Recordings from the 2020 Winter Learning Intensive

Class Title Faculty Listening Library
Search for Authenticity

In the Jewish tradition authentic living is a spiritual practice that we cultivate and is actually essential to the spiritual Jewish way of living. However, what do we mean by authenticity? What are we searching for? What parts of ourselves fall within the practice of cultivating authentic living? We shall explore two verses in Deuteronomy 29:9-10 that provide an answer and teach to the textured, diverse and complex expression of authentic living. “You are standing today, all of you before HaShem, your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel; your small children, your women, and your stranger who is in the midst of your camp, from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water.”

Yiscah Smith

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Rav Kook: The Particular and the Universal

The tension between the particular and the universal lies at the heart of Torah and many of today’s cultural challenges. R’ A.Y. HaCohen Kook was one of the great thinkers and holy souls of the Jewish people in the early 20th century. He saw himself at the crossroads of history – the world was between the wars and the Jewish people between exile and redemption. His writings offer a relationship between the particular and universal which combines ancient and modern wisdom and which is more relevant every day.

Zvi Hirschfield

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From the Daughters of Egypt to the Daughters of Tzelaphechad:
Women Leading
from Personal to National Identity

Part I: The Midwives of Egypt and the Road to Redemption: Women Discovering Self and the Divine We will compare the biblical story of building the world’s largest structure—the tower of Babel—with the tale of subjugation and  heroism in Egypt, noting the centrality of personal identity in both stories. In the Exodus story, our focus will be on outstanding female characters (the midwives, as well as several heroic “daughters”), whose strong sense of identity helps to repair the fractured connection with the divine and helps catalyze the  redemption process.

Part II: From the Daughters of Egypt to the Daughters of Tzelaphechad: Women Leading from Personal to National Identity In a sequel to the story of the courageous “daughters” of Egypt, the daughters of Tzelafchad stand up to all leadership symbols and figures, bringing about unexpected changes in law and in attitudes toward outsiders. In a close examination of their story—which we will contrast with the story of the spies sent to scout out the land– we will note themes of personal identity, gender identity and the transition from personal identity to communal and national identity.

Judy Klitsner

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