Sunday, November 30, 2008

Learning Skills

Catching up on my blog reading again- I'm home with some sort of nasty virus (How come I keep picking these things up? It must be the change of season.)

Anyway- Tooyoungtoteach has a great post up on learning Torah for girls.
It's actually a very interesting concept.

I'm not referring to girls learning Gemara, or the famous jokes about a certain seminary who seem to want chavrusas, not husbands (they were actually told at my friend from that seminary's wedding- it seems to be public knowledge.)

I'm talking about opening up a Chumash and learning inside. Or a Navi. Or some Kesuvim, or a mussar sefer- excellent from R' Shimshon Pincus- or Sifsei Chaim, Mesilas Yesharim, Chovos HaLevavos, or one of my personal favorites- Sichos Mussar.

What could be wrong with that? Maybe I'm just blessed in my company- but the women I talk to, and speak to- all seem to be well versed in these subjects, and incorporate them into their daily lives.

Mussar comes into play with child-rearing, with Yiras Hashem and Ahavas Hashem- and it comes into play with my daily life as well!

Plus, I may be very zoche- but my husband enjoys talking with me about such things. Thank
G-d, due to my voracious reading as a youngster, I have a very broad base of Tanach, with many midrashim- allowing me to have some points of reference to what he may bring up from Gemara. It's interesting, applicable- and I gain so much from it! (Thanks, Mr.NMF, if you're reading this.)

I was encouraged in seminary to look up things, question, seek answers, and find them, usually in one of the myriad sefarim that we learnt.

And here in Israel, everyone is knowledgable about Torah- from the bus and cab drivers, to the meshulachim, to the average housewife. It's more common, and more in practice to quote a line from the Sichos Mussar to your neighbor about Gaavah, in reference to a communal incident. (Just an example- fictional.)

Torah just spills out from this city- how could it be wrong for a woman or girl to benefit from this?

Please don't start talking about the controversial subjects mentioned above- but I think, personally, that learning Tanach and Mussar for women is an excellent thing, one I try to do as often as I can. Kudos to all those who do.


The Babysitter said...

Truly sounds great!
I looked up to my teachers that were well versed and always had a passuk to say.
Seems like a real warm Jewish world there, where Torah language is the culture.

The Babysitter said...

o, and I always did think it was cute that husbands and wives learned together, it makes great conversation and this way you can be more interested in what your husband's learning, and it bonds the 2 of you, and you both get to grow spiritually together.

nmf #7 said...

Babysitter- totally true.
I think that sharing Torah with your husband makes you closer as a couple as well.
I always appreciate it when he has something to say- and he truly values it when I take the time to look up something interesting to share with him.
As for your first comment- I should state that not everyone spouts words of Torah every second- but it does become part of the culture here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link!

I'm not married, but I hope to have that relationship with my husband...the problem is he'll have to to teach me a bit.

I know the concepts in English, I get them and defend them to the hilt, but I don't have the actual words of the meforash to back me up, and I can't find them, because I have no idea where or how to...pathetic, I know

nmf #7 said...

First of all- kudos on having a broad base in Tanach, even if you can't find where it says it!
Oftentimes, that happens to me- but my husband seems to figure out my reference just fine.

If you'd like to develop an aptitude- sit down with a Hebrew source and the English translation of it. Ex: Sichos Mussar is translated into English, so are most Mefarshim nowadays. Medrashim are compiled by the Medrash Says, as well as being quoted by other Mefarshim.

Another way to do this is what I used to enjoy doing. Go to your local shul/kollel (gasp!) and check out the library when no one is there. Sit down, chill out, and notice that most Mussar sefarim have indexes, most Mefarshim are referenced by Pasuk/Perek, and there are so many excellent English ones.
I used to sit for hours in the kollel where my father learnt- they had a seperate room for the library- and I got to look at, study, or borrow stuff- same happened to me in sem.

Although- thinking about what I'm writing- (sorry so long)- it seems that you would probably know most of this already. I guess the next step would be to have the gumption to do it. Good luck!

Anonymous said..., that's the right word!!!

I don't think I'd be able to do that... :)

Bas~Melech said...

Your post sounds kind of defensive -- Who ever said anything was wrong with girls learning Torah? It's our Torah just as much as the guys'...

(Gemara is a different story; I'm not going there)

nmf #7 said...

Bas~Melech- no one said anything was wrong with it- it was based off of Tooyoungtoteach's post and the comments that ensued-
Totally true- I'm glad to have a chelek in the Torah as well!

But there are some who might say that extensive Torah learning for girls wasn't done in past generations (before Sarah Schneirer and the Bais Yaakov Movement) so why should we know how to read a Ramaban now? (I actually met up with some of those girls who said that in HS.)

And there are those who say we should be learning housekeeping skills instead...

I'm proud to know a bit- and to be able to raise my children, be"H, b'derech HaTorah, and become their first teacher.

nmf #7 said...

That would be Ramban- sorry for sp.