2/12/2006

Lamewood Dvar Torah

Pretty lame D'var Torah on Not The Godol Hador (quoting some Lakewood guy). Not that I haven't heard stuff like this before, but it goes beyond stupid.

First of all, the premise of it is that the mon was designed to teach people how to think, because the only way that it tasted like anything was if you concentrated, is patently ridiculous.
But we grant homilists poetic license. On to the crux of the issue.

If one can gain more knowledge using the same level of effort, there is what to talk about, but more often they are used to gain more knowledge with less effort, which is precisely the opposite of the lesson of the mon.
Let's not talk about the math here. Saying that I can gain more knowledge with the same effort is EXACTLY THE SAME as saying I can get the same knowledge with less effort. It just depends when you stop learning.

But let's put that to the test; should I not use the Bar-Ilan CD because I should be flipping through the Noda B'Yehuda looking for a particular responsum? Should we not use laser printed seforim, or ones that take out abbreviations, because squinting or confusing R' Yosef Karo with the prohibition on seeing chametz on Pesach (same abbreviation) will somehow help the Torah penetrate?
What about using printed seforim at all? Aren't they easier than handwritten manuscripts, which certainly worked well enough for the Rishonim? And why use Rashi? He's a crutch! Figure out the Gemara without him!
Let's not even talk about the Rambam. Especially not the Yad. Especially not what Rambam writes in the Intro to the Yad.

It boils down to this. Real learning is not the absorption of information, but real learning can't take place without it. If you can find a shortcut to absorbing the information, by using mnemonic devices, ArtScroll, coffee, Adderall, cerebral implants, CDs, or whatever - go for it.
Could be that this guy is referring to other 'aids that make learning easier'. But what? Using an actual curriculum instead of just assuming that someone will 'pick it up' at some point between 5th grade and 3rd year beis medrash? Using dictionaries? 'Tools for Tosafos'?

If he means that one should learn the Rishonim inside and try to make sense of them instead of just jumping to the Acharonim, then I agree. The Kehillas Yaakov really does impede the progress of lamdanim by allowing them to think that they understand the sugya when they really just touched the tip of the iceberg, and one understanding from amongst many.
Oyb men tracht nit, a ta'am hot dos nit.
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