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Tanach Survey

 

Explore and discover the themes of the books of Tanach from Sefer Yehoshua through Divrei Hayamim. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the historical context of every sefer through an in-depth study of two perakim per book. Of course, no survey of Tanach would be complete without learning and incorporating the timeless moral and ethical teachings that relate to modern day living.

 

 
 

 

Matan Torah

 

Experience the event that shaped the destiny and served as the mission statement for the Jewish People. Emphasis will be placed on in-depth study of texts and commentaries that explain the Divine Revelation at Mount Sinai and its eternal message and philosophical teachings. In addition, great focus will be placed on gaining a deeper understanding of the second half of Sefer Shemot including topics like the laws of Mishpatim, the Mishkan, and the Golden Calf.

 

 
 

 

The Yosef Story

 

Jealousy, Admiration, Schism, Reconciliation, Dreams, Reality, Leaders, Followers, Truth, and Lies are topics that will be explored through the text and commentaries as themes and stories from the last four parshiot of Sefer Bereishit will be analyzed.

 

 
 

 

Garden of Eden

 

The story of the Garden of Eden is one of the best known stories in the world. However, the fame a story attains carries many pitfalls. Readers familiar with a story tend to gloss over important details, since they are so familiar with the themes and events. This course intends to revisit the story of the Garden of Eden, and in doing so, reveal some startling themes
and elements that are sometimes overlooked, yet are fundamental in their relevance to all of humanity.

 

 
 

 

Tehillim

 

Why is Tehillim unique? Why is Tehillim the “go to” text for most life cycle events? What was King David trying to convey? This course will delve into the deeper meaning of the text with the accompaniment of classic commentaries. The course is designed to encourage creative thinking and for students to share their insights and feelings about the messages of Tehillim.

 

 
 

 

Themes in Sefer Bereishit

 

Sibling Rivalry, Jealousy, Murder, Idealism, Responsibility, Relationships, Purpose, Godliness, Fate and Destiny are just some of the themes that will be explored through the stories in Sefer Bereishit. This course will journey back to a time when the Jewish nation was in its formative stage in order to understand: What is the essence of the Jewish people? What is their purpose as a nation and as individuals? Through the lens of modern and classical commentaries and using the biblical text as a springboard, focus and dialogue will be devoted to challenging contemporary issues.

 

 
 

 

Themes in Sefer Iyov

 

Why do bad things happen to good people? What is the nature of true friendship? What is faith? What is our relationship to G-d? Who is Satan? Can we question G-d? Are these questions that G-d poses to us? These questions and more will be answered as Sefer Iyov is analyzed and discussed in-depth. 

 
 

 

Themes in Sefer Yehoshua / Shoftim

 

This course is designed to build skills and increase knowledge of the books of Yehoshua and Shoftim. Great attention will be placed on learning of B’nai Yisrael’s return to the Land of Cana’an, the spies, the conquests, and the time period under Yehoshua’s leadership. Next, Sefer Shoftim will delve into the anarchy of post-Yehoshua period with a special focus on select judges (Devora, Ehud, Shimshon) and the analysis of troubling storylines (Pilagesh b’Givah, Pesel Michah, civil war).

 

 
 

 

Themes/ Narratives in Sefer Bamidbar

 

Sefer Bamiexdbar is one of the most engaging books of the Torah. What is the theme of the book? How does each story connect to the next? Why were the Jewish People so rebellious? Why did Korach and the spies rebel? Why couldn’t Moshe enter the Land of Israel? Why didn’t the Jewish people want to conquer the Land of Israel? This course will illustrate what really happened in the desert during these forty challenging years. Different commentaries will be used to explore the main themes and the background to some of the greatest stories in order to find new perspectives to many perplexing questions.

 

 
 

 

Themes in Megillat Esther

 

Did Vashti really grow a tail? How long did the famous party of Shushan actually last? What was Mordechai’s relationship to Esther? What was Esther’s relationship to Achashverosh? Learn the book of Esther on a profound level and gain an appreciation of the history of the time and an understanding for the individual characters and their contributions to the epic storyline.

 

 
 

 

What’s Bothering Rashi?

 

The study of Rashi, like all of Torah learning, requires serious effort. There is great satisfaction in mastering Rashi’s commentary. Learn to appreciate Rashi’s unique style and language while understanding the motivation and brilliance of his interpretation.

 

 
 

 

Kohelet

 

Kohelet is a profound book that explores the paradoxes of human existence and explains how to have faith and observe God’s mitzvot in truth. In this class, Kohelet will be studied with the aid of classic and modern commentaries and connect some of the timeless wisdom of Kohelet into modern day life.

 

 
 

 

Melachim I

 

Melachim I focuses on the history of Israel and its monarchs. In Melachim I, we learn about Solomon, the renegade Jeroboam, Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel, and the fiery prophet Elijah. However, beyond these important personalities, Melachim I also teaches us about the dilemmas and temptations of power, and the tension between fulfilling our duties to G-d and our own desires.

 

 
 

 

Parshat Hashavua

 

In this course, we will use the parsha as a springboard to explore key issues in hashkafa which relate to how we live our lives and react to situations we face every day. You will walk out each week prepared for the Shabbat table with a d’var torah relevant to life today.

 

 
 

 

Megillat Ruth

 

Megillat Ruth functions as the nexus for many different Tanakh themes: kingship, redemption, chesed, how to build a harmonious and wellfunctioning society, ideal leadership, the relationship between names, identity and destiny, blessings, house building, and effective social interactions. Megillat Ruth documents the manner in which people lead their humdrum lives, without dramatic events and extraordinary miracles. And yet while it records ordinary interactions, it also features the
extraordinary behavior of two great individuals who succeed in reversing the negative trajectory of society during the period of the Judges. Ruth and Boaz teach us how two individuals can act in accordance with their own conscience and in contrast to the social alienation and apathy that prevails. In doing so, they bring this lawless and hopeless situation to an end and pave the way toward a society of daily blessings, in which the nation can build a strong and unified house. A deeper understanding of this magisterial book and its exemplary characters will have a positive impact upon our society, especially in this blossoming and critical stage of building a society in modern Israel.

 

 
 

 

10 Plagues

 

Do the messages of the 10 plagues have relevance today? Were there only 10 plagues? Were the plagues educational or punitive? Did G-d really need execute the 10 plagues in order to take the Jewish People out of Egypt? Are there any patterns within the 10 plagues? In this course, we will delve into each plague through an analysis of text, commentaries,
and archeology. We will uncover the messages that are found within each plague and learn new perspectives on how to be a successful Torah Jew in the modern world.

 

 
 

 

Parshat Kedoshim

 

Explore various concepts and mitzvot found in Parshat Kedoshim. Topics to be covered: the concept of holiness, honoring one’s parents, loving your fellow Jew, rebuke, mitzvot applicable to the Land of Israel, shatnez, and idolatry. We will utilize classical and modern texts to aid us in understanding the relevance of each topic and focus on our development and growth through the study of this rich Parsha.

 

 
 

 

Living with the Times

 

Inspiring weekly discussions related to the Parsha, holidays, and current events as we connect the topics to our daily lives. Discussions draw from various Chassidic sources (Tanya, Likutie Maharan, Rav Kook, Rav Shlomo Carlebach).

 

 
 

 

Torah Touring

 

The Beit Midrash might seem intimidating at first, with so many books such as the Tanach, Mishnah, Gemara, Shulchan Aruch- not to mention the thousands of commentaries- where does one begin? Torah Touring will introduce and help you navigate through classical sefarim and commentaries while learning various topics to assist you in your journey
through the Beit Midrash. Rashi, Ramban, Tosafot, Rambam and scores of other great Jewish personalities will come to life as we learn their styles and methodologies and understand their roles in the latticework of rabbinic literature. Most importantly, essential tools will be taught that will help students feel comfortable preparing their own shiurim!

 

 
 

 

Rashi/ Ramban Debates

 

There is little doubt that the two greatest Torah commentators throughout Jewish history were Rashi [1040-1105] and Ramban [1194-1270]. Yet, even when they interpreted the same pesukim, Rashi and Ramban often reached very different conclusions. In this course, we will study a number of instances where Rashi and Ramban disagreed in their understanding of specific Torah passages; while also thinking about why they produced such different interpretations. This course will deepen your understanding of the methodology of Rashi and Ramban.

 

 
 

 

Hashkafic Rambans

 

Exploring Ramban’s exegetic style and methodology, we will delve into famous issues such as: Eretz Yisrael, miracles, G-d testing man, the reasons for the mitzvot, korbanot, the Mishkan, the sins of the Avot, and many more.

 

 
 

 

Netivot Shalom

 

In this course, we will study the Netivot Shalom; a popular collection of essays on the parshat hashavua, written by the contemporary Chassidic master, Rav Shalom Noach Barzovsky z”l, Rebbi of Slonim. Each week, we will delve into an essay connected to the parsha. In each essay, the Slonimer Rebbe takes an idea from the parsha and delves into its deeper
meaning, providing us with Chassidic wisdom, guidance and insight to fortify us in our own spiritual development.

 

 
 

 

Biblio – Drama

 

Bibliodrama is an incredible technique, whereby students “become” the characters in Tanach and are able to understand Chazal’s midrashic interpretations more deeply and personally. We will take certain key stories in Tanach and try to penetrate the pshat level to find the hidden messages left for us to decode. Participation is voluntary; this is not just a course for
drama oriented students. Even watching can be very illuminating. However, it might just be too difficult holding back from getting involved!

 

 
 

 

King David

King David is one of the most interesting, perplexing, and misunderstood figures in Tanach. On the one hand, he was one of our greatest warriors, and on the other, he authored the spiritually charged sefer of Psalms. What motivates David to act in ways that captures G-d’s love for him, while at the same time, acting in ways that bring about G-d’s vengeance? In King
David, we will explore the many stories that shed light on this conflicted personality. We will begin with David’s relationship with King Saul, continue on to his friendship with Jonathan, explore his duel with Goliath, and conclude with his marriage to Batsheva. In all, almost forty chapters of Tanach are dedicated to King David. The main focus of the class will be to learn the profound lessons - both positive and negative – gleaned from the life of this perplexing personality.

 

 
 

 

Shivat Tzion

 

We will study portions from Sefer Ezra which describes the original shivat tzion (return to Israel) from Babylon, and draw parallels with the modern shivat tzion prior to the establishment of the modern State of Israel. We will learn about the similarities between the decree of Cyrus and the Balfour Declaration and reflect on the spiritual significance of a shivat
tzion by secular Jews. By learning about the building of the second Beit Hamikdash after the original shivat tzion, we will also learn lessons about what we can do to bring about the final redemption.

 

 
 

 

Women in the Bible

 

This course will take an in-depth look at women in the Tanach, through a textual analysis of the form and content of specific Biblical narratives. The unique strengths and personality traits of each woman will be assessed through studying their relationships and interactions with others and attempting to place them within the larger structure of the Tanach.
Classical meforshim will be used to enhance our understanding of the relevant text as well as outside sources to develop a greater perspective in studying these women as role models. In addition to concentrating on how to read a story in Tanach, this course will enable students to see these stories through the lenses of history and psychology as well.

 

 
 

 

Serenading the Queen: Tehillim of Kabbalat Shabbat

 

Shabbat, when understood fully, has the potential to fill our weekly lives with endless depth, joy and meaning. In this class, we will examine those Psalms of King David comprising the Friday evening tefilla known as Kabbalat Shabbat. Our purpose will be to deepen our perspective on the meaning of ‘receiving Shabbat’, through the framework of the Psalms chosen to form this tefilla.

 

 

Learn more about the courses we offer in  Halachamore-arrowJewish Thought and Philosophymore-arrowJewish History and Israel Studiesmore-arrow

 

 

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