Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Please Submit Your 5 Most Geschmack Sugyas in the Talmud

Ok, here's a twist. Lately, I've been inspired by a few of the jblogs out there, especially OnTheMainLine, Chardal and yes Happy , as well as some of Mis-nagid's and B Spinoza's comments (and, yes, even Gil, but not DovBear) to go back to some kind of regular learning.

I think all the blogging awakened that dialectic Jewish gene in me. I have also been exposed to how interesting some learning came be, in terms of the philosophical debates that ensue when you're "learning" with the right person. At the same time, I get tired of debating "theory" or "theology."

I also had a very interesting session of learning with a non-kiruv (as far as I know) Rabbi who is amazingly well-versed and yet at ease with a skeptical yet beginner level learner such as I.

We've gone through some great discussions about sugyas in Brachos. I want to take advantage of all of you in the Jblogosphere to point me in the direction of 5 of the most Geschmack Sugyas you can think of that you've learned and learned again.

I know, the purists will say, unlike Steinsaltz, there's no such thing as the "essential Talmud" it's ALL essential, and therefore, citing "favorites" misses the point. However, please indulge me. I expect that a compilation of great sugyas will inspire me to keep at it and will build a foundation in classic talmudic debates as well.

So, here goes format-wise:

1. Just list 1,2,3,4,5 with cites.
2. if you have more time, then please tell me why you like it so much.
3. I'm not looking for legal fundamentals, but rather the more philosophically relevant sugyas if that makes sense. It doesn't have to be aggada, naturally. The point is, don't assume that I'm unfamiliar with classic halachic passages and need to get "the basics" first. Rather, just tell me what you enjoy most and if it's halachic and basic, that's just fine.
4. If you believe in shar, then you will get a lot, as I intend, b'lie neder, to learn all of the sugyas submitted to me "inside." No promise of tosofos, akiva eiger, R Yonah, etc, but you can certainly take me through how commentaries play a role in what you like.

I actually asked Godol Hador to tell us BT's why learning was indispensable for him (he had said so in his "parting post" (there've been so many since then). But alas, he never got back to me.

Looking forward to hearing from you all.


Anonymous Holy Hyrax said...

Haha. It seems you've accidentally left out the part of being inspired by me.

11/29/2005 5:16 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Guilt by association!

11/29/2005 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sanhedrin 72

11/29/2005 5:52 PM  
Blogger Fascinated said...

third perek of shavuos is a nice perek.

the concept that a lender can take land from people who bought from his borrower is interesting, the gemarahs about this are all over, at the end of bava basra is the machlokes wether it's min hatorah or not, you can try that as a springboard to see the other gemarahs. (don't attempt this choice if you're inexperienced)

bava basra 123 amud bes about the limitations on the extra chelek a bechor gets. when doing it, here's a question to keep in mind, at what point does the bechor own the yerusha, who owns it before that point

the second perek of kiddushin is good for those who have an interest in some basic knowledge about shlichus, i wouldn't reccomend learning it just for the geshmak, although I wouldn't suggest learning anything just for the geshmak.

If you have to have geshmak try openning up a shov shmaitsa and make sure to look up everything he quotes.

ein adam lomed elah mah shelibo chaphets

11/29/2005 5:53 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Chardal: ick.

...and though I don't mind the comment spam, why not include me among all the other bloggers in the post you whored?

11/29/2005 5:57 PM  
Blogger Fascinated said...

sorry about that i just read a little more of your post. i don't know what your looking for so i guess i cant help you.

11/29/2005 5:58 PM  
Blogger Fascinated said...

I'm not looking for legal fundamentals, but rather the more philosophically relevant sugyas if that makes sense. It doesn't have to be aggada, naturally.

no it doesn't make sense to me from where i come from. what's philosophically relevant supposed to be? the only thing i can guess you mean is that you want to ask why a lot while learning, ex: why did the rabbis prohibit this why did hashem command this. that isn't what i'd call a recipe for succes

11/29/2005 6:07 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

Every single one about Elisha ben Avuyah. :-) Do you need cites?

11/29/2005 7:34 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"and though I don't mind the comment spam,"

You don't seem to- you do it regularly.

"why not include me among all the other bloggers in the post you whored?"

Because I really don't read your blog that much and it wouldn't be true to say you inspired me to learn gemara whatsoever.

Also, you could have deleted the post, that's up to you. And calling me a whore is funny coming from someone who had a link Entitled "Google."

Lighten up, I hope your blog isn't your life.

11/29/2005 8:00 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"although I wouldn't suggest learning anything just for the geshmak."

I know you wouldn't suggest that, but the suggestions you gave were good. I've actually learned a bit of the sugya you mentioned about taking land from a subsequent purchasor of a debtor. It's got some parallels in modern day bankruptcy law. I didn't check it out in depth, but I can see why it's interesting.

Let's just say you have a totally different perspective than I on learning in general, but I appreciate the input very much. I will learn the Shavuous 3 perek.

11/29/2005 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am currently 3/4 of the way through a fabulous book that studies 6 (is that too many?) BT sugyot called "Talmudic Stories" with subheading "Narrative Art, Composition and Culture" by Jeffrey L. Rubenstein and published by The John Hopkins University Press.

The author examines each sugya in depth - and the results will astound you. Stories with which I have been familiar with for years have been opened up to me in new and unexpected ways.

You can read the book or just learn the sugyot.

The 6 aggadic stories examined are:
* The oven of Achnai - Baba Metziah 59a-59b
* Elisha Ben Abuya - Chagiga 15a-15b
* R' Shimon Bar Yochai and the cave - Shabbat 33b-34a
* Kamtza and Bar Kamtza - Gittin 55b-56b
* Despoing Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel - Horayot 13b-14a
* Moshiach & the Nations - Avoda Zara 2a-3a.

Otherwise every daf is just a treat.

T Sterling, Sydney

11/29/2005 9:32 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"Every single one about Elisha ben Avuyah. :-) Do you need cites?"

it looks like I have one cite thanks to T Sterling... but the rest would be interesting to see. I'll have to learn those alone, I suppose! Thanks.

11/29/2005 10:09 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

First of all, my last comment for the previous post must of been the dam breaker (you know, the one where i mention the sugya in eruvin regarding gamma, horizons and astology/astronomy)

As far as my favorites,
I have only recently learned on a regular basis. The person who is my rebbe, always says, if you want to learn anything interesting, learn mishnayos.

Anyway, I can tell you that what Ive learned has been very interesting, not involving philosophy though.

1. Seder Taharos specifically Mishnayos Taharos. - The people of the temple era were obsessed with taharos, and there may be over 1,000 rules to taharos. Each one makes perfect sense in the ordered system of taharos. Nearly every other blatt in shas talks about taharos, but there is no mesechta

2. Perek Rav eliezer D'mila in mesechta shabbos. Amazing machlokes on hechser mitzvah and how far it can go and hidur mitzvah. One rishon held you dont actually have to cut to be yotzei the mitzvah of milah (which begs the kashya, why would you then be allowed to cut on shabbos!)

3. Beitzah around 12-18- each daf is another shas sugya. starting from the mishna about carrying on yomtov through the sugya of toiveling kelim, these blatt cover concepts of eruv tavshilin, hoyil, mitoch, tikkun maneh, borrer, haramahs and knas, not in that order, just classics all around.

Basically, number 3 covers 4 and 5 as well.

For philosophy or maybe its mussar:
the recent daf yomi, eruvin 53 through 55 has a few pages on retaining torah and other relevant advice.

11/29/2005 10:24 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Happy, you definitely influenced this, so I revised the post. Thanks- your response is *exactly* what I was looking for.

11/29/2005 11:30 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Sorry, I can't say I've learned enough to recommend anything... Plus, I learned a diff style when I did - and most of those were legalistic sugyas.

Though as a note, if you are looking for a "geshmak" you may appreciate the style I used to learn...

11/30/2005 10:23 PM  
Blogger Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

You have GOT to learn the sugyah of Yaharog Ve'aal Ya'vor and Kiddush Hashem (Giving up your life reather than transgressing the 3 cardinal sins of Judaiam.)
Its's at the end of Perek Ben Sorer U'Morah (great perek altogether) in Meseches Sanhedrin.
Learn it with any Rishon consistently throughout, then learn it again with a different Rishon for contrast.
You've got a Shmorgass board of Rishonim to choose from on that Sugyah- each one has their own controversial twist on one point or another.
You have Rashi (if you really take your time, he is also revolutionary here)
Yad Ramah
The Ramban in the Milchamos on the Rif in the back of the sefer
The Ba'al Hamaor same place as Michamos and they flame eachother mercilessly.
And then if you live that long... The Rambam with the first Rav Chaim "in sefer".
Good Luck!
By the way, this sugyah is also my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th favorite.

12/01/2005 6:09 PM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

I will answer when I get the chance.

For now, R. Eliezer de-milah mentioned above is a favorite of mine as well.

12/01/2005 6:52 PM  
Blogger Mobius said...

Midrash Rabba 24:6-7
Bava Batra 12a-b
Bava Metzia 59b
Kelim 12:2
Megillah Yud Daled

12/01/2005 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Biotorah said...

HaRoeh - the whole last perek of Berachot deals with dream interpetation, when to say shechianu, and other blessing of great events.

Seder Tahorot was mentioned, I'm in the middle of Kelim at the moment, hopefully it will have a purifying affect.

Also I know its obvious, but the first perek of brachos which has some of its own highlights; including;

-It's OK to be flexible with truth for a good cause. (Moshe's description of when Bnie Yisrael will be redeemed)

-What sort of Torah learning requires a blessing over it. Esentially what qualifies as Torah?

-It's not praiseworthy to try and go by all opinions, if it has been decided one way or the other.

-How angels and Markov chains go together. (Michael travels via 1 state, while Gavriel travels via 2)

-Tosphos on what Bilam exactly said to curse Bnie Yisrael, and how it was 'turned around'.

-Can G-d take on an angelic form. Something apears to the Kohen Gadol in the Kodesh ha Kodeshim, described as an angel, but angels are not allowed into the Kodesh HaKedoshim - so what's up. (Actually if anybody has anything readable on this I'd be interested.)

-OH and of course - when to get up in the morning ;)

I think I'm going to look at Perek Ben Sorer U'Morah metioned above. Thanks for that.

12/05/2005 2:01 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

Thanks- great stuff.

12/06/2005 7:42 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Thanks- great stuff.

12/06/2005 7:43 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Keluta K'hunchya Dumya ...Yetzios HaShabbos. It covers time, space, motion, and psychology in one fell swoop.

12/08/2005 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perek HaKones. The Lomdus not so heavy, the Sugyos move along at a good clip, and you can know this Perek B'Iyun within not too long.(Only 7 blatt long).

It is not difficult to get to the crux of the Sugyos, and they have bearing on many other places. I teach an 11th grade Shiur Biyun, and I have taught this Perek for 3 years straight because it lends itself to beginner/intermediate Lomdus so well.

Perek Arvei Pesachim, the halachos of Kiddush and the Seder. Very Kedai with RYBS' Torah.

Perek Ben Sorer U'Moreh. Yum.

12/11/2005 9:44 PM  

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