Introduction to the Kreuzberg Kollel's Talmud Commentary on Sukkah, Chapter Five

Welcome note

Dear Fellow Learners

You are about to peer into 5 months of work from the Kreuzberg Kollel, a Jewish learning collective based in Berlin, Germany. At the Kreuzberg Kollel, we believe that we are vessels through which to process the text. We hope, that by sharing our thoughts and our commentary on this chapter with you, that you, too, will begin to find your own voice in this text.

These pages are our hearts, our souls, and our minds. We hope it can help to elucidate your own understanding of the text, the Talmud, and yourself.

Here are links to each of our commentaries on the fifth chapter of Sukkah

What is a commentary?

We began our study of the fifth chapter of Sukkah in February, 2021. We began in the midst of a lockdown, and it was from our living rooms that we delved into the central questions of this chapter. What is joy? What is nostalgia? What is our connection to this long-gone Temple, this foreign and native land?

This chapter was filled with many many questions, and fewer answers. What motivates the evil inclination? What is the influence of the past on our futures? In this commentary, we attempt to address these questions, and more.

The Vilna printing of the Talmudic page has the core text at the center, with the related commentaries surrounding it. Our commentary is here in the virtual space, but between the words and the chapters and the ideas are our words, our approaches, our pictures and ideas of what is possible.

Some come and learn from these budding scholars, thinkers, philosophers and Rabbis. Come and hear what they have to say, as they grapple with the meaning of the ancient in our current breathes, as they use the past as a vehicle for what is to come.

How to use this commentary

We've separated the chapter into eight different source sheets---one for every Daf. You can find links below!

We've tried to intersperse the actual text (which will always appear in the typical Sefaria format) with our own thoughts and commentaries. We've tried to use different colors so that you can see the different kinds of comments. Some are musings on Halacha (Jewish Law). Others are historical overviews. Yet more are pieces of art or personal reflections which are the outputs of how we processed the text.

We encourage you to read the Talmud text, and use the color-coded commentaries as much as it is helpful for you. The commentaries are meant to elucidate the text, to inspire you, and to help you internalize these words in a new way.

In some places, we've signed our names. If you are interested in learning more from any of the members of our Kollel, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

Thank you, and enjoy the commentary!

Let's get started!

Are you ready to learn Daf Yomi with the Kreuzberg Kollel? For your convenience, a direct link to the Kollel's commentary on the next day's Daf will be at the end of each sheet. Let's begin our learning of the fifth chapter of Sukkah together!

About the Kreuzberg Kollel and Base Berlin

The Kreuzberg Kollel is a project of Base Berlin/Hillel Deutschland, and is a communal learning space geared towards in-depth, committed Jewish learning, and an incubator for developing new talent and creative Europe-based teachers rooted in the Jewish tradition.

Kollels, houses of higher Jewish learning, have traditionally been reserved for married Orthodox men. Many Jews who are passionate about learning have felt frustrated by the imperfect options available, finding the small groups in the synagogues, pursuit of academic degrees in the universities, or going abroad to learn limited or inaccessible. Women and other marginalized groups are even more limited in their learning opportunities.

The Kreuzberg Kollel aims to be both open and deep, inclusive and dedicated. Participants of all genders and Jewish backgrounds commit to one day a week of intensive Bible and Talmud study. In addition, participants will be able to propose independent study paths and take part in diverse, comprehensive afternoon seminars with guest lecturers from around the globe. The Kreuzberg Kollel will serve as a local training ground to create a larger cadre of open, compassionate, self-confident, and textually rooted Jewish educators.