Monday, June 25, 2007

Learning New things vs. Chazara

(Bostoner Rebbe Shlit"a of RBSA)

I have heard it often said in the name of the Gaon of Vilna that a kinyan or acquisition of knowledge in one single volume of Talmud or Mesechta is more important than a large breadth of knowledge we call Bekiyus. This implies that Chazara or review is of paramount importance.

I have seen in the name of Rav Arele Roth Z"TL the founder of Shomer Emunim and whose son-in-law was to found the Toldos Aharon Chassidic movements that he for example would commend constant review of Brachos, calling it the Olam HaBa Mesechta, a tractae through which one can merit the coming world.

I heard the following Mashal or parable from a Bostoner Chassid in the name of the Bostoner Rebbe of Bet Shemesh Shlit"a:

There were once two gold prospectors who came to dig for gold. They dug on opposite sides of the mountain.

One was very quick and he was telling the others to dig here and , while the cries of joy and delight could be heard from over the mountain.

The other was very exacting and careful. He cautiously measured and studied the terrain and made careful calculations as to where to dig. All this took some time during which the constant shouts of joy at success were heard from over the mountain, disheartening the men. The prospector finally decided on the correct spot and gave the order to drill and dig.

This continued for some time over the course in which the continuous successes over the mountain were heard while the men on this side kept drilling and digging without any measure of success. Nonetheless the prospector was adamant "Keep drilling", was the order.

Finally after much effort, hard work and exertion when they final hit the "motherload" they discovered that they were much richer and had uncovered a much greater treasure than their fellow men over the mountain with their small constant successes.

The parable is: While Bekiyus study here and there is immediately rewarding, you keep up interest, you learn a good vort here and a nice pshetel there. While constant review of one Mesechta can seem arduious hard and tiring. However if you keep at it eventually you will strike the motherload.


Rabbi Ari Enkin said...

Hi Tal!

I didnt know you had a blog. I like it.

I disagree on this one. In fact it goes against a Gemara - Horayot 14.

Bkius is number #1.

Ari Enkin

TZ said...

Thanks R' Ari, You are 100% correct the Gemara concludes that when it comes to Sinai versus Oker Harim, Sinai Adif = Rashi:Sinai one whose understanding of Mishna and Beraisa is ordered and clear as given from Mt Sinai versus Oker Harim one who has greater powers in using logic, proofs.

However I would argue that the average Bekiyus (at least what I know the parable was said in referernce to ) is as I said a good vort here and a nice pshetel there, one who learns a mishna from one tractate and a halacha from one book, a vort on the parsha from another never completing anything.

It is invaluable to have mishna sedura first in one mesechta, then in one seder then in shas, that is how we learn to understand, for the average learner this requires review, remember that in the Talmud times standard review was by heart and even up to 100 times before moving on, if you call that Bekiyus I am with you all the way!


Avraham said...

I don't know anyone who would call "learning a good wort here and a nice pshetel there" Bikius learning. Everyone refers to Bikius as learning in an orderly fashion to cover ground.
Also, the Gemarh in Shabbos very clearly says that one should first learn "Girsah" (ie Bikius) and only then go into depth.

TZ said...

Thanks for the comment. Maybe I shouldnt have called that type of learning Bekiyus then its my mistake.

I agree with you, I am not espousing Iyun vs. Bekiyus, I am espousing Bekiyus through Chazara rather than plowing on ahead and learning new things without review. The mashal is meant to teach those that go at breakneck speed never looking back to retrace their steps. Chazara is more important than going ahead, that is in my opinion true Bekiyus. One has learned through 5 Mesechtas once each versus someone who has leanred the same Mesechta 5 times through etc. Dont forget that in the Talmud's time everything was review by hear at least one hundred times.

TZ said...

See also Talmud Avoda Zara 19a Amar Rava - Rava said one should always study Torah first and only afterwards Yehege delve into it.
Torah study - is explained by Rashi to mean: From his Rebbe so that the Talmud's language and explanation will be well known to him
Yehege - is explained by Rashi to mean: to compare one thing to another and to ask and answer. (In Brachos 63b Rashi calls this Iyun)
Rashi then adds:
At first he should not do so (learn yehege) perhaps he will be mevatel, and there may be no Rav to learn from, also when one reviews and learns alot he becomes a better learner and things make more sense to him and he can answer his own questions. This is the meaning of Talmud Brachos 63b Haskes U'Shema, first Has then Kases, first learn then digest it later.