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Monday, October 18, 2010

"Nothing's New..."

In קוהלת Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, King Solomon repeated many times that "nothing's new under the sun," and he was right.  That's one of the reasons I'm getting so much out of my Bible studies.  I'm taking three Bible, Tanach,  courses at Matan.  In one, I'm studying about King david with Dr. Yael Ziegler, the third is Megillat (the Scroll of) Esther with Atara Snowbell and the course I learn with friends during the break in between those two is Al haPerek, an interactive Bible course based on questions sent weekly by the Matan staff.

When my public school alumni friends and I complain that we have no background in the Bible, our Jewish day school peers insist that they, too, learned almost no Bible, so we're all in the same struggling boat. 

The more I ask others about their Bible-learning background the more upset I get.  As little Bible as girls learn, boys learn much less.  In the Israeli yeshiva high school where I taught English, Bible was an "afternoon," secular subject.  It wasn't part of the morning Beit Medrash-Study Hall curriculum.  And in the chareidi schools and yeshivot, there's even less Bible study.  And they generally concentrate more on "medrashim," rather than the actual text.

Jewish nationalism is history-Bible based.  Jews who are familiar with the Bible feel more attached to all the locations here in the Holy Land.  Judaism isn't a religion like any other.  It's not enough to just keep various mitzvot, G-d-given commandments, because there are many are contingent on being in the Land of Israel.  Outside of Israel a Jew is restricted, deprived of the full range of mitzvot.

The Jewish People/Religion/Land are all intertwined in one unique package.  The Holy Bible is the key.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was always amazed at Bible quoting Protestant preachers.

Batya said...

They are very selective, as are all the non-Jews who claim to believe in the Jewish Bible.

David Tzohar said...

Unfortunately I can attest to the fact that most avreichim, even those who are accomplished talmudic scholars are amei ha'aretz when it comes to Tanach. When they come to a biblical passages they have no idea of what the context is/ It is said that "Talmud Bavli hakol ballul bo", the inference being that things like Tanach can be learned by osmosis while learning Gemarra. IMHO it just doesn't work.

Batya said...

David, thanks for your input. I have no doubts that the lack of Tanach knowledge is one of the reasons the "yeshiva crowd," dati of all stripes including chareidi, aren't as pro-Eretz yisrael as they should be.

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
David, Batya, Rav Meir Kahane, ztz"l said the same thing and insisted that Tanach be thoroughly taught at his yeshiva.
Concerning what anonymous wrote, never argue with a missionary if you haven't trained for it first. Missionaries are notorious for memorizing the Bible and leaving avreichim-tongue tied.

Batya said...

Without the Bible and Biblical knowlege we're nothing.