Want To Understand Gemara? Slow Down!

Here are some excerpts from Daf Yomi Review:

Rav Wasserman taught that the Talmud is designed to be difficult. It’s purposely crafted to be difficult. He said every sugya (discussion) is like a tight knot in a ball of string. When you disentangle that ball of string, you have to go slow. If you’re impatient, you make the knot much worse. You have to pick out each piece, slowly and unravel it and by the time, you’ve decoded the sugya it’s one beautiful straight piece of string. Then you see that it was crafted into the smallest and most compressed and most beautiful space possible (i.e. could not possibly be written with fewer or better words. this applies also to every Rashi, Tosfos, and the like). It takes patience, it takes technique.

When you go through a complex piece of gemora, and you’re a little bit vague on point 1, the rest is an amplification of vagueness, and by the time you get to the end, you don’t know what’s going on. Gemora has a nasty trick, a nasty bite. A bite, of allowing you to get to the end and thinking, more or less you sort of understood, but something is a little bit back. And when you walk out and try to tell your friend about it you realize you didn’t understand anything from the beginning. that’s the way it works. Gemora is built in such a way that unless you have it all, you have nothing.

Read the rest.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.