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Community Beit Midrash

Co-Sponsored by Drisha, Jewish Theological Seminary Rabbinical School, Mechon Hadar, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and Yeshivat Maharat.

Tuesday, December 12 at 7:30pm
at Hadar (190 Amsterdam Avenue, between 68th and 69th Streets)

Come prepare for Hannukah by attending our Community Beit Midrash!
Choice of Sessions:

~Miriam Gedwiser (Drisha) – The New Candle Imperative: Channukah, Chasidut, and Renewal
What does it mean for Channukah to be the only major holiday invented in the post-biblical era? Through Chassidic sources, we will explore Channukah’s message regarding novelty and creativity in our Torah and in our lives.

~Aviva Richman (Hadar) on Who Needs Our Light?
The mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles is one of the most beautiful and pervasive, yet the midrash asks why we bother lighting at all.  Through the sharp eyes of midrash and the creative interpretations of hasidut and modern thinkers, we will confront a fundamental doubt – that our eight little lights, our work in the world, may seem futile – and we will explore the possibilities of what it means to keep lighting in the face of darkness.

~Noah Bickart (JTS) on Epistles from the Mythic Past: Anxiety and Power in Talmudic Stories about Letter Writing
A strange and oft quoted passage at the very end of tractate horayot of the Babylonian Talmud depicts Mesopotamian rabbis of the early 4th century in a quandary. The two candidates for ascending to the leadership of their scholastic fellowship had different talents. One possessed vast numbers of received oral traditions, whereas the other was more skilled at legal analysis. Not knowing whom to appoint, they write to their peers in Palestine for council, and receive in response that the former should be appointed over the latter. This shiur will explore what kinds of values are being expressed and suppressed in this text.

~Jeffrey Fox (Maharat) on Searching for the true light of Chanukah: Rebbi Shimon ha-Tzadik and Alexander the Great
Chanukah commemorates the Jewish victory over the Seleucid Greek empire. The miraculous military victory is sometimes downplayed for the more spiritual miracle of the cruse of oil. Rebbi Shimon ha-Tzadik had his own encounter with the Greek empire when he “defeated” Alexander the Great. Come and learn about the hidden light of Chanukah.

~Yaffa Epstein (Pardes) on Channukah: An Opportunity to Shed Light on Our Habits
Judaism asks us to take on many obligations, and to make these obligations a part of our daily life. But,  at times these practices and behaviors can start to feel rote, and unfulfilling. How do we deal with this phenomenon? And what can the holiday of Channukah teach us about shaking things up? We’ll look at several pieces from the Talmud, its commentaries, as well as the Hassidic masters.


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