Chevruta, Facebook and Nietzsche

Matt Bar
October 29, 2012
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In this Month’s Sh’ma Journal Shawn Landres in his  “Emergence Unbound,” article explains how he was able to update and refine the rough draft of his essay on emergent communities with crowd-sourcing questions via Facebook. Indeed, Facebook is a great place for ongoing debates and conversations with Chevruta (learning partners). Facebook can center a conversation on a topic and then organically attract only those invested in the subject. The possibilities Facebook opens for Chevruta, the cornerstone of the Beit Midrash, are endless.

Just one of a thousand examples of how Facebook is tapped for Jewish learning and community is the group page called “Nietzsche in the Beit Midrash” which contains dozens of Nietzsche insights that can speak to fundamental Jewish ideas, including, of course, Chevruta and then crowd-sources its members for sources from tradition that speak to the topic at hand.

See below and let us know if you’d like to join the group!

Nietzsche on “Chevruta”

Beyond Good and Evil 374
Dialogue. – The dialogue is the perfect conversation, because everything one of the parties says acquires its particular colour, its sound, its accompanying gestures strictly with reference to the other to whom he is speaking, and thus resembles a correspondence in which the forms of expression vary according to whom the correspondent is writing to. In a dialogue there is only a single refraction of the thought: this is produced by the partner in the dialogue, as the mirror in which we desire to see our thoughts reflected as perfectly as possible. But what happens when there are two, three or more fellow participants? The conversation necessarily loses its subtle individuality, different intentions clash with and disrupt one another; a turn of phrase that appeals to one offends the disposition of another. That is why in converse with several people one will be compelled to draw back into oneself, to present the facts as they are but to deduct from the subjects of converse that opalescent ether of humanity that makes of a conversation one of the pleasantest things in the world. One has only to listen to the tone men tend to adopt when speaking to whole groups of men; it is as though the fundamental note of all speech were: ‘this is what I am, this is what I say, you can make of it what you will!’

Beyond Good and Evil 180 “Collective spirit. – A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”

Beyond Good and Evil 283
“If one wishes to praise at all, it is a delicate and at the same time a noble self-control, to praise only where one DOES NOT agree—otherwise in fact one would praise oneself,which is contrary to good taste:— and my highest compliments to teachers.”

Gay Science 163
“After a great victory.- What is best about a great victory is that it liberates the victor from the fear of defeat. “Why not be defeated some time, too?” he says to himself; “Now I am rich enough for that.”

Gay Science 169
“Open enemies – Courage before the enemy is one thing and does not rule out cowardice or indecisiveness and confusion. That is how Napoleon judged “the most courageous person” he knew: Murat. It follows that some people need open enemies if they are to rise to the level of their own virtue, virility and cheerfulness.”

Gay Science 260
“Multiplication table.- One is always wrong, but with two, truth begins.-One cannot prove his case, but two are irrefutable.”

Gay Science 279
“Star Friendship.- We were friends and have become es- tranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course, OUR paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together. as we did-and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see each other again; perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us. That we have to become estranged is the law above us; by the same token we should also become more venerable for each other-and the memory of our former friendship more sacred. There is probably a tremendous but invisible stellar orbit in which our very different ways and goals may be included as small parts -of this path; let us rise up to this thought. But our life is too short and our power of vision too small for us to be more than friends in the sense of this sublime possibility. -Let us then believe in our star friendship even if we should be compelled to be earth enemies!”

Zarathustra Part 1 “The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends. One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil.And why, then, should you not pluck at my laurels.”

Zarathustra Part 1 “You should seek your enemy, you should wage your war – a war for your opinions. And if your opinion is defeated, your honesty should still cry triumph over that!”

Zarathustra Part 2 “I want to sail across broad seas like a cry and a shout of joy, until i find the Blissful Islands where my friends are waiting – And my enemies with them! How i now love anyone to whom i can simply speak! My enemies too are part of my happiness.”

Zarathustra Part 1 “for courage is the best destroyer – courage that attacks: for in every attack there is a triumphant shout.”

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Matt Bar is founder and Executive Director of Bible Raps, a non-profit born from Matt's desire to engage his Hebrew School classes on a deeper and more contemporary level than the way they were being taught at the time. Bible Raps launched out of Bar's participation in the PresenTense Institute during the summer of 2007. He continued to further his Jewish education during his 2008 year of study at The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Since its inception, Bible Raps has reached tens of thousands of young Jews with Torah-rich performances in schools, Hillels, conferences and camps across the US and abroad. Their teaching materials are being used in countless classrooms and teachers are currently being trained to be certified "Bible Raps educators". ‬ ‪In 2011, Bar was also named to The ‬NY‪ Jewish Week's "36 Under 36" list, a prestigious list ‬"highlighting the dedicated lay leaders who are reordering our legacy organizations alongside community activists and social justice crusaders whose startups are chock-full of innovation,". He is also 2009-2010 member of slingshot. Before his current role as Executive Director of Bible Raps, Bar was also featured on MTV and NBC, has opened for Grammy winning group Outkast and performed at numerous clubs and venues as a folk rapper. Matt currently resides in Philadelphia and is working on Bible Raps Album #3 and hoping to put out Hip Hop Lullabies, within the calendar year.

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