Re-Reading the Torah with the Sefat Emet
When? Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:30-9:00 AM Eastern, Jan 25-March 3
One of the most distinctive features of the writings and teachings of the Hassidic master, R' Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, the Sefat Emet, is that he returns year after year to the same source, plumbing it over and over for new dimensions and new insights. Each week we will look at two passages from the Sefat Emet, focusing each class on one year’s take on a classical text to learn not only this beautiful and timeless Torah, but also to see how it evolves. All texts will be available in translation.
Perspectives on the Parashah
Rabbi Aviva Richman
When? Fridays, 8:30-9:00 AM Eastern, Jan 28-March 4
We'll study the parashah through the lens of the dynamics of relationship, drawing out insights on the interpersonal and the theological. With an open mind ready for all manner of intellectual critique, and an open heart demanding emotional sensitivity, we'll probe how the parashah can guide us towards relationships rooted in mutual dignity and growth. Each week we'll focus on one or more primary texts at the basis of R. Aviva Richman's weekly Dvar Torah, with an opportunity for questions and discussion.
What’s Mine is Mine, What’s Yours is Yours: Robbing and Stealing in Law and Lore
When? Mondays, 5:00-6:00 PM Eastern, Jan 24-Feb 28
Respecting the property of one another is one of the core principles of a lawful society. The Torah and Rabbinic Literature take theft very seriously, but also have some surprising attitudes towards what it means to take something that belongs to someone else and what is the proper way that thieves should be brought to justice. There is a story beyond every act of taking something that doesn’t belong to you, a story behind every loss of what we think of as ours, and another story behind what happens when we try and only sometimes succeed in setting everything aright after the fact.
Introduction to Practical Halakhah
Rabbi Miriam-Simma Walfish (co-taught with Jamie Weisbach)
When? Mondays and Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 PM Eastern, Jan 24-March 3
In this class we will take a tour of some of the core elements of Jewish ritual law: Prayer, Shabbat, Kashrut, Niddah, and Mourning. Throughout the course, we will explore the processes through which legal rulings developed and we will surface tensions and disputes that get at the heart of what each area of law is about. There will also be opportunities for practical Q and A. This class is designed for those interested in deepening their understanding of Halakhah and for people interested in deepening their own practice.
Holidays in Midrash and Aggadah
Rabbi Tali Adler
When? Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM Eastern, Jan 25-March 1
Who first celebrated Chanukah? Who baked the first matzot and why? If you answered the Maccabees and the Jews leaving Egypt, you're correct--and, according to midrash and aggadah, aslo a little bit wrong! Join us as we study the holidays through the lens of midrash and aggadah, and learn how they can help us understand and appreciate familiar holidays and old stories in a new light.
In the Image of God: Male and Female
Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg
When? Wednesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM Eastern, Jan 26-March 2
For the most part, Jewish texts have historically referred to God in masculine terms. Whether this was the result of actually conceiving of God as male, or simply defaulting to grammatically male forms, the effect on readers has been the same: A tendency to depict God as an old man with a beard. But in both the Tanakh and Rabbinic literature, we find moments that push against this story of a male divinity, moments in which God is depicted as, for example, a nursing mother, or a midwife. In this class, we'll consider these texts both in their historical setting and for their theological usefulness to us.
Tuesday Night Talmud: The Rabbi and the Emperor, and Other Stories
When? Tuesdays, 7:45-9:00 PM Eastern, Jan 26-March 2
Through some Aggadic selections from Talmud Avodah Zarah, we'll explore questions of Jewish/non-Jewish difference. What is it that separates Jews from non-Jews? In what ways can non-Jews act like Jews, or Jews act like non-Jews, or otherwise blur the boundary? To what extent is there really a boundary at all?