English, Talk of the Town

Back to School Shenanigans

With the month of November only a couple of days away, the MLB off-season over with a bang, and the first signs of snow falling in the Northeast, the school year here in Israel is just about ready to start. Here in Jerusalem, Hebrew U students will have new opportunities to study with Talmud Blog contributors and friends as The Department expands its teaching base and Rabbinics continues to find more homes in the university.

Last week, a few die-hard Talmudists got together to kick off the school year with a pre-yarhei kallah style gathering at the Nachlaot abode of one blogger/student. Books were discussed, cookies were nibbled, and summer experiences were shared until another blogger/student (granted, much more advanced at both), Pinchas Roth, stepped up to deliver a brief talk. Pinchas discussed two cases of “מקבילות שלא ממש מקבילות,” or “parallels that are not necessarily parallels” in medieval rabbinic literature. An interesting discussion ensued, and it served as a good example (but hopefully not a warning) for the new students in attendance of what their future studies in the Talmud department might look like. Later, as wine bottles were opened and handouts were reunited in a pile on the coffee table, talk turned to the ever growing number of degrees students combine with Talmud, which now include Art, Biology, and Computers. As the night wore on, it became clear to everyone present that notwithstanding Pinchas’ talk, of course nothing could really parallel Talmudic studies. And also, that the time had come for everyone to make their way home to their desks, where late night philological work might continue, uninterrupted.