Count the Omer with Hadar: A Moment of Midrash

Date and Time
Daily on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 9:00 - 9:15 PM Eastern
May 6-Jun 7 2024


Join Hadar faculty for 15 minutes four nights a week as we count the Omer and explore some of the most classic books of Midrash together. This class is drop-in, and you are invited to attend as many sessions as you can!

Mondays: Dena Weiss
Avot DeRabbi Natan
In addition to the custom to count the Omer nightly, there is a long-standing practice to study Pirkei Avot on each Shabbat afternoon of the Omer period. We will blend these two practices by studying Avot DeRabbi Natan, a midrashic work that serves almost as a "Gemara" on the Mishnah of Avot, a section of Mishnah for which there is no accompanying section in the Talmud. Some of the dearest stories about our sages can be found only in this work, as well as new twists to teachings that are found elsewhere in the Talmud. While formally composed as a type of commentary to the Mishnah, it's also a work not afraid to disagree with the Mishnah's premises and to challenge some of the promises made by the Rabbis in the Mishnah.

Tuesdays: Rabbi Goldie Guy
Vayikra Rabbah
On Tuesdays, we'll be learning midrash relating to the mitzvah of the omer sacrifice from Vayikra Rabbah, a collection of sermons based on individual verses from Vayikra. We’ll explore the questions of: How does the omer sacrifice emphasize our interdependent relationship with God? What might be the metaphysical significance of this agricultural sacrifice? Together, we will connect these teachings to our nightly practice of counting the omer. 

Wednesdays: Rabbi Elie Lehmann
Old and New Midrashic Interpretations of Sinai 
What really happened at Sinai and what was the experience of revelation like? Each week we will explore a text that helps us understand in a deeper way what it means to receive Torah. In addition to some classical midrashim, we will also look at modern midrash and poetry.

Thursdays: Rabbi Effy Unterman
Revelation in the Zohar
While we often think of the Zohar in terms of its contributions to the articulation and study of Kabbalah, the Zohar contains many new midrashic readings and its genre is modeled after earlier Midrashim. One of these midrashic passages is the earliest description of Jews staying up all night on Shavuot to learn Torah! We will study some selections from the Zohar describing revelation and imagining Divine encounter as we prepare to receive the Torah on Shavuot.

Faculty Bio

Dena Weiss
Dena Weiss

Dena Weiss is Rosh Beit Midrash and Senior Faculty at Hadar, where she teaches Talmud, Midrash, and Hasidut. Dena earned an MA in Theology from Harvard Divinity School. She has studied and taught in a variety of Jewish educational settings including Drisha, Midreshet Lindenbaum, and Pardes.

Rabbi Goldie Guy

Rabbi Goldie Guy is Director of Hadar Chicago. She was ordained in 2017 by Yeshivat Maharat, where she was also a Talmud instructor and a UJA fellow. She previously served as Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago.

Rabbie Elie Lehmann
Rabbi Elie Lehmann

Rabbi Elie Lehmann is Director of Hadar Boston. He studied for two years as a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar and has served as Campus Rabbi and University Chaplain at Boston University Hillel since graduating from Hebrew College Rabbinical School in 2017. Elie lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife, Anya, and their sons, Razi, Shalev, and Ziv.

Rabbi Effy Unterman
Rabbi Effy Unterman

Effy is the Senior Director of Content at Hadar. Effy studied at Yeshiva University for his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, his Masters in Jewish Education, and his rabbinical ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He received a Wexner Fellowship and Davidson Scholarship, and lives in New Jersey with his wife and three children.

Count the Omer with Hadar

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