Meet the Midrash
Wednesdays, noon to 1:00 pm
Published Tuesday, March 18, 2014 8:00 am
Out of the texts of the Torah, the Rabbis created teachings bringing deeper meanings to the wisdom of the Jewish people known as Midrash. Each week we will explore some of these teachings based on the weekly Torah portion. We will gain not only an understanding of what the Rabbis were teaching, but how and why they were able to offer these teachings. While there are many compilations of Midrash from different periods in Jewish history, we will focus our studies on Midrash Rabbah.
Wednesdays 12 noon – 1pm
Friday, March 29, 12-1
This week, we continued our discussion of “Dear Zealots,” the first of the essays in Amos Oz’s collection, Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land. We focused on Oz’s contention that the essence 0f Jewish culture emerges from two basic tendencies, one moral and one intellectual. The moral tendency rests on the principle of “cause no pain,” our reverence for the sanctity of human life and a belief in the equality of human worth (we cannot determine “whose blood is redder”). Oz is concerned that this principle is diminishing in Israel. The intellectual tendency that Oz emphasizes is the Jewish reverence for books, which he contends passes down the lifeblood of Jewish culture. By books, Oz does not mean a particular text (e.g. Torah, Talmud, Shulchan Aruch) but rather the fact that our texts are always reinterpreting one another, exploring and sometimes undermining their predecessors to show their ideas in a different light. Here Oz makes the point that Jews thrive on disagreement, that it is “a vital climate for the growth of a creative life.”
Next week we’ll address any loose ends from Chapter 2, and then move on to a consideration of the final essay in Oz’s collection, “Dreams Israel Should Let Go of Soon” (pp. 109-136). Please come prepared to share whatever knots you encounter in the text and we’ll see what we can do to untangle them.
Our informal discussion group meets every Friday from 12-1 in the CBI Library. All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise or attendance at previous noon study group discussions. Oz’s book is available at a variety of internet outlets.
Join us for a participatory, high-energy Shabbat service, sure to inspire, uplift, educate and engage. Be sure to hang around for food and schmoozing at our Kiddish lunch.
Join us for the year’s first Teen-led Shabbat. Come celebrate with us and be sure to stick around for Kiddush luncheon.