Summer Program
Course Descriptions Summer 2022

Beginners

Exploring the Mysterious Stories of Creation – Rav Chaim Tabasky

Study of stories such as the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge and the Story of Creation, with emphasis on Rashi’s method, will provide a platform for discussing issues concerning the nature of Torah study and man’s relationship to HaShem and his fellow man

Great Debates in Chumash – Rabbanit Stacey Goldman

Looking at classic stories in the Torah from the perspectives of different commentaries. Was Moshe rabbeinu saw the golden calf, did he grow so weak that he dropped the luchot, or did he break them in anger? Were the midwives brave Jewish women or righteous gentiles? Was the Mishkan always part of the Jewish narrative or did it appear as a result of the golden calf? We will explore these topics and others from several different angles and perspectives to see the beauty of the 70 faces of the Torah. 

Women and Halacha – Rabbanit Navit Tzadik

In a world that equality is such a central value, women’s place in Halachic Judaism raises a lot of questions. What mitzvot are women exempt from and why? Are women encouraged to learn Torah as men are? When is a separation between men and women necessary according to halacha? Starting from the verses and halachic discussion in the Talmud, we will go through the different sources and rulings to help shape a better understanding of the value of equality in Halachic Judaism. 

Though the class is only one hour and there will be no assigned chevrutah time, questions and discussion on the sources is encouraged.

Sugyot in Brachot: Kriat Shema, Exile and Redemption – Rachel Seidenberg

This course will serve as an introduction to the world of Talmud. Throughout the course, we will explore fundamental concepts within the Oral Law. Topics will include development and importance of the Talmud, the difference between Mishnah and Gemara, the structure of the Talmud, navigating a page of Talmud and fundamental commentators on the Talmud. Both halachic and aggadic discussions commonly found in the Talmud will be explored in the class. The course will consist of both lecture and discussion as well as supported Chavruta learning of Talmudic sugyot.

Halacha – Rav Da’vid Sperling

We will be meeting for four times to learn halacha (Jewish law). Each class will involve a “chevrutah” (study partner) learning session of the sources for class, and then an interactive class. At the end of each class, we will have time for practical questions and answers about Jewish laws. The topics we will be looking at are “Candles and Kiddush”, “Muktzah”, Heating Up food on Shabbat” and Inviting Guests Who Don’t Keep Shabbat”.

Intermediate

Immersing into the laws of Purity – Rabbanit Navit Tzadik

So much of our timeless Torah is filled with details of the laws purity. Only a fracture of those law are kept without the temple.  Laws of family purity and rabbinic laws of purifying our hands before a meal. We will delve deep into the many laws of purity and impurity and understand on a very rational and practical level the relevance and meaning of these timeless laws today.

The Garden of Eden through the Mirror of Ages – Rabbanit Neima Novetsky

This course will explore how the story of Adam and Chavvah in the Garden and the sin of the Tree of Knowledge have been understood throughout the generations.  What was life like in the garden before the sin?  What was the nature of the knowledge granted by the tree and why was it forbidden? What might this suggests about Hashem’s original plan for mankind and what He considered man’s idyllic state?  Finally, how is the story of Kayin and Hevel an outgrowth of the events in the garden? Commentators disagree greatly on these questions, with their readings influenced not only by their unique understandings of the text but also by their personal conceptions of what constitutes Paradise and the ideal human, and possibly also by polemics and the need to respond to Christian readings of the story. As we explore the fascinating and manifold interpretations of the narrative, we will be able to truly appreciate how “there are seventy faces to Torah”, each one enlightening and inspiring.


Talmud – Seventy Facets of Torah: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing? – Rav Hanan Schlesinger

Traditional Jewish texts are full of disagreement and multiple opinions. But is this an ideal or is it a result of faulty transmission and lack of full understanding? If the latter, how do we cope with this problematic and confusing situation? If the former, why should this be the case and what is the philosophy behind it?  And how do we live Jewish lives in light of it?

This class will study a multiplicity of Talmudic passages, and will learn as well midrashic texts and some later sources that deal directly and indirectly with these issues. We will find a meta-disagreement about disagreement as well as surprisingly relevant approaches to pluralism within Judaism.

Halacha – Rav Da’vid Sperling

We will be meeting for three times to learn halacha (Jewish law). Each class will involve a “chevrutah” (study partner) learning session of the sources for class, and then an interactive class. 

The topics we will be looking at are “Intent When Performing Mitzvot”, “Do Current Norms Change Halachic Standards”, and “Heter Mechira”.

Advanced

התמודדות חדשנית בעולם הכשרות – הרב קובי גיגי

הטכנולוגיה והעולם המודרני מזמנות שאלות חדשות בתחומי ההלכה בכלל ובהלכות כשרות בפרט. במסגרת לימודנו נדון בחלק מההתמודדויות החדשות בתחום הכשרות:

האמצעים הטכנולוגיים של השנים האחרונות מציפים את בעיית החרקים בעוצמה שלא היתה בעבר, מכיוון שהיא מאפשרת לזהות ייצורים שלא ניתן לזהותם באמצעות עין רגילה.  במסגרת הלימוד נדון בהשפעה זו על ההלכה למעשה. 

בנוסף, נדון בבליעה בכלים אשר מעיון בפוסקים ניתן להיווכח שהם סבורים שכלי מעביר טעם ואילו היום אנו לא מרגישים זאת ואף נעשו ניסויים אשר מוכיחים זאת, כיצד זה משפיע הלכה למעשה? האם ההלכה מתחשבת בשינוי זה? 

דרך הלימוד תהיה עיון מהמקורות הראשוניים ביותר ועד להלכה למעשה. תוך התייחסות למצבים החדשים. וכך נלמד איך ההתייחסות לשאלות מודרניות בהלכה נשענת על עקרונות הלכתיים מושרשים

Shivim Panim La’Akeda: Challenging our Assumptions – Rabbanit Neima Novetsky

This class will look in depth at the narrative of the Akeidah through multiple lenses: literary and structural analysis, parshanut, midrash, and art and literature, with each lens giving us a new perspective on a well-known story.  We’ll start our study with a literary analysis of the story, doing a close reading, and using alhatorah’s Tanakh Lab to uncover and analyze its keywords and allusions to other narratives, thereby opening up the story’s many questions.  We’ll then address the story’s manifold conceptual and theological issues by turning to both Midrash and Parshanut, noting how many commentators’ readings of the story challenge some of our core theological beliefs and perceptions.  We’ll close by looking at the story through the lenses of art and literature.  By comparing medieval piyyutim and elegies with modern art and poetry, we’ll see how medieval writers, living in a period in which their own children were being martyred, read the Akeidah (and evaluated Avraham, Yitzchak and Hashem) quite differently than modern authors.

מעמד הר סיני ועשרת הדברות: לחשוף פנים חדשות בברית הקדומה – הרב דוד סבתו

קול גדול ולא יסף? מעמד הר סיני מתואר בתורה כמעמד התגלות ייחודית וחד פעמית, העומד בבסיס הברית בין ישראל לה’. אולם, לפי אחת הפרשנויות בחז”ל – ההתגלות במעמד הר סיני לא פסקה מעולם, וממשיכה להישמע במשך הדורות. ואכן, לאורך תנ”ך מהדהדים מעמד הר סיני ועשרת הדברות, המתפרשים מחדש בהקשרים היסטוריים חדשים. בשיעור נעיין בתיאורי מעמד הר סיני בתנ”ך ובפרשנויות התנ”כיות לעשרת הדברות – בספר דברים, בנבואות, ועוד, וננסה לחשוף פנים חדשות בברית הקדומה

Sugyot Dealing with Tzedaka and Communal Responsibility – Rav Chaim Tabasky

In our study in the first perek of Baba Batra we will explore the Talmudic outlook on taxes and charity. We will concentrate on the structure and development of the Talmudic passage (sugya), with an eye to interpretation and halachic resolution, and place on emphasis on developing reading skills.

פרשנות פנים מקראית בתנ”ך – הרבנית אילנה חדד

ארועים רבים מסופרים בתנ”ך יותר מפעם אחת. במהלך שיעורינו נתבונן בסיפורי תורה החוזרים פעמיים כמו למשל סיפור הבריאה. נעסוק בסיפורים המסופרים ספר מלכים ובדברי הימים ונראה כיצד הם מתארים אותם באופנים שונים

 

All Levels

Halacha Survey – Rav Da’vid Sperling

This class provides an overview of some of the most commonly encountered laws that face a Jew living in the modern world. Some of the topics to be addressed include charity, keeping Shabbat and Kashrut in a non-observant environment, and prayer.

The Paradox of Customs: Dividing and Uniting – Rabbanit Navit Tzadik

Ashkenazim, Sefaradim, Teimanim. Are our ancient traditions keeping us together or tearing us apart?

Great Debates: Beit Shamai vs. Beit Hillel – Rabbanit Navit Tzadik

Over centuries Beit Shamai and Beit Hillel had major conflict over shaping halachic Judaism.  Do we embrace all new comers or do we check for alterior motives? Through times of tension and times of unity we will learn about the great halls of study of then and now.

Dynamic Tradition: Understanding Halachic Change – Rabbanit Navit Tzadik

Psak halacha (halachic ruling) means both to stand still (psak) and to move forward (halacha). Our timeless Torah is faced with moral dilemmas in every generation. We will explore halachic flexibility in past generations and try to predict which changes are on their way and which pillars will never budge.