Shout out for the Mishnah

One of the URJ’s most successful and admirable efforts to get people more engaged in daily Talmud Torah is the Ten Minutes of Torah initiative. For those not familiar, it’s an email study programme where each day of the week is devoted to a different aspect of study: Torah, ethics, history, Israel, and so on.

Just recently, a new weekly topic was added. (Actually, it replaces the weekly Hebrew lessons… not sure why they couldn’t have kept all of them… not enough days in the week for study? Ahh well. The new addition to the roster makes every Tuesday “Mishnah Day.”

This is fantastic. Truly a leap forward for Reform Judaism. Delivering weekly drashes on the Mishnah into thousands of people’s inboxes is a phenomenon whose significance shouldn’t be underestimated. To quote a certain Texan… “The Reform movement has been traditionally pretty allergic to Talmud, excepting catchy aggadot (for which we needn’t turn to Talmud anyway because of Sefer Ha-Aggadah).” This is another step in paving the Derech Torah. For more on my thoughts on the unpaved road to Torah, see my most recent post.

For many, this will be the first time that they are introduced to the Mishnah. For others, it provides some much needed sustenance to fill in what has been a glaring lacuna in Reform Judaism’s overall pedagogy. For those of you who have been keeping track, in the past two days I’ve used the words zeitgeist, lacuna, and pedagogy.