#37 The Books of the Maccabees, Hanukkah, and What Makes Tanakh Tanakh: Concluding class

May 25, 2017

Why were the Books of the Maccabees excluded from the Jewish Bible?
Explore that question, and then review what makes Tanakh our most
central religious text.

#36 Chronicles: Perspectives in Prophetic History

May 11, 2017

A careful analysis between Samuel-Kings and Chronicles enables us to get behind the scenes at how these prophetic books were written and their underlying messages.

#35 Ezra-Nehemiah: Transition to the Second Temple Period

May 4, 2017

The beginning of the Second Temple era (538-432 BCE) stoked great hopes for redemption, but also gave reason for concern and despair. How did the great leaders of this era provide meaningful ways forward during this complex period?

#34 Daniel: The Hidden Story of Hanukkah

April 27, 2017

Overview of the messages of Daniel, including a look at how the book secretly appears to be speaking about the story of the Maccabees.

#33 Kohelet: Sanctifying the Human Perspective

March 23, 2017

Kohelet made many rabbinic thinkers nervous about the religious lessons of the book. In this lecture, we explore what makes Kohelet unique within the biblical tapestry, and what voice it contributes to a thoughtful religious life.

#32 Lamentations: Putting the Mouth before the Eye

March 16, 2017

A consideration of how the alphabetical poetic structure contains a valuable interpretive tool as Lamentations grapples with a relationship with God at Israel's darkest moment in the biblical period.

#31 The Book of Esther: What They Didn’t Teach Us in Day School

March 10, 2017

By imposing selected Midrashim onto the biblical text, many yeshiva-educated students have a difficult time seeing what is in the text itself. This lecture begins by unpacking the messages of the text itself, and then demonstrates how the Sages of the Midrash identified all of these lessons by working from within the text. You will never read the Megillah the same way again.

#30 The Book of Ruth: Feel Good Narrative or Ambiguous?

March 2, 2017

An exploration of two different readings of the Book of Ruth, which both fit the text perfectly. Are the characters pure and excellent, or are they more complex?

#29 Song of Songs: Romance and Religion

February 23, 2017

An overview of Rabbi Yuval Cherlow's remarkable book on the Song of Songs, exploring the complexities of religious experience through an understanding of human love. Sources available on our site: https://www.jewishideas.org/online-learning/classes-lectures

#28 Job: Addressing the Hole Created By the Torah

February 9, 2017

The courageous Book of Job addresses the problem of bad things
happening to good people. A literary analysis of the book coupled with
its primary religious messages. Sources available on our Online Learning page.