Wednesday, December 15, 2004

My First Shiur

I've been to many, many shiurim in my short life. I like shiurim. I may even go to one tonight. Last night, however, marked a very special occasion.

I gave a shiur.

Yep, that's right. Last night was my debut as a shiur-giver, an imparter of Jewish wisdom, a teacher of text. And I was horribly nervous. After all, I'd never done anything like this before. I give a 3 minute d'var every shabbos, but how was I going to fill 57 other minutes? More importantly, who am I to be teaching others in this kind of setting?

Turned out not to matter so much. There weren't really 'others' there. My shiur had a total attendance of 3: yours truly, the rabbi of the shul, and one shul member. Maybe my topic didn't sound very appealing (Religious Struggle: The Macabees and the Knesset). Maybe no one wanted to go out into the cold. Maybe no one else thought I was a very qualified imparter of Jewish knowledge. Maybe there was a really good episode of Law & Order on television.

At first, I was pretty embarrassed. I never thought that there would be a large crowd to begin with, but I thought more than 2 people would show up. But after I began, I realized that the tiny audience was actually a good thing. It gave us a chance to actually discuss the text in front of us. I went through the text, and watched the rabbi underline words and make notes in the margins of his copy. Talk about role reversal.

In the end, I think the shiur actually went very well. At least my two attendees seemed to go home happy. The rabbi even mentioned wanting to do a class on the Book of the Macabees again next year. We may do a shiur comparing Purim and Chanukah. So I wasn't a total failure. But I may just stick to my 3 minute d'var for a while.

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