"The Elusive Carafe of Olive Oil" is a complimentary mini-course offered by Talmid-Chaver as part of the launch of our new website. The material is taken from the Talmud, Masechet Berachot 35b-36a; it deals with a statement, quoted by four Amoraim, that the blessing recited over olive oil is "boreh peri ha'etz." The Gemara struggles to identify the specific scenario to which the Amoraim are referring, eventually settling on a third option. The sugyah concludes by explaining what 'chidush'/novel ruling was intended by the Amoraim in this case.
The first two shiurim take the learner through the back-and-forth exchange in the Gemara, along the way explaining the key concepts, Gemara terms, and logic of the sugyah. The third shiur introduces an alternate reading of the first part of the sugyah and offers an understanding of a ruling by the Rambam. The fourth shiur presents Tosafot's critique of Rashi at the end of the sugyah and explains, using a summary chart, how a) Tosafot reads the text and b) how Tosafot suggests reading Rashi in a way that addresses Tosafot's critique.
The course includes a multiple-choice quiz after each shiur and three Quizlet vocabulary review exercises.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers grew up in a traditional home in Winnipeg, Canada; although he had a solid day school education, his exposure to Gemara began only at the age of 22. Along the way, he encountered seasoned Talmidei-Chachamim whose impressive minds and shiurim often raced ahead of their less experienced students; he understood that there's much to be said for encouraging talmidim to "stretch themselves."
That said, Rav Ron-Ami also benefited from master educators who appreciated the need to make explicit the language, logical structures, and assumptions that Torah scholars have operated with for generations.
Rabbi Meyers has Semicha from Rav Yitzchak Kolitz ZTz"L, Dayan Avraham Kopschitz ZTz"l, and Rabbi Ya'akov Moshe Poupko ZTz"L