In a statement repeated several times in Shas, Rava emphasizes the importance of an individual’s input in Torah study, that is, the process of making Torah one’s own. Let us look at AZ 19a, where this appears in the context of Rava’s ‘musar shmuess’ regarding Talmud Torah. … In other words, our task in studying Torah, if we merit it, is to put our own individual stamp on Hashem’s Torah by filtering it through our own understanding, as limited as that may be. The souls of Kelal Yisrael were all at Mattan Torah, and we each have our own portion of Torah assigned to us. Of course, that understanding, even if part of our ‘self’ contributes to it, must reflect true Torah values and modes of thought and argument. Clearly, this individual stamp on Torah learning applies to the Amoraim; after all, Rava was first and foremost addressing his own colleagues, who were Amoraim. Thus, we should expect that each Amora has his own individual understanding of various issues, and when they differ, seemingly isolated differences might be understood as expressions of a more general outlook.

Yaakov Elman, “Rava as Mara de-Atra in Mahoza”, Hakirah 11 (Spring 2011), 61-62

Advertisements