Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monsieur Chouchani

I should stop being surprised when I come across people that I'd never heard of before though it seems I should have. Perhaps Mississippi Fred has a post in waiting about him?

Vigoda describes Chouchani's method of teaching Talmud thus: He would explain an issue in a certain way, then he would challenge the foundations of the approach used and interpret the issue in an entirely new manner; he would then challenge that approach and continue this process again and again. His teaching relied on questions and skepticism; he was not much interested in answers. Some of his students feared his approach even more than they dreaded his rebuke of their ignorance.

Wiesel relates how a friend who had studied with him under Chouchani in France warned Wiesel that their teacher wanted to weaken the foundations of their belief and admitted that he found Chouchani frightening. That person, notes Wiesel, later traveled to Brooklyn and became the head of a yeshiva and one of the greatest rabbinical authorities of his generation.

Read the entire fascinating story here...


Blogger The back of the hill said...

Wow. Intense and fascinating.

July 25, 2007 2:16 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home