God vs The Multiverse

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Half Shabbos and the Blogoshiur

The following link is for a 47 minute recording of a shiur by RAZ (click here to listen), about part of our motivation for starting the Blogoshiur.  It also deals with the phenomenon of half-shabbos as part of a greater social issue, as well as a gemara in megila 21a.  While still attempting to provoke thought, the content is of a different nature than the usual material on the blogoshiur.

Click here for a link to a blog post by our friend Agur bin-Yakeh, which summarizes and expands upon the main ideas of the shiur.

We're interested in any thoughts or comments you have regarding any points of this particular shiur, and regarding the Blogoshiur in general.

12 comments:

  1. How does this new mentality differ from moshav leitzim, other than in the possibility of maintaining it more continuously?
    Are the new technologies conducive to depth thinking? For example, the internet has a lot of information but it is oriented towards surface reading.
    In terms of the ability to think alone. As the Rambam points out in the Moreh repeatedly, being alone with ones thoughts is a necessary prerequisite to truly developing knowledge of God, how can technology change this?
    In terms of a Blog, does checking a blog lend itself to a mentality of thinking or a quick perusal? It seems like it sets up for a shallow thinking and understanding.
    Do you think that these technologies can replace the need for a personal relationship with a Rebbi.

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    1. Those are all interesting question and maybe others can share their thoughts on answering them. we would like to address your last 2 questions.

      We think a person would most benefit from the blogoshiur if they dont learn it in a quick perusory manner. Rather, it enables one to get the facts in a few minutes, but carry the problem or svara with them throughout the day, devoting time and deep thought to it, as their schedule allows.

      Finally, we do not think that the blogoshiur can replace the necessary institution of a personal Rebbi.

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  2. Do you think it is possible to learn the derech from a blog?

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    1. we hope that the blogoshiur can help develop a person's ability to learn with the derech. we're not sure, but we think that at least initially, a person might need contact with someone trained in the derech of thought, in order to fully gain from the blogoshiur.

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    2. What is the derech?

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    3. a way of thinking that allows insight into the core concepts of an area

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  3. What are your thoughts on this article in Jewish Action? http://www.ou.org/jewish_action/03/2012/half-shabbos-is-no-shabbos/

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    1. a lot of the article is good. thanks for sending it.

      however the message of the article is essentially negative, as it views the technological advances as something to try to be fended off rather than embraced. we do not believe the internet is intrinsically inimical to deep thinking. in fact, the very idea of blogoshiur is to try to use the internet to help develop a persons capacity to think through problems in a deep, methodical manner.

      we think the article goes astray by believing the problem lies in how we present shabbos to our children. while that may be true, our belief is that the core issue lies in the larger picture which effects jews as well as non-jews who dont have any issues with shabbos

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  4. "we do not believe the internet is intrinsically inimical to deep thinking."
    What is your argument to support this statement? How would you react to the following claim from this summary of the book The Shallows (which the article quotes): "He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources."

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    1. the essential point is that you have to conceptually divide the process of learning (Torah and all wisdoms)into 2 parts. see Rashi shmos 31:3

      1) one part occurs via interaction with the external world in the process of learning from others the divine wisdom of torah and the acquired wisdom of mankind. It is in this part of the process that books and the internet exist.

      2) the other occurs in your internal world when you try to understand that which you have learned from others, and try to integrate the knowledge to form unique, creative ways of understand. It is in this part that deep, creative thought exists.

      Deep thinking is no more reading a book than it is reading a blog. We believe that just like a book can provoke deep, creative thought, so can a blog. that is the intent of the blogoshiur.

      Ultimately, you can not replace the need to think. torah tries to give a person the methodology of how to think deeply about an area.

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  5. if you are successful, you will produce a generation of lazy thinkers. correct thinking only arises from very hard, break breaking work. Richard Fynman scoffs at at the idea and people who believe that they uncovered some truth because they put some attention to a problem. rather uncovering truths requires a great deal of patience and energy which a student will never learn to develop with this "new method". you both became thinkers b/c of the traditional model which is the only torah model. the blogsphere will only benefit either the lazy thinker to stay lazy or the thinker who already put in the time in the traditional sense to now have an additional venue. this was not written to be an attack b/c i believe you intentions to be good, rather, a defense of the the mesorah.

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    1. we hear your points. However, we still think its an open question about how much benefit someone will be able to derive from the blogoshiur without prior training. certainly we feel, that if someone actively participates (looks at the sources, asks questions, attempts svaras, etc.) it greatly minimizes the difference between a live shiur and the blogoshiur. the blogoshiur is definitely closer to a live shiur than a tape or a book is. we appreciate your feedback

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In the words of Agur bin-Yakeh: "We welcome all comments, questions, contributions, and critiques - but if you insist on posting anonymously, PLEASE use a pseudonym rather than posting as "Anonymous," since this makes it much easier to carry on a normal discussion. Thank you!"