Babylonian Talmud, Brachot 63b

 

תלמוד בבלי מסכת ברכות דף סג עמוד ב

Original Text:

עשו כתות כתות ועסקו בתורה, לפי שאין התורה נקנית אלא בחבורה. כדרבי יוסי ברבי חנינא, דאמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא: מאי דכתיב +ירמיהו נ'+ חרב (על) +מסורת הש"ס: [אל]+ הבדים ונאלו - חרב על שונאיהם של תלמידי חכמים שיושבים בד בבד ועוסקים בתורה. ולא עוד אלא שמטפשים, כתיב הכא ונאלו, וכתיב התם +במדבר י"ב+ אשר נואלנו. ולא עוד אלא שחוטאים - שנאמר ואשר חטאנו.

Translation:

Put yourselves into groups to occupy yourselves with the Torah, for the Torah can only be acquired in company. This is according to R. Yosi b. Hanina, for R. Yosi b. R. Hanina said: How may one explain the verse, “A sword is upon the boasters and they shall become fools” (Jeremiah 50:36)? A sword is upon scholars who sit alone to study the Torah. And not only this, but they also become stupid, as it is written here, “and they shall become fools”....And not only this, but they also have become sinners, for it is said: (“for that we have done foolishly”) and “we have sinned” (Numbers 12:11). [Translation by CAJE]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What does it mean to “acquire the Torah”? Why is that important?
2. Why did the Rabbis choose to understand “boasters” as scholars who study alone?
3. How does studying alone make you a sinner? What values is this text communicating to us?

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