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Habits of Mind for Gemara By Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky

All 4 years of the curriculum will focus on the habits of Thinking Interdependently and Listening with Understanding and Empathy since these habits are indispensable for all Chavruta Learning. Goals Skills Habits of Mind Resources 1. Identifying the different sections in the 1. Persisting: Working through a new Gemara, 9th Grade: To make a laining on a new Gemara: Questions, Answers, Proofs, Gemara with the help of Rashi, piece of Gemara. Problems, Solutions. One can use a dictionaries, student feedback, and Practical system of shapes and colors to do this like cues by the teacher with the intent Talmud One very useful the one in Gemara Berura. of mastering the text. Developing a Dictionary technology assisted 2. Using the Practical Talmud Dictionary or strategy to go through the Gemara by Rabbi learning methodology Gemara Berura to find commonly used and decoding the text without Frank, to help the student vocabulary words in the Gemara. giving up. Talmud accomplish this goal is 3. Unlocking key syntax phrases that shed Dictionary 2. Applying past Knowledge to New Gemara Berura. light on the proper punctuation of each Situations: Using prior knowledge by Dr. Questions one would ask line. (Using Gemara Berura or the of vocabulary, syntax, and sentence Marcus What does the Practical Talmud Dictionary.) structure to master the decoding of Jastrow, Gemara say? 4. Using the Jastrow Dictionary to find the Gemara. Gemara Explain the Shakla uncommon words in the Gemara. 3. Striving for Accuracy: Constantly Berura Vetarya of this 5. Identifying the different parts of the checking your work to make sure Gemara. Talmud page: When to use Rashi, Tosfot, the Gemara that you have decoded Where is the right Rabbenu Chananel, Rabbenu Gershom, makes sense. Rechecking your place to start and Mesorat Hashas, Hagahot Habach, Torah work against the work of other stop each line? Or, Ein Mishpat Ner Mitzva. students in the class and making What is the correct 6. Identifying the major components of corrections based on the feedback punctuation for each Gemara: Mishna, Braita, Tosefta, Memra from the class and the teacher. line? etc. How does each line connect with what came before? All 4 years of the curriculum will focus on the habits of Thinking Interdependently and Listening with Understanding and Empathy since these habits are indispensable for all Chavruta Learning. Tzvi Pittinsky: Pittinsky@msn.com 12/14/2004 Page 1

Habits of Mind for Gemara By Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky


Goals 10th Grade: To discover the underlying connection between the different parts of the Gemara. Questions one would ask What assumptions is this Gemara based on? Why? What evidence does this Gemara have for its assertions? How do you know its true? What are the different layers embedded within this Gemara? (Tanaim, early Amoraim, Late Amoraim, Stam Gemara) How do these different layers connect to each other? What is the final conclusion of the Gemara? Why? Skills 1. Asking critical questions. 2. Working through the Gemara a second time and being with a cognizant of the different layers embedded within the text. 3. Mapping out the Shakla Vetarya and looking for the major connections between the lines. Gemara Berura can be a great help in giving a birds eye view of the entire Sugiya through the flowcharts so that students can see the connections between the different parts of the discussion.. Habits of Mind 1. Questioning and Posing Problems: Asking the basic questions about the structure of the Gemara. Some examples of these questions are: Why does the Gemara think that the Mishna is Peshita? How does the Pasuk prove the statement? What are the benefits of the first answer cited in the Gemara and what are the benefits of the second answer? 2. Metacognition: Thinking about the strategies you employed to decode the Gemara. Thinking about the strategies the Gemara used in structuring its debates. How does the Gemara get from the first line to the second line? What thought processes did the Gemara go through to reach its conclusions? Resources Gemara, Rashi, Practical Talmud Dictionary by Rabbi Frank, Talmud Dictionary by Dr. Marcus Jastrow, Gemara Berura, Some Tosfot, Meiri

Tzvi Pittinsky: Pittinsky@msn.com 12/14/2004

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Habits of Mind for Gemara By Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky


All 4 years of the curriculum will focus on the habits of Thinking Interdependently and Listening with Understanding and Empathy since these habits are indispensable for all Chavruta Learning. Goals Skills Habits of Mind Resources Gemara, 1. Posing difficult questions about the 11th Grade: 1. Thinking and communicating Rashi, To develop a Sevara to explain the thought processes in the Gemara and with clarity and precision: Practical Talmud Nekudat HaMachloket in the Gemara. Rishonim. Clearly formulating each Dictionary by 2. Carefully formulating each opinion opinion in the Gemara and Questions one would ask Rabbi Frank, found in the Gemara and Rishonim. Rishonim so that one can start to What is the point of argument Talmud 3. Trying to see different perspectives contemplate the Sevara behind between the 2 opinions in the Dictionary by Dr. on the same halachic issue. their opinions. Gemara? Marcus Jastrow, 2. Thinking Flexibly: The ability How does Tosfot argue on Gemara Berura, to defend the logic behind one Rashi and how would Rashi Amora in an argument and then Tosfot, defend himself? Meiri, Rashba, to go back and defend the logic What is the Nafka Minah Ritva, Ran behind the opposing Amora in Lehalacha between the the argument. The ability to see different opinions of the the entire Gemara through the Tanaim, Amoraim, and prism of one Rishons Rishonim? interpretation and then to go How does the Machloket back and see the entire Gemara reflect 2 different ways to view through the prism of another the issue such as: Chefsa vs. Rishons interpretation. Gavra, Maaseh hamitzva vs. 3. Creating, Imagining, Kiyum Hamitzva, and Maaseh Innovating: Trying to develop a vs. Totzaah. chiddush that will explain the Nekudat haMachloket between the Tannaim, Amoraim or Rishonim.

Tzvi Pittinsky: Pittinsky@msn.com 12/14/2004

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Habits of Mind for Gemara By Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky


All 4 years of the curriculum will focus on the habits of Thinking Interdependently and Listening with Understanding and Empathy since these habits are indispensable for all Chavruta Learning. Goals Skills Habits of Mind Resources Gemara, 1. The ability to summarize the main 1. Being open to 12th Grade: Rashi, points in each Gemara and Rishon. 1. To relate each Gemara to other parallel Continuous learning: Practical Constantly seeking to 2. Comparing and contrasting different Gemaras throughout Shas. Talmud know new information Gemaras in order to reach a greater Questions one would ask about a topic through Dictionary by conception of the Emet. How is this same topic presented Rabbi Frank, looking at parallel Sugyot 3. Using the Mesorat Hashas as a differently elsewhere in Shas? Talmud in Shas and tracing the navigational tool to discover parallel Is this a Machloket Hasugyot or is development of the Dictionary by sugyot throughout Shas. there a unifying strand that runs Halacha from the Talmudic Dr. Marcus 4. Using the Ain Mishpat Ner Mitzvah throughout the different sugyot? times to the modern day. Jastrow, as a navigational tool to discover How do the major Rishonim like where this Gemara is cited by the Gemara 2. Applying past knowledge Rashi and Tosfot deal with the Berura, halachic codes. to new situations: same topic in different Gemaras? Tosfot, 5. Using the Bar Ilan Responsa Applying past knowledge 2. To discover how this Gemara is brought Meiri, Rashba, Program to find other instances in of the sugya to new down Halacha Lemaaseh. Ritva, Ran, Rabbinic literature where this Gemaras and halachic How do the different opinions Gemara appears. codes that one comes Rambam, Rif, throughout Shas on this topic come Rosh, Tur, Beit 6. Learning how to develop Halacha across. down in the halachic works of the systematically from the Gemara to Yosef, 3. Creating, Imagining, Rambam, Rosh, Tur, and Shulchan Shulchan the Rambam and Rosh, to the Tur Innovating: Developing Arukh? Arukh, Mishna and Beit Yosef, to the Shulchan original halachic works How does the halachic process Berura, Bar Arukh, and to the modern works like based on a thorough work? the Arukh Hashulchan and Mishna Ilan Responsa researching of a topic both How does the opinion we follow Project. Berura. through the parallel sugyot today reflect the chain of mesorah and through the chain of from the Mishnah through the the Mesorah to the modern Gemara, Rishonim, and halachic codes. Acharonim.

Tzvi Pittinsky: Pittinsky@msn.com 12/14/2004

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