Friday, 10 May 2013

Study Update


Five years ago, I read quite a few books on theoretical Kabbalah (Gershom Scholem, Moshe Idel, Aryeh Kaplan), religion, philosophy, history. Once I started meditating a couple of years ago, my focus of reading shifted to a just one book with advice on practical Kabbalah meditation – Sefer Yetzirah.

However, it felt as though there were gaping holes in my knowledge and as I delved further those gaps came to light in full glaring Technicolor. So now my study schedule looks like this…. And this is just the beginning:

My plans for future study include:
  • ·         Go through the whole of the Prophets and Writings, preferably with multiple commentaries
  • ·         Study all of Mishneh once (expected duration 4-7 years)
  • ·         Study all of Gemmarah once (expected duration 7 years)
  • ·         Study all of Abraham Abulafia’s works (expected duration 7-14 years)
  • ·         Study all of Shulchan Aruch and Mishneh Torah (unknown duration)
  • ·         Study major works of Musar and Chassidus (unknown duration)
  • ·         Study the Zohar  (unknown duration)
  • ·         Study the works of Maharal of Prague, Rabbi Eliezer of Germizah, Rabbi Chaim Vital, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Rabbi Yoseph Gikatilla (unknown duration).
  • Continue to read works by academics including Moshe Idel, Gershom Scholem, Jim Davila, Rebecca Macy Lesses,… there are about another dozen or so other authors whom I would be eager to keep reading…. Then there are the new up and coming academics to consider…

Please note many of these books can be done in parallel. The main thing is to make time to study.
Pirkei Avot chapter 2, verse 7:
5. Hillel said: Do not separate yourself from the community; and do not trust in yourself until the day of your death. Do not judge your fellow until you are in his place. Do not say something that cannot be understood but will be understood in the end. Say not: When I have time I will study because you may never have the time.
I play a game with myself where I try to steal as much time as I can to study (and meditate). My travel bag has a number of books and Kindle, my phone has numerous MP3s and every minute of my 1 hour commute each way is spend reading books or listening to MP3s. Even on Shabbat morning in synagogue there are small gaps in which some study can be done – this is how I completed Maimonides “Guide to the Perplexed” in 10 page gulps and Yehuda Ha-Levi’s “The Kuzari”.