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I am 15 years old and do not go to a Yeshiva but would like to learn Talmud. There are many rabbis near me who said they would be willing to teach me. How should I start knowing that

  • I only speak English

  • I don’t own a Talmud

  • I have completely read the Torah

Would you recommend the Daf Yomi. I know it starts soon.

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    How can this possibly be considered off topic? Too broad maybe (I'd disagree with that), but if this isn't about Judaism then nothing is. – Heshy Sep 22 at 19:20
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    You would need to ask the Rabbi who is going to be teaching you. Daf Yomi would actually be too difficult because you would have to complete a full daf each day. It assumes that you are able to understand the complete meaning of each daf. I would suggest getting the Art Sroll Talmud set and then sit down with the Rabbi you decide to learn with and draw up a schedule. You should also learn the Hebrew language and use that to understand the Torah. In any case, it would be better to discuss with the Rabbi rather than rely on an internet site. – sabbahillel Sep 22 at 22:30
  • The Talmud is difficult to understand. You can definitely study it, but progress will take significant time. ❧ Perhaps you might like to ask a Rabbi or knowledgeable layman to teach you the Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayim first? The Hebrew text is difficult, but not as difficult as the Talmud. You can read it for free online, or buy a printed copy. – tealhill Oct 20 at 5:59
  • This is a site chavrusamatch.com/en that you might find helpful – Lages 2 days ago
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First of all congratulations for wanting to grow in your Jewish learning. Learning Talmud means different things. One approach is to learn the structure of the Talmud, its way of approaching issues, the various elements of logic it uses, key elements of language (the Talmud is written in Aramaic). This is best accomplished by picking a few pages and learning them in depth, with the goal of progressing towards one chapter then a full tractate. Beginners typically start with topics such as the time to recite prayers or lost and found objects, i.e., topics of practical interest. The rabbi who you learn with will likely offer his own suggestion or some options to choose from.

If you don't own a Talmud, it is likely the rabbi you will learn with will provide you with a copy of the tractate you will learn from. Artscroll has a travel edition of their English translation of the Talmud, with all tractates broken down over a number of small and light brochures, which are relatively cheap and provide much depth for further study. They also exist as an iPad or Android application and you can purchase part of a tractate only.

The other approach is to learn the content of the entire Talmud, and indeed someone who learns all of it will have incredible breadth across many Jewish topics. However this can take very long (daf yomi takes seven years) and, unless you are familiar in advance with the topics, can be a frustrating experience. Not to discourage you but learning daf yomi requires much persistence and time commitment (30-40 minutes a day minimum if you want to follow along with a shiur, closer to 60 minutes in many cases). I wouldn't recommend this to a beginner. Before learning daf yomi you might want to start by learning all the mishna (which is the foundation of the Talmud) to get a grounding in the content. See here for resources to do so.

Congratulations again and feel free to ask more questions as you progress in your learning.

  • Do you think the Mishna Yomi is a good idea? – Yehoshua Shalom Halevi Segal Sep 21 at 18:50
  • I think it is a great idea, start with Brachot though, and think of it as a parallel learning track in addition to starting gemara. Reminds me you might be interested by this related question I asked once: What should a Jew learn regularly? – mbloch Sep 21 at 18:52
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    Quick tip: you should not accept an answer early (and you can still remove your acceptance, I won't take it personally :->) as it might detract others from giving you other answers. And it will be helpful to you to get different perspectives from different answers – mbloch Sep 21 at 18:53
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Adding to what mbloch said,

Would you recommend the Daf Yomi.

No. A beginner would not be able to keep up with the pace of learning one entire daf every day. Even those who are well-versed in the Talmud would agree that this kind of learning is somewhat "superficial". You will not be able to fully understand every concept brought forth from Chazal rushing through each daf, especially as a beginner. I would recommend learning one perek at a time, at your own pace, and since you're just starting out I'd pick a relatively "easy" masechta. Most students just starting out learn either Perek Eilu Metzios in Bava Metzia or Perek Tefillas Hashachar in Brachos.

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I am a baal teshuva so I have had this issue before.

I would 100% recommend against starting with daf yomi: it’s way too hard, and it takes years of preparation to get to that level.

I would recommend that you buy tractate Bava Metzia of the Artscroll Talmud, and study the second chapter, “elu metzios”, which deals with lost articles. By studying this chapter, you will learn most of the basic words. Be prepared for it to take months or even an entire year before you move on from the first daf, because it does take time.

I would also recommend that you find a rabbi, teacher, or friend to study with — someone who already knows how to learn Talmud.

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