A basic-level gemara course that aims primarily to improve the student's ability to logically parse a gemara sugya. Later on in the zman, the shiur will begin to focus more on understanding Rashi's approach as a commentator and mechadesh. Some of the comments and chidushim (innovations) of Tosafot will also be included as time goes on. The shiur is appropriate for students with a range of backgrounds who want to improve their skills working with a page of gemara, and at the same time want to be able to participate in the gemara's world of midrashic understandings of the written Torah, halachic discussion, and aggadic ideas. Prior general background in Jewish studies is helpful, but not essential. In Elul we will be learning a portion of chapter 1 of Masechet Rosh HaShana that contains important sources on the nature and meaning of Divine judgement in general and at this time of year, and the implications for ourselves.
About Rabbi Yitzhak Zuriel
Rabbi Yitzhak Zuriel was a teacher and educational director at Michlelet Bruria for about 10 years during the 1980s. More recently, he has been working as a software quality engineer at the company NDS in Jerusalem. He is one of the editors of and contributors to NDS's annual Torah journal, Chiddushei Torah@NDS .
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September 20, 2012 6:00AM - 7:00AM Daf 16b-18a: Divine Mercy in Judgment, and Afterwards
In the previous shiur we learned the Tosefot on the relationship between human prayer and Divine judgment, then the beraita towards the bottom of Daf 16a about the the special mitzvot on judgment days including shofar. Please review this material; if you have any questions I am happy to answer them by email.
In this last shiur of Elul zman, we will learn selected chunks of the continuation of the gemara on Daf 16b through 18a, which deal in particular with the Ten Days of Repentence and the theme of Divine mercy in judgment.
September 13, 2012 6:00AM - 7:00AM Daf 18a: Prayer and Judgment: Tosefot’s explanation; Amoraic explanations of shofar
In the previous shiur, we learned the gemara on Daf 16a down to the 8th wide line towards the bottom of the page (although we did not read the four lines starting with the 3rd wide line containing Rav Hisda’s 2nd statement about the verse from Sefer Melachim). It included the various tannaitic positions on the frequency of Divine judgment. We also discussed the amoraic explanations of this in the gemara. The last piece of gemara brought the question of how we can pray throughout the year if judgment takes place at a particular time only, and there were two explanations of this offered by the gemara. Please review all of this material and try to read it out of the gemara on your own as part of your review. I will be happy to answer any questions at the beginning of this shiur.
Because of a technical glitch related to connectivity problems with Webex, we lost some of the time of the shiur and we did not get to read the important Tosafot on the latter issue mentioned above. So we will begin this shiur with that Tosafot.
In this shiur, after we learn the Tosafot we will continue in the gemara to learn another beraita and amoraic explanations having to do with the mitzvah of shofar and its connection to the essence of Rosh Hashana. Time allowing, we will also learn the well-known meimra (on Daf 16b) about the three books that are open on Rosh Hashana.
September 11, 2012 6:00AM - 7:00AM Daf 16a: How Often Are We Judged? Different Tanaitic Positions
In the previous shiur, we finished the gemara on Daf 18a, which explains the words of the mishna regarding the scope of the judgment of Rosh Hashana. After that we began the gemara on Daf 16a, which discussed how many judgment times there are for grain crops and attempted to relate events in our lives to specific judgment days. This took us up to the 11th line of gemara on the page. We also read the words of the Ran ( ר"ן) explaining the relationship between the universal occasions of judgment and the individual judgment of Rosh Hashana. (I am posting the page with the Ran here for you to review.) Please review this material and see if you can read it inside the gemara text by yourself. I am happy to answer any questions you may have at the beginning of this shiur, or if you prefer you can write me an email.
In this shiur, we will learn the next segment of gemara, which brings the full range of Tannaitic positions on when and how often we are judged by G-d (the Mishna we have learned is not the only opinion..). The gemara seeks to know the ramifications of these different positions, and we will learn an interesting explanation of Tosefot on this question that is found on the page.
September 6, 2012 6:00AM - 7:00AM Daf 18a, 16a: The Mechanics of Divine Judgment; Universal vs. Individual Judgment
In the previous shiur, we learned and discussed the first two mishnayot of Masechet Rosh Hashana, then we discussed the overall contents of the Masechet and how they relate to these two mishnayot. Following that, we learned the portion of the gemara (on Daf 18a) that brings the different explanations of the term “בני מרון” used in the second mishna (which is from now our focus), with the help of Rashi’s commentary. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about all of the above at the beginning of this shiur, or offline by email. (My email address is email@example.com .)
In this shiur, we will finish the final lines of gemara on Daf 18a that explain the statement in the mishna about the judgment of Rosh Hashana. We will then move back to Daf 16a and begin learning the gemara’s sugya on this entire mishna (משנה ב'). The first segment of gemara is an attempt to clarify the nature and mechanics of the judgment that, according to the mishna, takes place on Pesach and the other holidays. We will then learn the words of the ר"ן , where he explains his view of the relationship and interaction between the judgments of the three holidays and the individual judgment of Rosh Hashana.
September 4, 2012 6:00AM - 7:00AM Masechet Rosh Hashana, Daf 16a,18a: Rosh Hashana: one of the annual days of judgement
Shalom and welcome to our gemara shiur "Reading the Rabbinic MInd: How to Understand Gemara".
To both new and returning students, I look forward to meeting you online and learning together in this Elul zman.
In these shiurim, we will be encountering a number of very important primary sources--Tanaitic beraitot, as well as Amoraic meimrot--about the nature and implications for us of the Divine judgement on Rosh Hashana. Because of the type of material found in these pages of gemara (pages 16a-18a), as well as the very limited time we have together to learn it (we have only 6 shiurim in this zman), you will find here somewhat atypical gemara sugyot, which do not follow so much the usual pattern of halachic argumentation. Nonetheless, we will need to marshal many of our gemara reading skills to make sense of the presentation and juxtaposition of different ideas as they are brought in these pages. So get ready for a ride!
For your convenience I have attached here on the shiur page the mishna and gemara sources that we will be learning in these shiurim.
Looking forward to our first meeting on September 4!