Samsung Korea VP Visits Yeshiva to Help Koreans Learn Talmud


charlie-park-vice-president-of-samsung-koreaCharlie Park, Vice President of Samsung Korea, visited an Israeli Yeshiva at Shalavim last week, accompanied by a South Korean camera crew, and met with the program directors and with students to document how students study Gemara at the Yeshiva.

The South Koreans have developed a fascination with the study of Talmud. The country’s ambassador to Israel, Ma Young-Sam, has told the “Culture Today” TV show that Talmud study is now a mandatory part of the country’s school curriculum.

In addition, it is said, almost every home in South Korea boasts a Korean version of the Talmud, and mothers commonly teach it to their children, who call it the “Light of Knowledge.”

Young-Sam explained, “We were very curious about the high academic achievements of the Jews, who have a high percentage of Nobel laureates in all fields – literature, science and economics.

“This is a remarkable achievement. We tried to understand: What is the secret of the Jewish people? How are they, more than other people, able to reach those impressive accomplishments? Why are Jews so intelligent?

“The conclusion we arrived at is that one of your secrets is that you study the Talmud… We believe that if we teach our children Talmud, they will also become geniuses. This is what stands behind the rationale of introducing Talmud study to our school curriculum. I, for example, have two sets of the Talmud.”

While touring the bais medrash, the study hall, he said he now felt he understood “the growing grounds” of the Jewish genius.

Park was at the yeshiva to get a first-hand account of this wonder, but his trip also involved business. He was in Israel to review possible acquisitions of Israeli startup companies.

Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency

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  1. I met this fine man a couple of days ago and had an extended conversation. He is a great guy and seemed very sincere about wanting to learn about Israel’s unique startup culture.

  2. I think Talmud study is fine; but I bet if they studied the study habits of the Nobel laureates, they would find most came from secular homes.


  3. Talmud study is fine; but if they studied the study habits of the Nobel laureates, I bet they would find that most came from secular homes.

  4. It’s really asur for a non-yehudi to learn Talmud. But these Koreans learn it for its potential of sharpening their minds and want to learn for business, etc. They said they realize that the Jews are noted for their intelligence and found that their learning Talmud sharpens the mind. If so, they can learn but it definitely is not for the reasons nor the same, in any way, as when the Yehudi is learning it l’shem Shamayim. Guess, one can call it ‘complimentary’ to the Jewish people.

  5. Any chance we can get Mr. Park to convince reform Jews of the same thing?

    Also, when is Artscroll’s Korean translation coming out, and will it be on sale at Eichlers?