Saturday, February 28, 2009

Studying Navi?

Rabbi Shalom Carmy, in his introduction to the new edition of Tradition, throws in a spot-on comment about the study of Navi.
Likewise, speakers and audiences at home in halakhic discourse, who feel obligated to spend time studying Tanakh, but find themselves at sea in the unfamiliar world of Biblical prose and poetry, with its relentless entanglement in moral complexity and religious crisis, often find a welcome escape from the human condition by fastening upon some halakhic question to which the text may be made pertinent.
In other words, it might be called a "navi" shiur, but if the speaker is really giving a talk about an interesting halachic issue that rises from the text (e.g. - studying the story of Shaul's suicide, discussing the halachic issues of suicide in battle), are you really studying Navi? Or is it just a halachah shiur in different clothes? And why call it a "navi" shiur anyway?