Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Memory Tools — Eruvin 54a-b

Memory Tools — Eruvin 54a-b

תלמוד בבלי מסכת עירובין דף נד/א

כי חיים הם למצאיהם ולכל בשרו מרפא אל תקרי למצאיהם אלא למוציאיהם בפה

The Gemara lists several qualities that facilitate the acquisition and retention of Torah, beginning with verbalizing what one is learning.

Sefer Hanhagos HaTzadikkim, Sefer HaZikaron enumerates the memory tools that are to be found in Chazal :

1. Prayer (Megilah 6b).

2. Awe of Heaven (Berachos 32b).

3. Humility (Eruvin 54b).

4. Curtailing pleasure (Eruvin 54a).

5. Diligence and review (Eruvin 54a).

6. Verbalizing what one is learning out loud (Eruvin 53b).

7. Understanding what one is learning (Yerushalmi, Berachos 5:1).

8. Developing novel insights (Chullin 75b).

9. Learning from one teacher (Eruvin 53a).

10. Learning in seclusion (Yerushalmi, Berachos 4:1 [also here, Eruvin 54a]).

11. Learning with students (Eruvin 54a).

12. Learning in a shul (Yerushalmi, Berachos 5:1).

13. Learning from a sefer (ibid.).

14. Employing mnemonic devices (Eruvin 53a).

15. Eating breakfast (Bava Metzia 107b).

16. Eating bread baked over coals, or, alternatively, wheat bread (Horios 13b).

17. Eating fully baked breas (Kol Bo §118).

18. Eating moist, soft, roasted eggs (Horios 13b).

19. Regularly consuming olive oil (ibid.).

20. Regularly consuming wine and fragrances (ibid.).

21. Eating water left over from the process of kneading dough (ibid.).

22. Dipping a finger in salt and eating (ibid.).

23. Gazing at the countenance of a tzaddik (Taamei HaMinhagim p. 517).

24. A person who maintains he is forgetful is spared from forgetting (ibid. p.543).

25. Reciting Ahavah Rabbah [with kavanah] (Eliyahu Rabbah §224).

26. Reciting the names of Rav Pappa's ten sons at a siyum (HaEshkol, Hil. Sefer Torah).

27. One remembers more effectively what one learns in his youth (Avos 4:19).

28. Taking care not to think Torah thoughts where it is forbidden, or during davening (Sefer Chassidim §546).


  1. 26. Reciting the names of Rav Pappa's ten sons at a siyum (HaEshkol, Hil. Sefer Torah).

    That one always confused me... is it explained?

  2. Not there - on the side of the nusach hasiyum it says that the brother of the Maharal explains it, but I have never looked it up (not such an easy source to obtain).