A Page of Torah (Five Books of Moses) and Web 2.0

One of the things that I love about the Jewish religion is the importance of learning. When Jewish people study they don't just study with the people in the same room. Instead, they use a book that contains ideas, questiosns and answers from other Jewish people who have lived throughout the ages. A typical page of Torah, when it's written in a book, has several short sentences of the actual text, in Hebrew at the top right of the page. RIght next to the original text is a translation in Arameic from one of the great teachers of the Babylonian period, Onkelos. Typically, In the margin of the other side of the page, stretching below the primary text is a comment by a great French rabbi (1000s or so, I think), Rashi. The page also includes comments by a Spanish Rabbi (Mainmonides), and others. Take a look at what a page looks like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mikraot_Gedolot.JPG You can see all of the differnent comments.

So, you might be asking, what does this have to do with Web 2.0. What's Web 2.0?

Another way to look at Web 2.0 is that it contains dozens and dozens (likely far more now then when I began writing this sentence) of conversations. Each conversation starts with an original idea. But then lots and lots of different people from different backgrounds and different geographical regions chime in. Soon, as often happens with Jewish learning, you've gone off on such a tangent that it's hard to know how you got from where you were to where you are. But then again, does it matter?

The beautiful thing about taking a look at the page of text linked to above is that even if you don't read Hebrew, which I imagine most people don't, you can see the differentiation between the different comments. By the way, when I was a high school student I once hesitated about writing in the Torah (the book form of it). My teacher, a rabbi, looked at me and said, "Do you think Rashi (one of the rabbis who's words are found on the text) started off by having his ideas published in print or did he have to write them first?"

Views: 37

Comment by Aaron Slutsky on April 14, 2007 at 7:33am
Very cool! Mazal Tov!
Comment by Barbara on April 14, 2007 at 10:27am
By the way, when I was a high school student I once hesitated about writing in the Torah (the book form of it). My teacher, a rabbi, looked at me and said, "Do you think Rashi (one of the rabbis who's words are found on the text) started off by having his ideas published in print or did he have to write them first?"

I love this concept. It gets at the heart of the fact that we need to interact with our sources of information. It is quite a contrast to the school concept of we need to reuse these textbooks so do not put a mark in them. The rationale for that is understandable but through Web 2.0 we can alleviate the problem and promote thinking and interaction. We can move away from the concept of the school text as the untouchable source of knowledge.

The example you give is a great one because if my memory serves me correctly the commentary in the kind of example you show also contains more than one point of view or perspective.
Comment by langwitches on April 14, 2007 at 5:23pm
I love your analogy from the Torah and its commentary to Web 2.0. feeling connected with your ancestors, great minds or people who have the same questions as you through the ages and in lands far away.
Comment by Anatoly Shperk on April 14, 2007 at 11:41pm
It is nice, but, it is not a novelty, all this already was. Any forum or community in LJ gives the same effect.
But, apparently, there is nevertheless something, that radically distinguishes Web 2.0 and, perhaps, pulls together it with limudey kodesh (Studying of sacred texts). Unlike Web 1, Web 2.0 conducts continuous information interchange with a source. Traditional Web reads out page, and waits, while you request another. Web 2.0 text can vary in process of perusal and comprehension of its senses. And it is the same text.

Comment

You need to be a member of Classroom 2.0 to add comments!

Join Classroom 2.0

Report

Win at School

Commercial Policy

If you are representing a commercial entity, please see the specific guidelines on your participation.

Badge

Loading…

Follow

Awards:

© 2022   Created by Steve Hargadon.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service