learning to write

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  • #1966619
    square root of 2
    Participant

    I recently read an article by Rabbi Norman Lamm and, as always when I read something well written, I marvel at the rich vocabulary, the flawless sentence structure, etc. I would very much love to write like that–both in Hebrew and English–but I’m far from it. How do good writers do it? Lots of practice? Early good education?
    Any tips how I can improve mine own riting?

    #1966737
    american_yerushalmi
    Participant

    Start by reading– as much as possible. Start with classics and later to the more contemporary authors. There’s more to it, but that’s a good way to start. Hatzlacha!

    #1966743

    Start with reading good English. It is usually by people whose English is 1st, or close to, language and who have both yeshiva and college education. Brits use more words than Mericans.

    Rabbi Sacks Z’L? Rav Avrtaham Twersky Z’L – less poetic, but well written.

    In terms of writing, Jewish schools do not teach it well more often than other subjects. To teach math and science, one would need some qualifications. English is sometimes seen can be taught by anyone who can speak that language and is not otherwise occupied … So, start with a small classics – Strunk “Elements of Style” and then do online classes, maybe Khan Academy. If taking academic course, be careful, as English teachers tend to be very aggressive in pushing their ideology onto students – more likely progressivism, use some obscure Arab or African literature, sometimes their religion.

    PS one writer asked a more successful one what is his secret. He asked back – what do you do eary in morning? Of course, I am writing! And I am crossing it out.

    #1966759
    square root of 2
    Participant

    Thanks for the suggestions. I just need to know how long it’s reasonable to expect it to take. Obviously no one can give anyone an exact timeline; I’m more wondering if this is the type of thing you can pick up in your spare time or it’s something you have to focus on, full semesters in college etc.

    @always that story is told about the author of the ketzos hachoshen and r’ aryeh leib tzintz. They were referring to content, not style.

    #1966770
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    When someone passed on to the next world, the gate keeper asked, who is this? He was answered, it is I. He retorted back, another English teacher.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by Reb Eliezer.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by Reb Eliezer.
    #1966768
    DovidBT
    Participant

    Learning to write is a long, gradual process. If you do an internet search, there are lots of web sites and articles on the subject.

    #1966821
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Grammar, to be able to differentiate between good and well, and who and whom needs education.

    #1966776
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    You must be good in mathematics. A square of has for every 1 on the side 1 2/5 (square root of 2) in its diagonal. Tosfas in Sukkah (8,1), kol amseh, explains that it is inaccurate. 5 in the side would have 5 times the square root of two, 5 times 1 2/5, 7, according to the above, in its diagonal but the area of the inner square (rombus) of 5 times the square root of 2 is one half of 100 or 50 (the area of a half of square of 10) and not 7 squared 49.

    #1966837

    sqrt(2), thanks for the names to the story. So, if you knew the answer, why are you asking?! I think this includes style. Style is there to explain the context, not for the beauty contest. Also, for length. Make it short, delete what is not germane to the idea.

    Reb E, I think the topic author is simply “irrational”. Gemora is often practical, approximate in math, as in modern statistics and game theory. Make it easy for a farmer to do on his own, rather than hire a lawyer. Greeks were obsessed with needless precision, they are still trying to divide a segment in 3 parts.

    #1966866
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    AAQ, What you are saying is a Perush Hamishnayus from the Rambam on the mishna in Eruvin. If the diameter is a tefach, the circumference is three tefochim. The Rambam explains that Pi is impossible to be known exactly, so the mishna took it as three, a round number, as the yam shel shelomo.

    #1966876
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Rash in Kelaim (5,5) quotes the Pythagorean Theorem in the name of Chachmei Hamidos.

    #1967295

    RebE, exactly, re: Pi. Will Moschiach reveal all number of Pi? Or will he just ask us why we did not see Hashem in Euler’s formula or in E = mc2?

    At the same time, look Prof/Nobel winner in economics Robert Aumann on yerusha of three widows in Baba Bathra 107a. He shows that the accepted opinion there corresponds to his economic theories. I had an explanation of two other opinions there, but I won’t post it here, as I could not explain to Prof. Aumann, and now don’t understand it myself.

    #1967297

    On PI, See also Eruvin 14a and a gematriya from Melachim hinting 3.1415926 – so Hashem thought it important to code it in ..

    I heard that Rashbatz explains R Yohanan in sukka 7 is using better values for pi and … sqrt(2) in his calculations, but does not explain it, preferring teaching in a simple way. Seems like “math is hard” was not invented by current generation of students …

    #1967443
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The hint in Melachim is the GRA. kav = 106 and kavo with a ‘heh’ = 111, adjusting
    3(111) = 333/106 = 3.141509
    Maybe we can adjust it. There is a known value of PI accurate to 6 decimal places, 355/113=3.1415929.. By including the additional vov we have vekav = 112, vekavoh = 117
    3(117) = 351 add to it the number of letters of 4 = 355/113 adjusting the denominator by a kolel.

    #1967455
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    In Melachim (1,7,23) the Ralbag adjust it by 1/7 for the known approximation of 22/7.

    #1967456
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    With can explain many things with E=mc2. Hashem create everything from energy as in string theory. His movement being everywhere greater than the speed of light where time stops. את הברכה אשר תשמעו we need that the condition be before action but by Hashem everything happens now.

    #1967469
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The gemora is Eruvin 14a asks on the mishna how do we know that? Why don’t we measure it but the gemora asks Tosfas and the Rambam’s kashyeh, how do we know that since the value of PI is not known exactly, we can approximate it by 3?

    #1967506
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Should be above, We can explain many things and Hashem created everything from energy.

    #1967575

    22/7 is not an approximation, but an upper bound. Archimedes had it
    223/71 = 3.1408 < π < 3.1429 = 22/7
    Ptolemy had it already 3.1416
    By the time of Gaon, 100 digits were already known

    #1967594
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    Rabbi Dr. Lamm ZT”L had a Bachelors of Science, a PhD in Jewish philosophy, and a very long history of writing well-researched and well-regarded books and articles. He most likely got his start early, and in his college years his schooling required him to be very well written.

    So if you want to be a decent writer, read a few books on writing and write a lot of articles. If you want to be a GREAT writer, go to college.

    #1967908

    Yserbius >> If you want to be a GREAT writer, go to college.

    not sure this is a reasonable path. College is a good direction for technical and medical professions. Writing? common undergraduate classes give pretty trivial info. Going to a good liberal art college specializing in writing? you will be immersed into super-liberal topics – or maybe into super-religious topics if you go to a conservative college. Maybe YU offers something reasonable?

    #1968019
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    I had a religious vocabulary teacher who provided interesting anecdotes using the words learned. I still remember some of them.

    #1968265

    RebE > who provided interesting anecdotes using the words learned.

    agreed. Yes, using in context rather than memorizing. May depend on a person though.

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