Bringing Kabbalah into Our Educational Syllabus
Published in Times of Israel by Aryeh Ben David
Posted on June 5, 2019
An educational consultant recently told me that teachers often teach what they feel most comfortable teaching, and not necessarily what their students need to learn. I know I was guilty of this for many years, though I always rationalized to myself that what I was doing was for the well-being of my students.
I think this issue becomes most evident in the teaching of Gemara in high schools and post-high school programs.
I have lost track of the number of serious, sincere educators who have told me that their students are disconnected from learning Gemara. How they struggle, usually in vain, to make the sugiya (topic) relevant and meaningful. The intricate, difficult, legalistic arguments of Gemara(written in Aramaic) remain opaque for almost all of their students. The educators admit that even those students who become adept at deciphering the gemara’s logic and are “into it” will probably never open a gemara after they graduate from university. Yet learning Gemara carries prestige and bears the stamp of intellectual rigor. As such, it continues to be considered the hallmark of a superior Jewish education. Day after day, year after year, teachers and students wearily pass the hours poring over their gemara text, never fully sure why their curriculum devotes so much time and effort to an objective which will yield so pitifully little.
I loved learning gemara. Yet it neither developed my inner spiritual life nor nurtured my relationship with God.
To read more, click here.