I was recently asked about how disciples studied with rabbis. What age were disciples, and did they pay the rabbi a fee to study? How did they support themselves at the same time? Did the rabbis work at some craft to support themselves?
Here’s a little experiment for you. Right now, make yourself smile. Look in the mirror. Are you really, genuinely smiling? Or is it a little forced? Okay, now make yourself laugh. Did you fill the room with hearty guffawing? Or did you find it quite difficult? Okay, now make yourself happy.
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog called “Good First Reads About Jesus’ Jewish Context” which shared what I’d give to people who are just beginning to learn about Hebraic studies. Many of you wonder what else I recommend.
“In many countries, sheep spend their lives in fenced-in pastures where they spend their time grazing and milling about. In Israel, however, where grass has difficulty growing in the arid soil, sheep must know their shepherd, following him obediently from pasture to pasture. There, shepherding is a much more active task.
In Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, we wrote about the life of an ancient disciple in chapter 4, called “Following the Rabbi.” You might remember that the ancient practice of apprenticeship is very similar, and likely the source of some of the traditions of discipleship.
In the book Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, we talk about the Jewish tradition of studying the Scriptures and Jewish commentaries as haverim. Pairs or small groups grapple together aloud over a text, earnest in their desire to dig deeper.