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12.1.14

Speed reading when it comes to Talmud studies does not require much of an explanation.

There are two major kinds of learning in the Talmud. One is the learning of the Sugia [subject]. The other is speed reading. Speed reading when it comes to Talmud studies does not require much of an explanation. It simply means saying the words in order and going on without worrying whether you got it or not.

This type of fast learning I found very helpful when it came to learning Physics at Polytechnic Institute at N.Y.U..


The other kind of learning is called learning the Sugia (subject). This does mean to some degree learning a particular subject with the commentaries. But it also means getting a general feel for the subject. This kind of learning is hard to define.
Two examples may help to describe what I mean. Lets us take the subject (סוגיא) of work done on Shabat not for its own sake. מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה. This is a subject which you really could not understand by speed reading alone. The reason for this is that the subject itself is spread all over the Talmud  and the particular Tosphots that deal with it are not in Tractate Shabat at all but rather in Yoma page 34 and in  Ketubot and in Bava Kama.


So what I am suggesting is that every subject  has it own peculiarities that make going into one subject completely different than going into another one.



Learning fast helped me also in physics. When I first applied to Polytechnic Institute of NYU, and they accepted me, they gave me one piece of paper of math to see whether to put me in a remedial math program  or to let me into Calculus 101. I had no idea which side of the paper was up. But since I did not have to start there until Chanuka, I had the three month period from Rosh Hashanah   until then to prepare. And during that time I plowed through [read fast saying the words and going on] the pre-Calculus and Calculus books that I had. And amazingly enough it went in!
But I should mention the reading fast part was done from Rosh HaShanah until Hashana Raba and then I started work on problems and doing so I read everything again forwards and backwards. This all worked well except the Calculus book I had {by Bittner} was economics based and so he did not have right-hand sums and left hand sums for Riemanian Integrals. So when I got to that in the actual Calculus class I was totally unprepared. I started saying  the words and going on. And that helped me very much to at least get to basic String Theory, Group Theory, Abstract Algebra, and Algebraic Topology. So even though there is still plenty of stuff I do not understand, still I learned a lot more than if I had gotten stuck on every last detail. And I think other could benefit from this approach also.
[One slight advantage of this is that when philosophy professors or other amateurs start spouting nonsense about physics, at least you can tell they don't know what they are talking about. Just by this fats method at least you get a feel for the subject.]