Binyamin (Bronx, NY, USA)
I began studying the Talmud with R’ Shaul about a year ago. Although many things seemed odd to me at first – the specific structure of the pages, the Aramaic expressions, and the Sages’ ways of reasoning – soon, everything fell into place and became clear. R’ Shaul is an amazing teacher, knowledgeable, patient and, not unimportantly, sharp-minded.
Of course, I have often heard that without the Talmud, the understanding of the written Torah remains flawed and incomplete.But it is a completely different thing to experience it myself. When I just started learning together with R’ Shaul, the wholeness of the Jewish value system and worldview began opening up before me, with its wealth and interconnectedness. Slowly, I gained an understanding of the extent to which all components – Tanach, Halacha (law) and Hashkafa (philosophy) are parts of a whole and living body, and how every element of the system is inseparably connected to the others.
Talmud study can be compared to the complex compilation of a hologram. Probably all of us remember that even the smallest fragment of a hologram contains the whole image of the object, although less concise and devoid of many details. This is the case here as well: Every page learned carries within an imprint of the Whole, an echo of the One and Only – and with every new page, this image becomes clearer, more voluminous, more tangible. It is hard to imagine something more fascinating and stimulating at the same time.
The only thing I regret is that I did not learn about the “Chavrusa online” program and start learning earlier. For it says in Pirkei Avos, “The day is short, there is much work to do, and the Owner is hasting.” There is really much work to do. Incredibly much. But amazingly, with every step one makes, the next step becomes easier and more conscious.
The main thing is – don’t be afraid, try it, and begin!
Binyamin (Evgeniy), USA, Bronx NY