Resuming the Study of the Talmud and Starting New Pair Study of Hasidism

Last week I could finally resume my study of the Talmud. It took me about a year and a half to get over one unfortunate emotional barrier that had prevented me from continuing this important traditional Jewish study in the traditional method of khavruse ('pair study').

This time I study the Talmud alone with no study partner. I'm helped by the following resources, which may also help other non-advanced learners who study the Talmud alone (but only after studying how to study it and actually studying it in khavruse for enough period of time): Daf Hachaim; Koren Talmud Bavli.

It was the study of Hasidism that not only filled the void of the study of the Talmud but also convinced me to resume the study of the Talmud itself. Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh writes in one of his books in English to the effect - so this is not a verbatim quote, which I can't locate now - that the study of Hasidism must be complemented by the study of the Talmud.

I feel pages of the Talmud "look" different, though I can't formulate this feeling clearly yet, after the study of Hasidism.


Of all the amazing "chance" encounters I have had so far this one must be one of the most amazing ones. One day before my trip to Japan last month I visited Pomeranz, one of my most favorite bookstores not only in Jerusalem but also in the whole world, and got acquainted with another customer. As we talked, we discovered that we seemed to have undergone parallel, if not identical, life experiences and come to the same faith and confidence as well as the same interest in Hasidism. So we said goodby to each other by agreeing to start khavruse ('pair study') of Hasidism after my return from Japan.

We met yesterday for the first time after my return to Jerusalem and spent four hours talking about various subjects, including Hasidism, feeling we speak the same language of the soul. This was an amazing feeling as I've come to find less and less people with whom I can share my thoughts and emotions about my growing enthusiasm about my study and experience of Hasidism.

We spent the fifth hour of our first meeting studying the book we had agreed to study together - צוואת הריב"ש (The Testimony of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov) - a collection of sayings by Baal Shem Tov compiled by his successor Dov Ber of Mezeritch (the "Maggid"), which may also interest and enthuse you.

I'm already curious to see how this new khavruse of Hasidism with a like-minded person will contribute to my - and our mutual - spiritual growth.