The Menorah Foundation School's programme for Mishnah and Gemara study is a progressive curriculum designed to familiarise children with the Oral Torah, starting from Year 4 and leading into a more detailed Gemara study by Year 6.
In Year 4, children begin with Mishnah Sukkah, learning about the mitzvah of dwelling in a sukkah and the Arba Minim, providing a practical and thematic introduction to the study of the Oral Torah. This sets a solid foundation for their future Torah studies.
Year 5 delves into Mishnah Brochos, with the first term dedicated to an in-depth study that emphasises the importance of prayer. This leads into the Gemara curriculum in the second and third terms, linking the content with the Gemara topics to ensure a cohesive learning experience.
By Year 6, the focus shifts to Mishnah Makos, specifically Perek Sheni, where discussions on human life responsibility and the laws of cities of refuge are explored. During this year, the study of Gemara is intensified, equipping students with the necessary vocabulary and logical frameworks to confidently engage with the text. Our approach to learning ‘b’chavrusa’ (partner study) prepares students for the analytical and discussion-based nature of Gemara study.
Oral and written testing for Mishnayos ensures students are comprehending and retaining the material effectively. Gemara is introduced formally in Year 5, aiming to train students in the argumentative style of Talmudic logic. By the end of Year 6, students are expected to have a strong foundational Gemara vocabulary, ready for the next stage of their education.
The school opts for a practical approach to the Gemara, focusing on the text itself rather than commentaries like Rashi and Tosfos, although students are made aware of these as crucial tools for understanding the Gemara, as well as other Rishonim, and where necessary their opinions and disagreements. In Year 6, additional Talmudic discussions are covered in special, Ovois Ubonim/Ubonois learning programmes, under the guidance and direction of the teachers present, as well as bespoke resources to provide further support and guidance.
Throughout, our teaching is delivered in a style designed to impart a sense of passion and importance for Gemara learning, ensuring students not only learn but also come to love the intricacies of Talmudic study.