Monday, April 19, 2004

We were back in classes today, and it felt good to be studying again. I don't like studying by myself; sometimes it's necessary but it lacks the pleasures of sitting in a group or a pair, struggling over a text.

I cannot believe there are only 2 weeks of the term left; I feel like I've just begun to dig into the meat of these courses, especially the text courses, Bible, Midrash, and Commentaries.

In Bible, we learn to see beautiful subtleties in texts we thought we knew. In Midrash, I occasionally recognize something I've seen referenced elsewhere, but mostly it's completely fresh, and a little like reading science fiction: the minds and worlds of the rabbis are so removed from ours that it is easy to get lost. The amazing thing is that so much of what they discern in the texts is bright and beautiful and useful today.

And in Commentaries -- there I am such a beginner that half the time I'm not sure what's going on. I can read Rashi now, but making sense of Rashi will take a lifetime. Ramban I find more difficult, but interesting, and tonight my study partner and I read a little Ibn Ezra too -- I understood even less of it, but even his descriptions of grammar are redolent with rich images. Even when I don't understand, I feel like learning is seeping in around the edges of my mind.

No comments: