[Avodah] Should Artscroll Be Worried?

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Tue Aug 10 10:53:43 PDT 2021

On Mon, Aug 09, 2021 at 04:51:05PM -0400, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
> Perhaps after Moshiach comes our mental capacities will be increased so that
> we will be able to have all of Torah  in our memories.

> We have all heard stories of people who knew all of Shas by heart...

We are talking far far more than shas. We are talking every single seifer.
No *community* would have enough brain cells to store it all.

No more Beis Yoseif. Nor more Sheiv Shemaatesa.... We wouldn't just have
a more fluid halakhah, that fluidity would be at the expense of so much
knowledge. Less informed opinions.

As I said, a move away from teaching texts as codifications would
necessarily go hand-in-hand with reinstituting the Sanhedrin and the
judiciary it runs. But why would we think it's better to have less
information to work with?

But about memorizers and "the pin test"...

My next door neighbor when I was a boy was R/Dr Kalman Kalikstein. His
experiences during the Holocaust are pretty well documented as he shared
a bunk with Eli Weisel, where they became friends and when through the
DP experience, France, and got to US together. (He is the boy on the
front left in this picture from the Ambloy's children's home in 1945 or
'46 <https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1174105>.)

One summer I studied in the basement of our shul every morning between
the end of school and camp. He was there as well. And one morning I saw
him sitting over an old, worn, tome, writing something on a piece of
paper notebook paper, and leaving it in the book. Being as I was/am a
curious kid, as soon as he left, I pulled the book off the shelf to see
what he wrote. The volume was one of Yerushalmi. A corner of one page
was missing. He rewrote the missing words of both sides of the page
from memory.

Including the commentary published on the outside of the page (likely
the Penei Moshe, depending on mesechta).

(At least, that's how I remember it. That latter part seems pretty
incredible. But to quote the defense layer who has to establish the
witness's credentials when putting the Chafeitz Chaim on the stand to
attest to the accused's character: "Not all these stories may be true,
but with all due respect your honor, do they tell such stories about
you or me?" Skepticism at my own memory aside...)

He certainly knew the Yerushalmi itself word-by-word by heart. And that's
an unknown professor at Queens College, not some famous rav.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Be happy not because everything is good,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   but because you can see the good side
Author: Widen Your Tent      of everything.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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