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Talmud Learning Talmud Learning

Give me Chavruta or give me death!!!

    What is the Talmud?
    Talmud is a Hebrew word that means learning. The Talmud is the most important work of learning in Judaism. It is a collection of the Torah she-Ba-al Peh, the Oral Law, that was given to Moshe at Sinai together with the Written Law. The Talmud was passed down in an unbroken chain of oral tradition for generations until it was written down around 500 CE. The Talmud is also known as the Gemara, an Aramaic word that means completion or tradition.
    The Talmud is difficult to learn for a number reasons.
  • Firstly, one must learn to navigate a page of Talmud. Each page contains the text in the middle together with major commentaries and navigation aids along the both sides.
    Click here for our assignment that teaches you how to navigate a page of Talmud.
    Click here for the answers to this assignment.
  • Secondly, the Talmud is organized differently than other reference works. It is a collection of the disputes in the Jewish houses of learning arranged around specific topics but often jumping to other topics as well. Thirdly, the language is difficult. It is written in a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic without any punctuation.
    Click here for essays by the students that explain how to learn Talmud.
  • Our students concluded that to learn Talmud one must first figure out the correct punctuation. One way to do this is by dividing the Gemara into separate lines with the correct punctuation. Each line can be either a statement, proof, information question, answer to an information question, attacking question, or answer to an attacking question. A great way to divide the Gemara is by highlighting each line with a different color that indicates its punctuation.
    Click here for an example of a highlighted page of Talmud.
  • Our students have worked on 7 different pages. Each group divided the text into punctuated lines, defined important vocabulary and syntax words, and translated the passages.
    Click here for Talmud pages explained by our students.
  • Our students also prepared crossword puzzles and matching word games to help memorize the important vocabulary and syntax words that appear often in the Talmud.
    Click here for these vocabulary and syntax games.
  • Finally, we prepared a web quest that illustrates many of ways one can research Talmudic topics using the web.
    Click here for this web quest.
    Click here for the answers to this web quest.

If you have trouble reading Hebrew please note: The Hebrew on these web pages are ONLY for Internet explorer 5 and above. Click here to download the latest version of Internet Explorer
If you have trouble reading the web page: try turning OFF auto-select under Encoding and reloading the page. If that doesn't work, keep auto-select OFF and change the encoding to Hebrew (Windows). Look under MORE if there isn't such a choice. (Encoding is under "View" on the top menu bar.) If you don't have any hebrew choices and you try to read the page, you should be prompted to install/download the necessary IE hebrew module. If you have ie5 and not 5.5 you might need to install 5.5 to get the hebrew module. If you are not prompted, re-run the ie5 setup and check off Hebrew for installation.


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How To Navigate A Page of Talmud

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How To Learn A Page of Gemara

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Pages of Talmud Explained

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Test Your Knowledge of the Vocabulary and Syntax of the Talmud

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How to Research a topic from Talmud on the Web

Links to Talmud Sites and Other Jewish Sites

Contact Us


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Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky's 9T2 Talmud Class
The Frisch School
120 West Century Road
Paramus, NJ 07652
(201) 267-9100
[email protected]

Copyright 2001, Rabbi Pittinsky's 9T2 Class
Revised--February 7, 2010
URL: http://www.geocities.ws/pittinsky/ 1