar Rashi on the Chumash--which has on one side the Hebrew and the other side the english, broken up into small portions, this helped me alot. Also, I was able to go to the Yeshiva for Bali Tsuva in Jerusalem called Ohr Somayach, a tremendous instituation !--as far as I know there is a branch in Muncey New York. It could be there is a dorm there for young men who want to devote their time fully to Torah.
My best, avraham.
P.S. That which I mentioned above the importance of learning all the Mishna, doesn't mean that if a person learns this, he can sit back, and relax, as long as a Jewish man is alive he is required to learn Torah, when ever he has free time, and there are so many areas of Torah to be learned, in the Talmud alone, to understand it well--how much one has to toil and strive to understand it !(but this actual striving has such a wonderful effect on ones soul. There is no end to the Torah, as it is the teaching of G-d !

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David Ben-Abraham (Yemenite)

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 09:42 pm Click here to edit this post
If anyone wishes to know how the Gemara was traditionally studied in Yemen, the following excerpt from Rabbi Yoseph Qafih's Preface to the Babylonian Talmud is being pasted here:
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"I will mention here the method [used in our] study of the Gemara. For in a similar arrangement, more or less, was also the [method employed by us in our] study of Halakhah. The Rabbi reads first the Mishnah, and explains it in all of its aspects, according to his ability, and according to the level [of understanding] of his listeners. Already at this stage, he begins to make known certain fine points and new lessons to be derived from the Gemara, in a straight forward manner [of speech]. Even in those places where Rashi writes [the words], 'In the Gemara it has been explained,' the Rabbi summarizes, with brevity, that which is to be said in the Gemara. After this, the entire congregation reads together the designated portion of Gemara relating to that Mishnah, in unison and in the same peculiar melodious tune employed in the recitation of the Gemara, while the Rabbi with another three or four of his more experienced students will raise their voices in a careful and didactic, punctilious-way of reading [in order to instruct others] how the text is supposed to be read; the [sound of] exclamation in its [proper] place [and] the sound of a declarative statement where it rightfully belongs; the question said with its [peculiar] melody, and the answer [given] in the intonation associated with it. The rest of the congregation is being guided by them, and they march along with them, so-to-speak, from the stand point of 'I will explain and expound the matter before thee.'... Afterwards, the Rabbi repeats the same reading of the Gemara without explanation, while all the students put their eyes on the books before them, and their ears are [attentively inclined] to that which proceeds forth from the mouth of the Rabbi, in order to capture its sounds and to retain the correct order of punctuation in the reading... After he finishes, the Rabbi once again repeats the reading, with Rashi's Commentary, [and] with the addition of drawn out explanatory remarks of his own.
In those places where Maimonides, in his Commentary on the Mishnah or in his Composition, has explained a matter differently from Rashi, the Rabbi does not say, 'But Maimonides explains such and such.' Rather, he will say, 'It seems to me that Maimonides did not explain it this way. Let us bring the book and see.' Then he takes a look at Maimonides, reads [from] his words [out loud] before all the listeners, and presently attempts with the most skillful of his students to show how Maimonides' words are congruent with the Gemara, if he is trying for the first time, together with them, to discover the path trod by Maimonides- to find out and to locate that point which brought about diverging [paths] in the [two] commentaries, etc..."

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