When I was in yeshiva, I heard a story that I wouldn't mind having verified. Apparantly, two individuals once argued over whether b'iyun (בעיון; "in-depth", commentary-focused) learning or b'qius (בקיאות, "familiarity", covering as much ground as possible) learning should take precedence in the yeshiva curriculum. I don't know who these individuals were, although would imagine that (if the story were true) they lived at some point in the early-mid twentieth century.

Apparantly, they both emphasised their point by means of a drash on parshat Vayyigash. When Yaakov sees the wagons of Yosef, he knows that Yosef is alive. This is because (based on Midrash Tanchuma and Bereishit Rabbah), the wagons (agalot) allude to the laws of the calf (eglah arufah), which Yaakov and Yosef were studying together before the latter was abducted.

If I remember correctly, one of the two disputants made a drash that indicated that Yosef was still learning the same laws twenty-two years later (in favour of b'iyun), while the other made a drash that concerned the fact that Yaakov was now learning something else (in favour of b'qius).

Sorry that this question is so vague. If it rings a bell for anybody, I would very much like to know how the story actually goes, and who were the two individuals in it. I have a feeling that one of them was the Gerrer Rebbe (??), but think that might be unlikely. Maybe Rabbi Meir Shapiro?


1 Answer 1


According to Rashi (Bereishis 46:28) Yehuda went down to Mitzraim to establish "Beis Hatalmud". The Satmar Rov was mocking Beis Hatalmud – only in Beis Hatalmud could they learn the sugya of egla arufa for 22 years from Yosef's sale to Yaakov seeing the wagons. Rav Eliezer Silver quipped back that it was 3 times around the daf yomi cycle. (Satmar was opposed to daf yomi, this was a mock back.)

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    Do you have a source for this? Feb 22, 2018 at 4:46
  • This is spectacular: I had long ago given up hope that this story even existed! Please tell me that you have a source for this?
    – Shimon bM
    Feb 22, 2018 at 9:38

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