Taste of Hebrew title graphic


June

Chavrúta (Ashkenazi: Chavrúse)
'twosome for religious study; a partner in such a twosome'


'Every afternoon, Ira and I had a chavruta in Tenach (Bible), but he's started college now.' 'Cheryl, I'm looking for a chavruta to learn with during the week. Know anyone?'

The chavruta is the secret of the old Jewish study skill -- but a secret that Jews would willingly share with the world's Secretaries for Education, if only they would ask.
Two people, at roughly the same level, get together to study a text (they may have prepared it, they may have not), taking turns to read and explain it as they see it, discussing, debating, even questioning it -- for half an hour, an hour... The net result is that they know it inside out, generally far better than if they'd studied it singly. Of course, they may permit themselves a few digressions, but sleep they won't; nor will they doodle.
    The chavruta still thrives in yeshivot and wherever traditional study survives. The chavruta is probably also why Israeli school students like to study in pairs.

A chavruta is like a stone: A stone in itself has no value. But when you start rubbing one stone on another, sparks fly.
    Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz.

By kind permission of Oxford University Press,
publishers of The Joys of Hebrew by Lewis Glinert.



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Last Modified February 12, 2006