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Te Conceptual
Approach to Jewish
Learning
edited by
Yosef Blau
Robert S. Hirt, Series Editor
THE MICHAEL SCHARF PUBLICATION TRUST
of the YESHIVA UNIVERSITY PRESS
NEW YORK
145
7
The Role of Lomdut in
Jewish Education
Jere\ue001y Wie\ue000er
I. Introduction
A di\ue001cu\ue001\ue001ion o\ue000 the role thatlomdut and \ue001pecifcally the \u201cconceptual
approach\u201d (Bri\ue000kerlomdut), \ue000hould play in \ue001ariou\ue000 educational
context\ue001 pre\ue001uppo\ue001e\ue001 a generally \ue000a\ue002orable attitude on \ue001ome le\ue002el
toward\ue001 the enterpri\ue001e it\ue001el\ue000. I\ue000 one i\ue001 oppo\ue001ed to Bri\ue001kerlomdut
under all condition\ue001,\ue000 the di\ue001cu\ue001\ue001ion i\ue001 ob\ue002iou\ue001ly moot. A\ue001 the \ue001cope

and \ue010alidity o\ue00elomdut i\ue00f the topic o\ue00e other \ue00fpeaker\ue00f at thi\ue00f \ue00eorum, thi\ue00f paper take\ue00f a\ue00f it\ue00f premi\ue00fe the po\ue00fition that the conceptual ap- proach ha\ue00f a place and time.

Te di\ue000erence betweenlomdut and an approach which might be defned a\ue00f a care\ue00eul and nuanced analy\ue00fi\ue00f o\ue00e a text require\ue00f ex- plication. A \ue010iable alternati\ue010e tolomdut mu\ue00ft be \ue00fomething more than the mere tran\ue00flation o\ue00e the que\ue00ftion\ue00f and an\ue00fwer\ue00f in the \ue002ow o\ue00e asugya with a minimum o\ue00e explanation. I\ue00e thi\ue00f were the ca\ue00fe, no

one could rea\ue001onably oppo\ue001e the enterpri\ue001e it\ue001el\ue000 or que\ue001tion it\ue001
146
Jeremy Wieder
rele\ue002ance to education. Let u\ue001 a\ue001\ue001ume \ue000or the moment that the alter-
nati\ue002e approach tolomdut i\ue001 one which \ue000ocu\ue001e\ue001 primarily on the text
and that which can be clearly extracted \ue00erom the text. Te Bri\ue00fker
lamdan \ue001eek\ue001 the broader idea\ue001 to be \ue000ound in the topic and a\ue001\ue001ume\ue001
that alternate conceptual model\ue000 \ue000ol\ue001e all problem\ue000, wherea\ue000 the
\ue00ftudent o\ue00e the alternati\ue010e approach re\ue00fort\ue00f to extra-textual ab\ue00ftract
conception\ue00f only when other method\ue00f \ue00eail.\ue005
Te appropriatene\ue001\ue001 o\ue000 the conceptual approach to a particular
context depend\ue00f upon three \ue00eactor\ue00f: Te ability and experience o\ue00e
the \ue003tudent\ue003,\ue000 the goal o\ue002 the \ue003tudy o\ue002 \ue001orah in the gi\ue004en context and
the \ue00fuitability o\ue00e the material \ue00eor conceptual analy\ue00fi\ue00f.
With the con\ue001ideration o\ue000 \u05dd\u05d6\u05e0 \u05d1\u05d4\u05d6 \u05e3\u05d0\u05d1 \u05e8\u05d9\u05d6\u05d7 \u05d4\u05e9\u05d0 \u05d4\u05e4\u05d9 \u05ea\u05e8\u05e1\u05d5 \u05dd\u05e2\u05d8
(Pro\ue010. 11:22) in mind, it \ue00fhould be acknowledged thatlomdut may
be appropriate \ue000or one group but not \ue000or another. Te di\ue001cu\ue001\ue001ion

here will be confned to two di\ue00ftinct arena\ue00f. Te fr\ue00ft i\ue00f the \ue00eormal education o\ue00e \ue00ftudent\ue00f inyeshivot in the junior high \ue00fchool and high \ue00fchool year\ue00f (approximately \ue00erom twel\ue010e to eighteen year\ue00f o\ue00e age).

Among younger \ue000tudent\ue000, with extremely rare exception\ue000, one rarely
fnd\ue00f the ab\ue00ftract thinking nece\ue00f\ue00fary \ue00eor a ba\ue00fic under\ue00ftanding o\ue00e
lomdut. By the end o\ue00e thi\ue00f \ue00ftage, the \ue00ftudent ha\ue00f hope\ue00eully acquired
mo\ue00ft o\ue00e the nece\ue00f\ue00fary knowledge and \ue00fkill\ue00f to apply, with appropri-
ate guidance, whate\ue003er method o\ue001 analy\ue002i\ue002 de\ue002ired.\ue000 Te \ue002econd

arena i\ue00f adult-education, which typically in\ue010ol\ue010e\ue00f an intellectually mature audience, which ha\ue00f not the time or perhap\ue00f the inclination to prepare \ue00eor ashi\u2019ur.

A\ue001 \ue000ar a\ue001 \ue001ubject material, the di\ue001cu\ue001\ue001ion relate\ue001 to the appli-
cation o\ue00e conceptual analy\ue00fi\ue00f to the \ue00ftudy o\ue00e Gemara. Te \ue00ftudy o\ue00e
Mi\ue00fhnah, while theoretically lending it\ue00fel\ue00e to a \ue00fimilar \ue00eorm o\ue00elom-
dut, aim\ue001 primarily at equipping the \ue001tudent\ue001 with a broader ba\ue001e o\ue000
knowledge and the \ue001pending o\ue000 extended period\ue001 o\ue000 time engaged in
lomdut can only undermine that goal.\ue008 Similarly, the \ue00ftudy o\ue00e Hal-
akhah in the \ue00eormal educational context under di\ue00fcu\ue00f\ue00fion aim\ue00f to
impart to the \ue001tudent a large \ue002olume o\ue000 practical in\ue000ormation. Hence,

a \ue00fignifcant amount o\ue00e energy dedicated to conceptual analy\ue00fi\ue00f im- pede\ue00f the nece\ue00f\ue00fary progre\ue00f\ue00f. Finally, it i\ue00f ob\ue010iou\ue00f thatlomdut ha\ue00f little rele\ue010ance to the \ue00ftudy o\ue00e\ue000orah she-Bikhtav, unle\ue00f\ue00f one wi\ue00fhe\ue00f

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