As a follow-up to my previous Blog, and member of Rabbi Fletcher’s Gemara shiur here in Israel for the past 8 years, I can vouch that I have learned tremendously under his guidance. Rabbi Fletcher has now agreed to offer his Shiur to men who would be interested in learning Bova Basra from the beginning after Pesach. I asked Rabbi Fletcher to describe in a nutshell who he wants to attract and how the Shiur operates. This is Rabbi Fletcher’s response-
The shiur is really best suited for those who have learnt Gemara before who want to join a friendly class. it is not designed for complete beginners or experts. We learn about two daf a week, but we do spend time reviewing every Friday and at the end of every perek going through questions on the material together. We are starting Bova Basra after Pesach and we will try to finish it in about eighteen months. And the participants will not be amongst those who will merely finish the messechta without remembering what they have learnt but they will have a working knowledge of the messechta. It requires commitment and effort, but we do not have the pressure to keep up to some external timetable. If it takes a bit longer to get the subject matter clear, we will take extra time. And I hope it is enjoyable. Torah is meant to be learnt b’simcha!
This shiur started nineteen years ago with Meseches Brachos and we have now learned every daf in Seder Moed and Seder Nashim as well as Bova Kamma and Bova Metzia. We are now reviewing the whole of Bova Metzia until Pesach which explains why we are ready to start Bova Basra after Pesach.
Rabbi Fletcher has published sefarim on halacha known as the Do You Know? series. Among topics covered are – Hilchos Shabbos, Yom Tov, Chol Hamoed and Brachos; and others on hashkafa.
Particularly relevant to the shiur is his sefer Do You Want To Know Shas? which contains questions on every daf of Shas (so far only the first volume on Seder Moed has been published, with the second on Seder Nashim almost ready) which are the same questions which he asks us as we review the gemara we have been learning. The questions are not just simple questions on the text but interesting practical situations which we are supposed to find an answer to from the daf under review. They are sometimes even humorous as the subject if the Gemara is put into an up-to-date context.
This shiur has given me confidence to go through the questions and suggest answers because after all these years spending time with Rabbi Fletcher, I have realized “the formula” for learning Gemara. The formula allows me to better understand the Gemara and that in turn gives me confidence to answer questions during the shiur. This is something I was too afraid to do in other Gemara shiurim I previously attended for the simple reason I did not want to make a fool out of myself. But in this Shiur no one is worried about that because we all are understanding and support each other.
At present, our shiur starts at 9:45am and continues to 11am Israel time from Sunday through Friday. Thanks to Zoom we were able to carry on during the Pandemic. All shiur members have their own Gemara to which we refer to clarify a complicated topic. Members are encouraged by Rabbi Fletcher to ask questions if there are any points that are unclear. Many shiur members, including myself, use the Art Scroll English Gemara.
We are now asking how many more men would be interested in joining our Shiur. We will be starting shortly after Pesach from the first chapter of Bova Basra, and it is therefore recommended that you obtain your copy before the Shiur begins. The shiur is given in English.
To express your interest, kindly email Rabbi Fletcher at the following address-