There is a very old tradition in Judaism of study and learning that dates back many thousands of years. Our culture is deep and rich with many texts beginning with Torah and other biblical books, through the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, the commentaries of Maimonides, Rashi and scores of Medieval sages, the writings of Chassidic masters, and through to today's writers. There's a lot to dig into and absorb.
The format for debate and learning established before the common era (BCE) and continued to today has been for people to sit down at a table across from each other, usually two at a time, and dig through the texts word by word to explore all the meanings and ramifications of what's written. It's the way yeshiva students learn the massive quantities of discourse to become ordained as scholars and rabbis. This past weekend I was invited to a local Chabad center to enjoy the interaction of a group of yeshiva bochers (students) and members of the congregation.
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