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#1 BCShakarov

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 05:33 PM

I've been quite good since Yom Kippur with keeping up my BT status. I want to continue as I am enjoying the learning more and more.

I would like to start learning Talmud but I don't know where to begin? I plan on slowly buying the Artscroll Talmud but Can anyone suggest which to start with? Also since I'm not familiar with the the process of studying Talmud, are there videos or internet sites that could explain how to go about it?

Thanks

#2 adiel

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 06:42 PM

I've been quite good since Yom Kippur with keeping up my BT status. I want to continue as I am enjoying the learning more and more.

I would like to start learning Talmud but I don't know where to begin? I plan on slowly buying the Artscroll Talmud but Can anyone suggest which to start with? Also since I'm not familiar with the the process of studying Talmud, are there videos or internet sites that could explain how to go about it?

Thanks

Thanks for posting your question here BCShakarov. Your question is a real curveball.

Most people who have been brought up religious, have a Torah background before delving into the deep topics of the Talmud. Although you could jump in to start learning the material, it's not recommended for a few reasons. First of all, most topics cover material that is brought up in the written Torah. Without this knowledge, you're going to find yourself struggling on each line as you'll have to keep going back to the source material for each topic learned. Second, a strong background in other material will prepare you for the 'style' and methodologies that cover the 'back and forth' discussion of the Talmud. It's brought down in the Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avos 5:22) that a 5 year old is for Torah, 10 for Mishnah, 15 for Talmud. So even children need years of solid background before getting into the Talmud. Start with learning written Torah (Chumash - five books of Moses) and grow from there.

i saw this on YouTube and thought it may help. I didn't go through it so it might not be legit. <. <!-- . id="ytplayer" class="EmbeddedVideo" type="text/html" width="640" height="390" src="https://youtube.com/embed/ogPXTUNjjTo?html5=1&fs=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen /><. -->>

good luck!
We are the music makers , and we are the dreamers of the dreams. - Willy Wonka

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill

Frumkeit without Mentchlichkeit is not Yiddishkeit!

#3 Snag

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:14 AM

Hey, BC. I have to disagree with adiel, here: while the order does begin, for a child, with the written Torah, I think an adult beginner can just as well begin with the Gemara. Obviously, you will need a copy of the Tanach - preferably with an English translation, if you are not yet comfortable with the commentaries - for reference, most Talmudic discussions revolve around one or two verses, at most, and the Written Torah does not really illustrate the methodology of the Oral one, per se. The Mishna is great for side-along study, but is basically a collection of facts, unlike the Talmud which uses exegesis to derive the laws from the Torah and Mishna. Artscroll is a great resource for beginners, since it not only translates, but explains the process of the Gemara.

As for which area to begin with, there are a few approaches: children usually begin with the second chapter of Bava Metzia, or the first of Bava Kamma. The former deals with the laws of lost objects, while the latter addresses property damages. If you'd prefer a more practical topic, I'd recommend Berachos, which discusses prayers and blessings. Good luck!
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#4 Pinchas

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 03:24 AM

Yeah - Berachos is fun!

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#5 adiel

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 07:56 AM

As I said, you can do it. But you will struggle without that good foundation.

There is a gemara in Taanis that says when one is finding his learning difficult, he should step back to the subject material he is building on and build from there.

Even the comprehensive sentence structure of an Artscroll text will make you feel like you know what's going on simply by reading it in plain English. But that's still far from what you need to do in terms of developing skills to understand the talmud.

Try either of the following: 1) spend 6 weeks doing an intense chumash+rashi course. OR 2) supplement your Talmud learning on the side with it.

Hatzlacha!
We are the music makers , and we are the dreamers of the dreams. - Willy Wonka

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill

Frumkeit without Mentchlichkeit is not Yiddishkeit!

#6 Snag

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:29 AM

While Chumash rashi skills are at least equally as important as Gemara skills, I disagree that they are a necessary precedent to them. And, as proof, I'll cite most Yeshiva guys' ignorance of basic Chumash, despite the years they ostensibly spent studying it.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#7 adiel

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 09:20 AM

While Chumash rashi skills are at least equally as important as Gemara skills, I disagree that they are a necessary precedent to them. And, as proof, I'll cite most Yeshiva guys' ignorance of basic Chumash, despite the years they ostensibly spent studying it.

my proof is from Avos.
We are the music makers , and we are the dreamers of the dreams. - Willy Wonka

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill

Frumkeit without Mentchlichkeit is not Yiddishkeit!

#8 BCShakarov

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:07 PM

While I am a BT, I did most of my elementary school years in Yeshiva and studied religions heavily throughout the years, so I'm quite familiar with the basic judaic literature (though it's SO MUCH more than JUST literature)

I've studied from the Tanach as well as from internet sources and reputable authors, but It was only till recently that I wanted to delve into it more (since I spent all those years looking studying to help provide a counter-argument for many of my rabbinical arguments)

#9 Snag

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 01:05 PM

my proof is from Avos.

And I argue that that mishna teaches pedagogical method rather than order of study.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#10 adiel

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 01:17 PM

And I argue that that mishna teaches pedagogical method rather than order of study.


So you'd be cool with a 40-year old learning Kabbalah with no background.
We are the music makers , and we are the dreamers of the dreams. - Willy Wonka

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill

Frumkeit without Mentchlichkeit is not Yiddishkeit!

#11 Rentsy

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 02:56 PM

I think KNOWING basic sources and through that gaining fluency in the language (it takes time) is the best way to learn. That is to say, learn Torah, learn Mishnayot, learn Tanach, KNOW THEM... and build your Aramaic on the side, through Targumim, through shiurim on Gemara.

Specifically for a beginner: learn one page of the Gemara text. Know what all the words mean, know how they fit together. It will be very hard. It will also be tremendously rewarding.

(They tell people who are no longer beginners to learn a Perek very well, know an inyan very well, know a mitzva very well... and it works.)
רמב"ם הלכות תשובה פרק העשירי, הלכה ב

העובד מאהבה - עוסק בתורה ובמצוות והולך במתיבות החוכמה לא מפני דבר בעולם, לא מפני יראת הרעה ולא כדי לירש הטובה, אלא עושה האמת מפני שהוא אמת

הלכה ג

אהבה גדולה יתרה רבה עזה עד מאד, עד שתהא נפשו קשורה באהבת השם ... וכל שיר השירים משל הוא לענין זה

#12 Snag

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 03:43 PM

So you'd be cool with a 40-year old learning Kabbalah with no background.

Maybe you have a different girsa in that mishna, but mine makes no reference to kabala. And my saying that I believe that mishna to not be a guide for precedence does not mean that I do not believe anything needs background.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#13 spectra

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:52 PM

About 17 years ago, I met with a group of people. The leader of the group asked a question. He asked everyone to answer. The question was; If you see a white wall with a red light pointed on it, is it a white wall or a red wall? Most people answered a red wall. When it got to me, I asked; do you know the red light is shining on the wall. He said yes. I answered that it is a white wall.

I realized today as it was brought to my rememberance that he was testing us to see if we see things as they are or as they appear to be.

The man was in the business of making fools of people.

#14 Shemmy

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 09:26 PM

I would also suggest that you focus on the Mishna/Gemara itself, and to avoid getting bogged down in commentaries. You should know what the centre of the page is before you worry about the margins.

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#15 Snag

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 09:28 PM

I would also suggest that you focus on the Mishna/Gemara itself, and to avoid getting bogged down in commentaries. You should know what the centre of the page is before you worry about the margins.

while i tend to agree, a basic commentary is necessary to be able to understand the text, and rashi fills that function well.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#16 SquirrelTown Ger

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:02 PM

I've found entire books at the library that help answer this. Personally i have been focusing on chumash with rashi and practical everyday halachos, but i have read a book on talmud by rabbi adin steinsaltz the title of which i forget. I have a feeling he is perhaps a controversial character but the book was a great introduction on how to understand the talmud. There are others out there too. Sometimes a low-resolution snapshot of the big picture is a good place to start, kinda like how the box on a jigsaw puzzle shows you how everything fits, then you go through and piece it together yourself. I hope that was helpful.
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#17 Diogenes The Cynic

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:33 AM

while i tend to agree, a basic commentary is necessary to be able to understand the text, and rashi fills that function well.


You know, I tink its funny how people bog themselves down in discussion over things that are pretty straightforward because they get the sense they're not learning a Gemara when its simple.
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#18 Snag

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:46 AM

You know, I tink its funny how people bog themselves down in discussion over things that are pretty straightforward because they get the sense they're not learning a Gemara when its simple.

I'm
Not sure what this has to do with what I posted, but if you're suggesting that a newcomer to Gemara can learn the text without some kind of guide to basic understanding, I say you're wrong.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

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