Mahloket Matters: The Beit Midrash Way

Posted by Adam Titcher on January 7, 2018

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The Beit Midrash Way
An educational workshop series for use in your community

Can text study of Biblical stories and their diverse interpretations empower us to engage more constructively in disagreements today?

To answer this question, the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution (PCJCR) has created Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively – The Beit Midrash Way. At the core of the traditional beit midrash, study hall, are havrutot, study pairs, critically studying together mahloket (also spelled machloket and makhloket), conflicting opinions, found on every page of classic Jewish texts. This methodology of studying text can be used to increase the desire and ability to understand and engage more constructively with conflicting political opinions today, improving civil discourse.

Each unit examines a central question which is first analyzed through a biblical conflict story. After carefully analyzing the biblical story and its ambiguities, various interpretations are then introduced through the study of classic commentaries on the story. Each unit then examines contradictory historical precedents that can be used to support or refute opposing responses to the central question of the unit. The units each conclude with an activity involving reading contradictory news from a recent event.


  • Introduction – Rabbinic Concepts of the Beit Midrash Way
  • Unit 1 – Meet or Refuse to Meet? From Korah and Moses to Political Adversaries Today
  • Unit 2 – Fear War or Trust Peace? From Jacob and Esau through Chamberlain and Menachem Begin to Today
  • Unit 3 – Xenophobia or National Security? From Pharaoh and the Israelites through Japanese Internment to Today
  • Unit 4 – Coexist or Separate? From Isaac and Ishmael to Israelis and Palestinians Today
  • Unit 5 – “Fake News” or Uncovering the Truth? From Joseph and his brothers through Jefferson and Hamilton to Today


Mahloket Matters is designed for your synagogue, federation, campus school and communal study group.


Included are all source sheets, unit videos, educators videos and guides. In addition, you will receive special access to the OpenMind Platform.

Download source sheet samples here. View a sample of a unit video here


Each Mahloket Matters unit can take between 1-2 hours, depending on the educator.




For information about other Mahloket Matters materials, please click here

Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively is generously supported by the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, the EGL Charitable Foundation and Ronald Guttman.

If you have comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

**If you have already created an account for any part of Mahloket Matters, you must login in here before registering for the Beit Midrash Way.

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