Learning the Parsha

Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg has been quoted saying that a person can fulfill the Targum (translation) portion of Shnayim Mikra V’Echad Targum by reading the Art Scroll translation. (I’m assuming that a Metsudah translation would also suffice.) In addition the Mishna Berurah says one can fulfill one of the Shnayim Mikras (two readings) by following along in Shul on Shabbos during the leining.

Chazal want us to be conversant with the entire Torah so they instituted Shnayim Mikra. We can work towards that goal by reading the parsha once at home and once in the Shul and learning the Art Scroll or Metsudah.

It’s an important relatively easy Mitzvah to fulfill so why not embrace it.

If you want some additional English commentary on the parsha Torah.org has compiled quite a collection over the years. Why not check it out.

11 comments on “Learning the Parsha

  1. Just thought I would note this review of a new book on the Targum — see http://seforim.blogspot.com/2011/10/on-parshegen-amazing-new-work-on-targum.html . I realize that we’re all on different levels of knowledge of & interest in Targum Onqelos (personally, I don’t think I’m at the level of appreciating/making good use of “Parshegen,” although I certainly know of issues like anthropomorphism, esp. because RYReisman has dealt with them in prior motzoei-Shabbos NaCH shiurim), but I think we’re all interested in improving ourselves spiritually and that being able to reach the level of reading and gaining from Targum in the original language (whether as part of ShMvET or for other reasons) is worthwhile.

    Gut Chodesh, and a gut’n Shabbes, to all!

  2. Wow! Did I first comment a year ago? I have to put in a huge positive pitch for the translation of Onkelos into English; using it has improved both my understanding of the Chumash and of the Aramaic language.

  3. I love shnayim mikra v’echad targum, but I did rashi as the “echad targum” for years before I did Onkelos. Two reasons for this –(1) it is in Hebrew rather than Aramaic and thus easier for most people, especially beginners and (2) although Rashi has as many fine points about the Torah’s text as Onkelos, a person can miss some of the diyukim Rashi makes and still learn valuable lessons therefrom. It’s harder to learn Onkelos on this level, so for a beginner I think Rashi is preferable.

  4. I would agree that ShMvET can be considered a mitzvah qalah (“easy directive”) whose positive side-effects accrue both in this world and the next…but, unless one has a legitimate reason not to read Targum in the original, I would humbly suggest doing so is the optimal way of fulfilling the mitzvah. Just by way of example: a learned friend asked me last week why “shmeih” in Qaddish (he was specifically referring to “[Y’hei] shmeih [rabba]”) has a mapiq-heih, not realizing that this is a standard Aramaic construction for a singular masculine possessive pronominal suffix (something he should have seen 11 verses into Seifer B’reishis if he was reading Targum as part of ShMvET). Additionally, anyone interested in wading into or swimming in the Yam shel Talmud (the “sea” that is g’mara) would do well to have some level of Aramaic knowledge.

    What Gary notes is, methinks, a very worthwhile pursuit — I recall one chaveir mentioning that he tries to learn a different commentary every year as part of his ShMvET, and there are so many wonderful commentaries! — but I would (again, humbly :)) suggest that, if at all possible, it should be done _in addition to_ the basic ShMvET learning (call it “lim’hadrin,” if you wish) rather than instead of that basic “read the pasuq and its Targum Onqelos translation/commentary” mandate.

  5. Just curious-When, where and to who did RCPS voice this view? WADR, if you have reached any level of textual literacy, you should be able to handle Rashi or any other commentary in the “real McCoy”, as opposed to works in English, which all too often either are Musar or Chasidic based Divrei Torah on one aspect of one Pasuk, and which after a while have a “kli sheni eino mvashel” feel to the same. IIRC, there are other Poskim who claim that one can fulful this Mitzvah via learning Rashi, Ramban and other commentaries. FWIW, I have seen in seforim about the CS that the CS was very careful on learning both Rashi and Ramban on a weekly basis. For those with a serious intent on learning Chumash, see Volume 1 of the works of Nechama Leibowitz, Zicronah Livracha.

  6. Perhaps more important is just studying the chumash in its entirety — as a whole unit. Dividing it into parshas often obscures the broader lessons and messages of the Bible. R. Leibtag’s website, tanach.org, allows study of the Bible in a more holistic way.

  7. Admittedly, I did not give the parashah the correct attention for quite a while. About a year ago, I made a point of reading the Hebrew and English in Artscroll or Metsudah. Now it’s good to know that following the laining in shul also counts towards this requirement.

    A few years prior to taking on the weekly reading of the complete Parashah I decided to complete, one week at a time, a different book of essays on the Parashah each year. There are many fine books that use this format. I have read books by Rabbi Zev, Rabbi Yisrael Pesach Feinhandler, and Rabbi A.L. Scheinbaum. This year I am reading Rabbi Moshe Sokolow’s “Studies in the Weekly Parashah, Based on the Lessons of Nechama Leibowitz.”

    It took me a while to get comfortable with some of the author’s styles, but after a few weeks you look forward to “meeting” with the same person for a unique perspective on the week’s Parashah.

  8. The gemoro says that one lengthens ones days by doing this. I have heard once that if one does not do this mitsva it is like one shortens ones days.

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