Jewish Learning: Cost/Reward

Low cost, high reward

While listening to an old interview between Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin, they remarked that the cost of trying new things is exceedingly low and the benefits astronomical. I couldn’t help but apply this to something I’m passionate about.

Starting to learn Jewish text, costs you very little.

Earlier in history, that would absolutely be true. It cost to hire teachers, get hand written books, travel to teachers, etc. Now? It is easier than ever.

It costs access to the internet. You can get that free at the library.
It costs attending a class/synagogue. You can attend any synagogue for free.

What it costs most, is time, which is the most valuable thing.

It is very possible to learn Torah today, to start to explore Jewish text. What it takes is the time and effort to make it work. That is up to you. There is little downside and crazy large upside.

Regardless of who you are, you might ask, what value is there in this learning?

I’d argue a few big ones, but the list is endless.

  1. Understand Judaism as a faith and culture better.
  2. Learn about a multi-millennia old tradition.
  3. Learn how to think rabbinically. (My personal favorite)
  4. View the world through different geographic and temporal lenses.

For primary texts you can go to Sefaria.org. This is an INCREDIBLE resource. It has almost everything you need to learn a primary source. At this point in time, you barely need to know Hebrew (though it helps).

A question that remains is, what to learn? The answer: anything. There is no starting place, you just have to start.

To me, the big question today is not, what, because there is no answer. The real question is how. That is a hard question, one that we’ve spent two thousand years figuring out. There have been a lot of meaning and important solutions including yeshivot (Torah academies), chevrutot (study partners), and collections of commentaries of different scholars.

Today, we’re going to need even more answers. Along with the democratized resources, we need more tools to help people answer the question, “how.”

I’m passionate in figuring this out.

Jeremy MarkizblogComment