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Read weekly Torah commentaries

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Holiday Learning and Resources

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Nusah & Cantillation

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Featured

Charting a Way Back

Charting a Way Back

Apr 12, 2024 By Ayelet Cohen | Commentary | Tazria

The book of Vayikra can be understood as an exercise in transition; if one imagines the Torah as the lifecycle trajectory of Israel, this The book of Vayikra can be understood as an exercise in transition; if one imagines the Torah as the lifecycle trajectory of Israel, this book represents adolescence/early adulthood. The Israelites are still transitioning from being an enslaved people toward becoming a free people. With their newfound autonomy, they must learn responsibility to one another and service to God. They struggle with faith, patience, ethical behavior, interpersonal relationships, and boundaries—in short, all of the things that are hard about maturation and adulthood.  book represents adolescence/early adulthood. The Israelites are still transitioning from being an enslaved people toward becoming a free people. With their newfound autonomy, they must learn responsibility to one another and service to God. They struggle with faith, patience, ethical behavior, interpersonal relationships, and boundaries—in short, all of the things that are hard about maturation and adulthood.

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The Origins of Kabbalah in Medieval Europe

The Origins of Kabbalah in Medieval Europe

Apr 9, 2024 By Eitan Fishbane | Podcast or Radio Program

Moving from the Middle East to Germany, Spain, and France, this episode explores the practices and intellectual exercises of these communities. During this timeperiod, the practice of Kabbalah (literally received tradition) begins to take shape in Provence, France. One of the primary foci is the development of the Sefirot, the ten radiant dimensions of the inner Divine Self. 

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“Awaiting the Good Hour”: Hope in the Bible as a Resource for Religious Life

“Awaiting the Good Hour”: Hope in the Bible as a Resource for Religious Life

Apr 8, 2024 By Amy Kalmanofsky | Public Event video | Video Lecture

The capacity to hope is integral to religious life, yet contemporary realities can make it hard to feel and express hope. We explore what hope means in the context of the Bible, looking particularly at how the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah use maternal imagery to convey hope, and consider how the Bible can be a valuable resource for cultivating a language of hope for us today. 

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Honoring Aaron’s Tragic Sacrifice in the Laws of Mourning

Honoring Aaron’s Tragic Sacrifice in the Laws of Mourning

Apr 5, 2024 By Shira Billet | Commentary | Shabbat Hahodesh | Shemini

Shemini begins on the eighth and final day of inauguration week. The ceremony narrated in Leviticus 9 culminates in a felicitous and ecstatic moment of response from God to their carefully orchestrated sacrificial rites: “Moses and Aaron then went inside the Tent of Meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the Presence of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came forth from before the Lord and consumed the burnt-offering . . . on the altar. And all the people saw, and shouted and fell on their faces” (Lev. 9:23-24).

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Rabbinic Mysticism

Rabbinic Mysticism

Apr 2, 2024 By Eitan Fishbane | Podcast or Radio Program

After the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis built on Biblical mystical practice. Through both Talmudic and Midrashic creativity, the rabbis of this period expanded and developed new models of mysticism. They also created boundaries for this practice, establishing the ein dorshin (one must not expound on) in Mishnah Hagigah 2:1, limiting the content around work of Creation and the work of the Chariot to those who are wise who understand their own mind. After expanding on these elements, Dr. Fishbane engages the story of the Pardes, the four scholars who enter the orchard and what happens after a revelatory experience.

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