The “Burning Heart”:
From the Book of Jeremiah to the Metropolitan Opera

By :  Alan Cooper Elaine Ravich Professor of Jewish Studies Posted On Mar 7, 2022 / 5782 | Monday Webinar The Power of Emotion: Judaism and the Inner Life

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Part of the learning series, The Power of Emotion: Judaism and the Inner Life

In Jeremiah 20:9, the prophet compares the divine word to “a burning fire in my heart, shut up in my bones.” This powerful image of irresistible passion constrained has long been interpreted in both positive and negative ways.  Dr. Alan Cooper examined how the image has been used by Jewish authors and also glance at the way it has come to prominence as the title of both Charles M. Blow’s memoir and Terence Blanchard’s pioneering opera based on the memoir. 


Joy. Grief. Anger. Shame. Love. Emotional experience is often at the center of our lives. JTS scholars explore perceptions of emotions in Jewish texts and offer surprising and useful insights for understanding the feelings that make up our inner worlds. 

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