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Darkness Envelops Me
Darkness Envelops Me
The Talmud tells about the origins of Chanuka in a way that closely parallels a talmudic legend about Adam’s first encounter with darkness. As Chanuka begins, we will study these talmudic texts to illuminate our own encounter with the darkness and with the holiday of Chanuka.
Drisha veChakira: Rebels, Pursuers, and the Cost of Doing the Right Thing
Drisha veChakira: Rebels, Pursuers, and the Cost of Doing the Right Thing
Three Drisha scholars invite you to join them as they learn in chavruta. In this new podcast series, Tsvi Blanchard, Sam Lebens, and Devora Steinmetz explore Talmudic texts together, offering their own unique perspectives and striving to understand the meaning and implications of these words of Torah. In this podcast, we talk about rebels, pursuers, and the cost of doing the right thing.
Drisha veChakira: Whose Blood is Redder?
Drisha veChakira: Whose Blood is Redder?
Three Drisha scholars invite you to join them as they learn in chavruta. In this new podcast series, Tsvi BlanchardSam Lebens, and Devora Steinmetz explore Talmudic texts together, offering their own unique perspectives and striving to understand the meaning and implications of these words of Torah. In this podcast we look at: Whose blood is redder? What’s the mitzvah of the moment? What are the limits of law?
Drisha veChakira: R. Akiva’s Daughter, a Snake, and the Angel of Death
Drisha veChakira: R. Akiva’s Daughter, a Snake, and the Angel of Death
Three Drisha scholars invite you to join them as they learn in chavruta. In this new podcast series, Tsvi BlanchardSam Lebens, and Devora Steinmetz explore Talmudic texts together, offering their own unique perspectives and striving to understand the meaning and implications of these words of Torah. In this podcast, we meet R. Akiva’s daughter, a snake and the angel of death.
Drisha veChakira: Elijah, a Gatehouse, and a Chasid
Drisha veChakira: Elijah, a Gatehouse, and a Chasid
Three Drisha scholars invite you to join them as they learn in chavruta. In this new podcast series, Tsvi BlanchardSam Lebens, and Devora Steinmetz explore Talmudic texts together, offering their own unique perspectives and striving to understand the meaning and implications of these words of Torah. In this podcast, we encounter a Talmudic passage about the prophet Elijah, a gatehouse, and a chasid.
Elisha ben Abuya
Elisha ben Abuya
Part of the class "Aggadah: Inside the World of the Rabbis." In this course we will explore the stories of the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds. These narratives provide insight into the social networks of the Rabbis, their concerns, passions and struggles. The topic for this session is Elisha ben Abuya.
“They Cared For Me in Life and They Will Care For Me in Death”: Deathbed Stories in the Babylonian Talmud (part 1 of a 19-session course)
“They Cared For Me in Life and They Will Care For Me in Death”: Deathbed Stories in the Babylonian Talmud (part 1 of a 19-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. The Babylonian Talmud contains several lengthy narratives detailing the deaths of Torah Sages. Some are carefully orchestrated deathbed scenes, others are more raw and unplanned. In this class we will explore these narratives, noting how they are constructed from earlier texts and questioning why the Bavli editors chose to tell these stories and what we can learn from them.  
He Who Must Not Be Named? The Curious Case of Ploni Almoni
He Who Must Not Be Named? The Curious Case of Ploni Almoni
In the Book of Ruth, names are of paramount significance, but Ruth's would-be redeemer seems to be consciously nameless. How did the rabbis understand this omission, and what are we to learn from the man who has no name?
Navigating the Sea of Talmud: Study, Teaching, and Personal Religious Meaning
Navigating the Sea of Talmud: Study, Teaching, and Personal Religious Meaning
Three master teachers of Talmud- Dr. Alyssa Gray, Rabbi Dov Linzer, and Rabbi Ethan Tucker- will discuss their approaches to Talmud study and talk about how Talmud study is meaningful to them.
“She Said Well”: The Brief Wondrous Life of Beruriah
“She Said Well”: The Brief Wondrous Life of Beruriah
Beruriah is the only female scholar mentioned by name in the Talmud. She is simultaneously a part of the rabbinic world of Torah study and also an outsider to it. This podcast discusses the texts in which she appears and considesr the challenge of reconciling one's own sensibilities with a broader tradition of learning.
The ‘Conceptual’ Approach to Talmud Study: Where Has It Been, Where Is It Going, and Why Does It Matter?
The ‘Conceptual’ Approach to Talmud Study: Where Has It Been, Where Is It Going, and Why Does It Matter?
The Yeshiva movement assumes that learning Gemara is the central spiritual practice of Judaism. But why does delving into the specifics of property rights, torts, or even the intricacies of Shabbat and nidah reflect the pinnacle of a person’s encounter with God? This podcast surverys several approaches to learning Gemara within the world of the Yeshiva and discuss how each interprets and fulfills the spiritual aspirations of Talmud study.
Talmud Study as a Religious Practice
Talmud Study as a Religious Practice
Talmud study poses formidable challenges: the Talmud is a difficult and complex text, its modes of argumentation can appear foreign or artificial, much of its subject matter can seem dissonant with or distant from the realities of our lives. This lecture focuses on some of the more challenging aspects of the Talmud and discuss how these very attributes can contribute to the religious formation of the student of Talmud.
“That was no lady, that was my wife!” – Stories of Rabbis and Their Wives (part 1 of a 3-session course)
“That was no lady, that was my wife!” – Stories of Rabbis and Their Wives (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. The women of the Talmud both preserve rabbinic traditions and challenge them. Although usually the Rabbis' wives are invisible and unheard, occasionally we get a peak at their personalities, their concerns, and their relationships with their rabbi husbands. We will study the story of a wife who dresses as a prostitute to catch her husband's attention and another who resorts to unusual means to have a conversation about contraception, among others. In addition, many of the rabbis' wives carried their own traditions with them into their marriages, and we will examine episodes where wives teach Torah to their husbands.  
Hearing Aggadic Voices: Ancient Wisdom Learned Anew (part 1 of a 10-session course)
Hearing Aggadic Voices: Ancient Wisdom Learned Anew (part 1 of a 10-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. Talmudic tales speak candidly of the complexities of adult life within a community shaped by a rabbinic value system. Gender relations, status, loyalty, competition, marriage, parenting, and exclusion are probed within an intricately-woven context of community life, exposing emotions such as envy, guilt, desire, and vulnerability.  
Rabbinic Literature and Its Dis-Contents Situating the Genres of Talmud and Midrash in Their Civilizational Context
Rabbinic Literature and Its Dis-Contents Situating the Genres of Talmud and Midrash in Their Civilizational Context
How does contextual theology motivate Midrash in its interpretation of Talmudic literature?
Trouble in the Vineyard: Talmudic Stories of the Sages of Yavneh (part 1 of a 4-session course)
Trouble in the Vineyard: Talmudic Stories of the Sages of Yavneh (part 1 of a 4-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. Stories invite us into the lives- real or imagined- of others, challenging us to use our minds and hearts to enter their struggles, conflicts and achievements. In this series, we will learn four stories about a famous group of sages- Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Akiva. We will discuss methodological issues relating to the study of aggadah, and we will use a variety of tools to weave our way into this tapestry of narratives.  
When God Prays: A Literary Analysis of a Provocative Talmudic Story
When God Prays: A Literary Analysis of a Provocative Talmudic Story
What are the contextual motivations behind the Talmud's aggadic illustrations of God at prayer?
Bad Romance?: Rabbinic Love and Matrimony (part 1 of 2 sessions)
Bad Romance?: Rabbinic Love and Matrimony (part 1 of 2 sessions)
Click here to listen to the other class session. The rabbinic tradition is not known for its models of equality in relationships.  However, the Talmud presents a number of stories of rabbis and their wives which transcend the boundaries of halakhic conversations and instead go in surprising directions.  How do husbands treat their wives, and vice versa?  What happens when there is a dispute and the wife can quote Torah to prove her point?  Each class will examine the Talmud's portrayal of a couple to see what values lie within the rabbinic model of marriage.
Yom Kippur and the Imagination of the Aggadists
Yom Kippur and the Imagination of the Aggadists
We will examine selected aggadot in the Talmud relating to themes of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. We will explore certain central themes the rabbis attempted to highlight in their non-legal takes on the Yoma rabba (the great day) of the Jewish calendar.
Talmud in Andalusian Tradition
Talmud in Andalusian Tradition