Talmud Bava Metzia
We will study the first and sixth chapters of Bava Metzia. Bava Metzia discusses civil matters such as property law and usury, one's obligations to guard lost property that has been found, or property explicitly entrusted to an individual. The first chapter explores laws that pertain to found articles, objects or animals, and appointing a messenger to care for a found article. The sixth contains regulations concerning hiring labourers, cattle, or transferring goods and the responsibilities of the drivers. This course will teach Talmudic structure and terminology and is designed to enhance skills in reading Mishna and Gemara. The course presumes a certain facility with Hebrew text, but does not require it. One can follow the arguments by listening carefully.
Sundays, 8:00 - 9:30 p.m., October 20 - May 18
Midrash: Schools teach it, speakers quote it, and Jewish Law and Jewish Belief depend on it - but what is it? How did the earliest Sages develop midrashic lessons from biblical verses, and what were they trying to tell us? We will study Midrash Rabbah from the text, drawing on additional sources to help us look at Torah through the eyes of its first teachers.
Tuesdays, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. NOTE NEW TIME
Studies in Genesis: The Birth of Moral Selfhood
We will carefully examine and compare the approaches taken by different classical commentaries in analyzing the Torah text focusing on elements of language and structure to uncover and interpret literary patterns. We will study the story of of Avraham and Sarah in Genesis, chapter 11:26 though chapter 13. Topics will include the migration to Canaan; God's call to Avraham; Avraham and Sarah's marriage and mission, their descent to Egypt, traits of the patriarchs; the purpose of trials, the supremacy of the Land of Israel, the way of God, the way of righteousness and justice and calling in God's name. The course encourages group discussion and inquiry. The overall goal is to demonstrates the richness of ideas that are contained in each verse.
Tuesdays, 8 - 9:30 p.m.
Wednesdays, 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Philosopher vs. Mystic:
The medieval world of Spanish Judaism was a hotbed for philosophical growth among great rabbinic thinkers of the time. Great rabbis such as Maimonides, Ibn Ezra, Ibn Gabirol, Abraham ibn Daud, and Yehuda HaLevi showed great deference to the study of philosophy while at the same time remaining unshakably committed to the Torah. But these rabbis' approach to philosophy, even among contemporaries, was anything but monolithic. For this 5-week seminar we will examine the respective approaches of Rambam and R' Yehuda HaLevi and note how their differing views form a tension-filled dichotomy within Jewish thought that exists to this day.
Thursdays, 9:45-10:45 a.m. October 17 - November 14
The Foundations of Prayer:
This three week course will examine the fundamentals of our prayers from the days of Abraham, through the formation of tefilah, prayer, as we have come to know it at the time of the men of the Great Assembly until present day. This course will provide the participants with a greater understanding of the prayers we recite and give a new meaning to their own prayers.
Thursdays, 8 - 9:30 p.m.
Hannukah: Liturgy, Literature, and Legacy
Sunday, November 24, 8 p.m.
To join ongoing classes call 416-877-2050