I have noticed with pleasure that many masechtos in Shas just start in the beginning of the conversation.
“From what time does one say the Shema at night?” Who? What’s Shema?
“Two forms of carrying out that are four.” Carrying? What’s wrong with that? What’s Shabbos? Chapter Seven tells us that there are 39 melachos. We just jumped in.
The examples are from all over the Talmud.
I think the lesson is to just jump in and live the experience.
The Rambam did not work this way. His Code of Jewish Law really does start at the beginning, (which he thinks is) a very good place to start. And that makes sense. The Rambam is perffect for someone who wants a clear and linear approach to Halacha.
But the Talmud is the conversationally transmitted, personal and not always rational experience of Judaism. Just begin. False start, middle of the book, halfway through the semester, doesn’t matter. Just BEGIN!
Let’s make this two-way: If you have any thoughts to share, please comment on the site.