Thursday, March 10, 2005

Learning Tanach

Every time I learn a Gemara with alot of אגדדתא that quotes psukim from נ"ך I realize how little נ"ך I know. The Jewish educational system in America for boys basically forgets about it. Once you start learning Gemara that is it, you spend most of the day on that. It is sad because נ"ך really can teach us a tremensous amount about Jewish hashkafa and how we should approach things.

In Israel things are a little better, the kids learn more because they know the language so they can go a lot faster. Even so, at a very young age they start learning Gemara and that takes over their time.

I understand the reasons, there is so much to know, and so little time. The answer really is to change the system and to introduce Gemara at a much later stage when the kids have already learned תנ"ך and mishnayos. I believe this is the approach of Zilberman's (בן חמש למקרא בן עשר למשנה). Th problem is that if you go to a Zilberman's elementary school you are stuck, it is very hard to switch out because you haven't learned the same curriculum as everyone else.


Anonymous said...

Bluke, you're absolutely right. In America there are Talmiday Chachamim who are B'ki'im b'shas, whose knowledge of Chumash is at the level of children's stories, because that (childhood) is the last time they really learned chumash. Forget Nach. Traditional yeshivas in the US don't have time for it.

Parents need to pressure roshei yeshiva to change the curriculum. I was lucky--in 6th & 7th grade I had a Rebbe who said you can't learn a sugya without knowing the text(s) on which it is based. So we learned the texts. But such rebbeim hardly exist. And even this is not enough.

The failure to teach Navi has resulted in exactly what the Nevi'im have castigated Am Yisroel for--strict adherence to ritual and moral failure in ethical dealings.

The first question in the Olam Ha'emet won't be how many m'sechtot we have learned. The first question is: Did you deal fairly in business? Can we if we don't learn Tanach? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone could explain why girls' education is so superior to that of boys. Girls learn Tanach, Mishna, and (horrors) in some "progressive" schools, even Gemara. They don't seem the worse for it.