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Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Rav Moshe Shternbuch: On Teaching Children Tanach

The minhag in today's Yeshivos is not to teach Tanach before learning Gemara. Rav Moshe Shternbuch (2:457) explains that learning Tanach requires even deeper understanding than learning Gemara. A Mekor for this is Rashi in Brachos (28a) who says that one should stay away from too much Tanach.

The danger he says is that people do not realize this. He quotes the Chasam Sofer who says that this was the tragedy of translating the Torah to Greek. Since then, people were free to learn Tanach with literal translation without being taught the correct interpretation through kabalas avoseinu.

This is not to say that Tanach is blacklisted, says Rav Shternbuch. One who has learned a great deal of gemara and poskim and has acquired a great deal of Yiras Hashem is required to learn all of Tanach and must know it thoroughly.(See also Rav Vosner's Tshuva on this subject)

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha.  We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.

RELATED ARTICLES:Chasam Sofer  children  halacha  Rav Moshe Shternbuch  tanach  yeshiva

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Visitor Comments: 5

Li, 2007-06-20 04:42:58
In shul we don't listen to a dvar on the Gomorrah, but rather on Tanach. The most simplest person starts with learning Tanach these days. Also at least hundreds of years ago there was a special book that women read on Chumush. They were never encouraged to learn Gomorrah.
Jo, 2007-06-20 10:23:46
There must be more to this teshuva of R. Shternbuch - as quoted it seems to be contradicted by the extensive evidence that HaZaL saw a clear progression from Mikra (i.e., Tanach) to Mishna to Gemara (reasoning about halakha, applying it, deriving from perukim, etc.).
Da, 2007-06-20 13:09:40
This obviously cannot be referring to tora (khumash) at all, as we (men, at least) have a mitsva of sh'nayim mikra v'ekhad targum (taking care of the possible misinterpretation issue). But of course there are many sources from all generations that we need to learn na
Sh, 2007-06-20 13:22:20
Okay I looked it up to see for myself and i have 2 comments. 1. He starts the tshuva saying that although Tanach should be learned before Gemara since it is part of
RS, Gateshead, 2011-12-08 08:49:49
When I was in Yeshiva, the Mashgiach Rav Moshe Schwab Zt"l strongly encouranged us to find time to learn Nach. He explained that there is simply not enough time to incorporate it into Sidrei Hayeshiva. However, bein hazemanim, he said, is an ideal time for this Limud.
Also, before I embarked on by Yeshiva career, my father Zt"l gave me the following piece of advice; "When the Gemora quotes an extract from Tanach, don't just suffice with looking up the possuk - LEARN THE ENTIRE PEREK! That way, you will have a much better contextual understanding of what is happening, and also with time it will give you at least a limited amount of Yedi'os in Tanach.
It cannot be denied that it is extremely dangerous to attempt to learn many passages of Nach at face value! This was extensively discussed by Rav Mordechai Miller of Zt"l (of Gateshead) who explains that Nach is written in its unique (often coded) language. As he would put it - "If you don't understand the language, don't read the book!" It is for this reason that it is absolutely imperative that we follow the explanation of the Classic Meforshim who decipher the code Al Pi Chazal and teach us the intended meaning

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