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27.12.16

Speed reading and learning fast.

I was fascinated by the idea of learning fast from an early age. I noticed that by just saying the words and going on, that the second time I would review material, it would become clear.
And this was a kind of thing that was just all around in the USA. There were speed reading courses, and speed reading books etc.  And I even remember applying to a college that specialized in this kind of thing for reading classical philosophy and literature.

Though in yeshiva this was frowned upon, still in on my own time [the afternoon and evening sessions after the morning class.]  I tried hard to make progress through the Talmud and Poskim [Rishonim, mediaeval commentaries on the Talmud]. 

I was not aware of the opinion of the Rambam that Physics and Metaphysics were important aspects of Torah, and I think I was not the only one who was unaware of that. But if I had been aware I probably would have done the speed reading thing with Physics + Metaphysics also.

The difference is that in the Talmud itself and in the Musar (Ethics) book the Paths of the Righteous the way that is recommended to do speed reading is to say the words  and then to go on.

[Incident to the above. The Rambam idea of Physics and Metaphysics is that that is the fulfillment of the mitzvah to love and fear God. That is since the Torah can not command an emotion we understand instead that it commands to learn the material of the wonders of God's creation that inspire one to love and fear God. The Rambam is very aware of the problem of spirituality with no boundaries and dry formalism and legalities on the other. Thus he comes up with this elegant idea.] 


[In the Rambam's world view the beginning of one's learning would be to get through the entire Old Testament in Hebrew, and the Mishne Torah {יד החזקה} as as brief introduction to the laws of Moses, the Metaphysics and Physics of Aristotle. But this all would be just introductory material to prepare the way for further study.
The ultimate goal would be to finish at least once in one's lifetime the entire Oral Law--the two Talmuds and all the midrashim. Even if one does not understand it here he will in the next world.

I also discovered that to get to any decent level in any subject takes at least one year of concentrating on that one thing alone.  I discovered this in playing the violin. And later in the to great yeshivas Shar Yashuv and the Mir in NY I also realize that I only made progress because I directed all my fire power onto learning Gemara alone. I began to realize this is a general principle.