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Did Someone from Artscroll Study at the Conservative Yeshiva?

There are a number of additional posts about the upcoming Artscroll Talmud app. Rabbi Jason Miller gives some more info on the programming behind the app, and Shai Secunda writes about an opportunity that may be missed.

One thing that did catch my eye was the “color-coding” option. This is described at 4:30-4:55 in the video above, although I don’t agree that it is only for beginning students or parents helping their children with their homework. What struck me about this new feature is that this is exactly how students how students have been learning at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem for over fifteen years. The following is from a shirt that the Yeshiva printed some years ago (the text is Purim Talmud).

Yeshirt1

Yeshirt2

This approach can also be found in Arran Moshe Cohen’s book Untangling the Knot: A Guide to Learning Gemara. I’m happy to see that Artscroll has realized the importance of having learners of Gemara identify the different layers and sources found in the Gemara and that visual aids have an important role in this process.

13 Responses to “Did Someone from Artscroll Study at the Conservative Yeshiva?”

  1. 1
    Moshe Katz:

    There is also a Rebbi in T.A. of Baltimore that uses this method.

  2. 2
    Abacaxi Mamao:

    I learned to color code with highlighters when I started learning gemara in the 7th grade. That was in 1991. So, 21 years ago. The Conservative Yeshiva didn’t invent the method! I don’t think it was even revolutionary in 1991, although I couldn’t say for sure.

  3. 3
    Ben:

    Yeah, sorry, I don’t think they invented the approach.
    I was taught not to write in my gemara, rather I should take notes on a separate page so as to enhance my ability to do chazara uninhibited. Most people I was with in yeshiva used their pens or pencils to mark off when a braisa or mishnah or quote began and ended. Also the problem with highlighting (or marking in general) is that it limits your ability to read the gemara a different way. What if Rashi and Tosafos read it differently and ended the statement later than the other. Artscroll goes with Rashi, but your own learning is more sophisticated (I hope).

  4. 4
    Menachem Mendel:

    It’s nice to hear that other places have been using different colors, etc., to enhance learning.

    Ben, I don’t think that there are that many disagreements about where a baraita begins or ends, although it does happen sometimes. I limit my highlighting to “tanya” or “teno rabbanan,” and mark off the baraita with pencil. With meimrot, I also only highlight the beginning, “Rabbi X amar,” b/c sometimes it is unclear about where a meimra begins and ends.

  5. 5
    Moshe Katz:

    Artscroll was not claiming that they invented this method. They are just adding it in as an option for anyone who would like to use it. Furthermore, it will not inhibit your chazara because you could just turn it off.

  6. 6
    Menachem Mendel:

    I like the color-coded method for hazara. I enjoy being able to look at a page and to immediately see where there are baraitot and meimrot, getting an idea of what is happening on the daf.

  7. 7
    Maggie Anton:

    I was taught to do color coding by Rabbi Benay Lappe when she taught Talmud at our Los Angeles reform shul in 2000. Also, my son is now studying at Shappell’s in Jerusalem [definitely not a Conservative yeshiva] and he color-codes as well, albeit with color pencils that can be erased if necessary.

  8. 8
    Abul Bannat:

    Only Artscroll would use music written by a prominent Nazi (Richard Strauss) dramatizing a book written about a pagan Persian (Zarathustra) to promote its new edition of the Talmud.

  9. 9
    Moshe Katz:

    That music has become so famous, I don’t think anyone besides yourself even realizes where it originally came from. There is nothing wrong with taking non-jewish music and using it. We do it all the time. One of the tunes that people use for Maos Tzur was taken from the church. Additionally, just because the music was originally composed by a Nazi doesn’t mean that people connect it to antisemitism, because that music has become so famous, I don’t think anyone besides yourself even realizes where it originally came from.

  10. 10
    Abul Bannat:

    To Moshe – First of all, the comment was directed at Artscroll’s use of the music. Secondly, I am hardly unique in identifying Richard Strauss with the Third Reich (although that relationship was contemplated and is still controversial – in fact, he is credited with having saved several Jews). However, until very recently, Richard Strauss’s music was banned in Israel along with Wagner. Jascha Heifetz was famously attacked by a holocaust survivor and never returned to Israel after playing a Strauss violin sonata despite the ban.
    Personally, I’m against banning Strauss or any other music; but the irony of the ad shouldn’t be overlooked.

  11. 11
    YEED:

    “That music has become so famous, I don’t think anyone besides yourself even realizes where it originally came from.”

    Not true at all. You are projecting your own ignorance onto others. The day that app came out, I got an email from someone commenting on Artscroll’s use of Strauss.

    Personally, the music doesnt bother me as much as the typical Artscroll gaivah does. It continuously bills itself as having created a revolutionary project, when the Soncino transalation was around for more than half a century before it. Just because the typical Artscroll user is not educated enough to understand the better English used in Soncino, does not mean Artscroll’s version was the first. It was the first to require 73 volumes though, I’ll give you that.
    Oh well. I guess you can sell any nonsense to some segments of society, and they’ll just lap it up. Artscroll’s making a mint off the naivete of its users. Kudos to them for seeing a good businss opportunity and running with it.

  12. 12
    Josh:

    Fond memories of making that shirt. Thanks Mike!

  13. 13
    Moshe Katz:

    To Yeed- I understand that there are a few people who know the original source of the music, however a lot of the people who this app video was meant for did not even know the music, and for those that did know the music, it was not from Strauss, but rather from one of the famous uses of this piece. This music has been used throughout the last half a century to represent something innovative and revolutionary.
    “It continuously bills itself as having created a revolutionary project, when the Soncino transalation was around for more than half a century before it. Just because the typical Artscroll user is not educated enough to understand the better English used in Soncino, does not mean Artscroll’s version was the first.”
    But it does mean that it was the first translation which the public could really use, and what good is the Soncino, if it was written in a way that was hard to for the average guy to understand. Additionally, the Artscroll setup and additional words of explanation make their Gemara so much easier to use, so I think they do have bragging rights.

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