4

I am wondering what systems of structured Jewish learnings exist or alternatively how to build one. In a broader way what are existing/recognized Jewish learning curriculums or answers to “what should a Jew know/learn regularly”?

We know some partial answers

  • “shnei mikra v’echad targum” - weekly review of the parsha of the week with its commentary (Onkelos / Rashi) - I know some try to learn every year another commentary on a revolving basis (e.g., Ramban, Baal Haturim)
  • daf yomi
  • Hitat (Chabad’s Humash, Tehilim, Tanya) - discussed here on MY
  • Chabad’s (and others?) daily learning of Mishne Torah (1 chapter a day / 3 chapters a day)

But am I asking in a broader way. What should a Jew know and regularly learn? The answer is probably a combination of

  • Humash: weekly review of parasha and commentary (what about midrash?)
  • Tanakh: yearly review of rest of Tanakh
  • Oral Law: daf yomi + review all mishna every 1/2/3 years?
  • Halakha: regular review of Mishna Brura (e.g., Dirshu's Daf Yomi b'Halacha, see also here)
  • Mussar: e.g., review on a revolving cycle of Mesilat Yesharim, Chovot Halelavot, etc.

What existing systems are you aware of? What are thoughts on this?

PS. I read (in his wife's biography) that R Chaim Kanievski has his own seder limud, completing every year Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi, Nach, Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, Mishnah Berurah, Midrash Rabbah, Midrash Tanchumah, Sifra, Sifri and Tosefta. But I am looking for something for us normal humans...

  • 1
  • 1
    @msh210 many thanks for these. In a nutshell, they say to learn gmara and halacha. I am most interested to go to the specifics and see what our rabbanim have suggested, what post yeshiva students do, what this distinguished kahal does. I am struck that, unlike most disciplines taught in universities, we do not have more established "syllabi" of learning – mbloch Jan 6 '16 at 18:28
  • 1
    @mbloch Chabad's full daily program, as you adumbrated, is Chitas, HaYom Yom (a sefer of the Lubavitcher Rebbe) and 1-3 perakim Mishneh Torah and/or a perek of Sefer Hamitzvos. They publish a magazine called Chayenu containing all the texts for the week's learning – SAH Oct 10 '16 at 12:16
  • I think this question would be a great deal more answerable if you would circumscribe the types of sources you're interested in hearing from. Are you looking for systems advocated by classical sources? By contemporary organizations / communal structures? – Isaac Moses Nov 15 '16 at 15:00
  • @IsaacMoses thanks for this - I am really interested by any answer - classical sources don't have much I found beyond 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 - but maybe I am not aware. "Modern sources" might have more to contribute. I am really completely open. Thanks ! – mbloch Nov 15 '16 at 18:59
5

In the most general sense, one is required to know the entire Torah, meaning both written and oral, revealed and hidden, each individual according to their unique capacity. It is an occupation which lasts over the entire course of ones physical life and beyond.

A very good English explanation of what one should learn regularly can be found at the following link. The main principles are there.

http://halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Laws_of_Learning_Torah

It is important to note that in terms of actual practice, one should distinguish between someone who has been raised from the beginning according to the these requirements and someone who comes to learning later in life. The general rule for someone who starts later is to divide their study into thirds. This is discussed in detail by the Alter Rebbe in Hilchot Talmud Torah from Shulchan Aruch HaRav.

Particularly for someone who comes to learning later in life, they should pursue those areas where their personal interests are strongest. It doesn't mean to ignore other areas of Torah, but to develop the habit of learning regularly. This means ideally to set aside specific time, however long, each day, once in the morning and once at night when one will be occupied in Torah study. The emphasis is not on volume. It is on regularity.

If reading in Hebrew is preferred, this link is to Hilchot Talmud Torah from the Shulchan Aruch HaRav. The actual text runs from page 67 through 88 of the online document. An introduction precedes it and voluminous explanatory notes follow it.

http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=16009&st=&pgnum=67&hilite=

And these remaining links provide the continuation and completion of those explanatory notes to text.

http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=16073&st=&pgnum=1

http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=16061&st=&pgnum=1

http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=16070&pgnum=1

  • Alternative link for the shulchan aruch harav chabadlibrary.org/books/adhaz/sh/sh5/6/1/index.htm and chabadlibrary.org/books/adhaz/sh/ka5/12/index.htm – hazoriz Jan 6 '16 at 18:10
  • @YaacovDeane Many thanks. Still interesting that only general guidelines are provided in Halachipedia (1/3 Torah, 1/3 Mishna/Gmara, 1/3 Halakha) or my preferred quote "Someone who only has 2 or 3 hours to learn daily should learn Halacha from Shulchan Aruch [...] this is more preferable than learning Daf Yomi". Maybe the lack of specifics is, as you say, to follow once' interests. Still I feel we could go deeper in reviewing specific guidance given by great teachers, as an inspiration to others. Still have to review SA HaRav ! – mbloch Jan 6 '16 at 18:38
  • 1
    @mbloch, If you're thinking about this for a particular individual, this is part of what the function of a Mashpiah is meant to be. The Mashpiah (literally 'the one who influences') knows the particular individual's character and is able to advise them in detail. Think of a Mashpiah as a sort of 'Spiritual Guidance Counselor'. – Yaacov Deane Jan 6 '16 at 18:57
  • one is required to know the entire Torah, meaning both written and oral, revealed and hidden, each individual according to their unique capacity Source? This does not appear to be Rambam's opinion nor is it mentioned AFAIK by the Rif, Rosh, Tur, or Shulhan Arukh. – mevaqesh Dec 25 '16 at 22:13
  • 1
    @user18223 Thank you for your kind words. Because of the disadvantage of not knowing you better on a personal level, your background & education, my recommendations would be only general. You could try learning Likkutei Amarim Tanya by the Alter Rebbe each day. If it’s your 1st time, start with the 2nd section, Chinuch Katan/Shaar HaYichud. When you have completed that, start at the title page at the book’s beginning & go straight through each page until the end of section 1. Then go to Igeret HaTeshuvah. That’s a good beginning. – Yaacov Deane Nov 14 '18 at 16:22
3

I had the privilege to discuss this question in person with R Ephraim Buchwald who founded/leads the National Jewish Outreach Program and has personally directly taught thousands of Jews and indirectly hundreds of thousands through his teaching programs.

His answer was

He commented on the importance of learning biblical Hebrew and in particular Hebrew grammar (dikduk) in order to understand the original text.

2

The Alei Shor written by Rav Volbe outlines 4 things every Jew should have 'in their back pocket':

The first he says, is to know clearly all of Shulchan Aruch Mishnah Berurah.

The second thing he says, to secure inside yourself the Chumash, with a wide understand of Rashi and Ramban.

The third thing he says is to acquire a firm grip on Pirkei Avos with the commentary of specifically Rabeinu Yonah (he says that no other commentary's word come so close to the heart as Rabeinu Yonah's).

The fourth and final thing he says, is to acquire a firm grip on the Mesilas Yesharim. With these 4 things, a son of Yisrael can become the image of a "True Jew" (יהודי האמיתי).

  • 2
    "the first he says, is to know clearly all of Shulchan Aruch Mishnah Berurah." Do you mean both the ShA and the MB? The latter only covers a small fraction of the former. – mevaqesh Apr 2 '17 at 3:34
2

R Yehuda Greenwald wrote a small booklet called "Torah study" under the direction of R Shlomo Wolbe (I have it in French, it is part of this larger book).

He suggests there a daily program for working people

  • Humash: one alya from the daily parasha with Rashi
  • Halakha: Orach Chaim
  • Gemara: (before that to cover all six orders of the Mishna) then major focus on gemara
  • Emuna (he names Kuzari, Derekh Hashem, Daat Tvunot, Sefer Haikarim, Nefesh HaChaim)
  • Musar (he names Shaarei Tshuva, Chovot Halevavot, Mesilat Yesharim, R Yona on Pirkei Avot and Mishlei or more recent works such as Michat me-Eliyahu, Lev Eliyahu, Or Yael, Sihot Mussar from R Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz, Ale Shur ) or Hassidut as per the individual's preference

He writes the proportions depend on the individual but someone who would only have an hour a day should primarily focus on halacha, from two hours and on he recommends 50-60% of the time dedicated to gemara, the rest to the other disciplines.

Finally he insists on the importance of getting advice from a learned rav that knows the person well.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .