Time flies when you learn Torah. When you are so immersed into a text, into a discussion with your chavruta, you just don't notice how time passes. I had two amazing chavrutas yesterday and today, which has made my Talmud and Chumash class very enjoyable! All of the people at Pardes are Torah people. And it's not the knowledge you have of Torah, that makes you a Torah person, but rather the passion for Torah. Everyone walking into class at Pardes shares this passion. And that's one of the reasons why I feel like I am in the right place for the beginning of my personal journey. One of my colleagues from my cohort said that everyone at Pardes is somewhat of a Torah Nerd, and I agree with her completely!
Yesterday we had our second session about the principles of Informal Education. We talked about group dynamics, using the environment (meaning surroundings) as a means for education, about the importance of engaging the students with the topic and lastly the importance of being a role model as an educator. For every principle Daniel brought a text from traditional Jewish sources and for the last one, the role model, the brought the example of Rav Kahana on page 62a of Tractate Brachot. I will not say what it is exactly, but you are free to check on Sefaria, the most important tool of a nomad Torah mensch.
Yesterday we also had a shiur klali about Machloket matters. Sefi, the presenter, introduced us to the 49-49 method for having a constructive discussion. 49-49 because of a Midrash on Psalms 12 where it said that G-d would tell Moses that for every matter in the Torah there are 49 reasons why it would be permitted and 49 why it would be forbidden. And all of them are true! But what should be the ruling? According to the majority. Constructive debating would thus include listening to the other and being open to admitting that you are wrong, avoiding attacking people or harming relationships, checking on one's own motivation - is the discussion for the sake of heaven or for the sake of power? - and most importantly considering that both might be right, even though opinions differ! That is the secret of 49-49!
Today in our chumash class we covered the relationship between humanity and nature and man and women according to the first two chapters of the Torah. Is it one narrative? Two narratives? One perspective or two? What and who was created first? Vegetation or humanity? What is the commandment that humanity is given? Who is this creature that is called "Adam", who is male and female? So many kushiot! And every commentator has a different approach! And they're all right! 49-49! How amazing and beautiful is that!?
The class before lunch was again Biblical Hebrew Grammar, one of my most favourite classes! We tackled the rules of a dagesh, of the shva, of segollites (yeah, what the heck!). I love technicality and this class is full of it! I love the challenge of understanding a rule through and through until I can say it in my own words! The feeling of discovering all those rules that the Masoretic Masters have established so geniously in the 10th century is as if all the text of the Torah in front of us becomes 3D! Everything has a system and nothing is random! Just wow!