2013-04-12

Byproduct of the study of the Talmud

After one month of intersemestrial vacation we also returned this Wednesday to our regular study of the Talmud at our yeshiva like every other haredi yeshiva in the Jewish world. It is so uplifting to return there, especially after my four-week stay in Japan during this vacation. While in Japan, I felt as if I were living on my internal battery with no power recharger. But once I have returned to the yeshiva, I feel as if I were reconnected to the source of power. Now I feel that my internal battery is fully recharged.

But the influence of the study of the Talmud at the yeshiva seems to go far beyond this. Now I feel on my own flesh so keenly how it sharpens my mind. In this respect the study of the Talmud (at least in a traditional manner at a haredi yeshiva) can be called mental martial arts.

I have studied the Talmud at our amazing yeshiva only for five months so far, but I can already find logical flaws in other people's arguments, whether academic or personal, so easily. As I always liked to argue with others and was confrontational even before starting to study the Talmud at the yeshiva, I find it now more and more difficult with this byproduct of the study of the Talmud to resist the temptation of challenging someone else who makes logically flawed arguments. And it seems so easy to refute someone else who is not trained in the Talmud.

Of course, I do not challenge anyone else in order to refute him or her but only for the truth. But I have to learn to resist this temptation so as not to make unknown enemies of myself unnecessarily. Unfortunately, many people might take purely intellectual challenges as attacks ad hominem.