Quandaries of Quarantine in Biblical, Talmudic and Hasidic Literature
Rabbanit Leah Sarna / April 12, 2021
Solitude comes in many forms in Jewish tradition: Miriam was sent out of the camp for her leprosy. The High Priest quarantines in advance of Yom Kippur. Rav Anan sat in a box to study with Elijah the prophet and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son learned deep Torah in their cave. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov wrote a How-To Guide for Hitbodedut, the practice of solitude, which he called “greater than everything.” So, what is it: punishment and torture or privilege and treasure, or, confusingly, all of the above? We will look at these sources together to help give articulation to the jumbled experience of our past year and enrich what might hopefully be our last months of isolation.
Rabbanit Leah Sarna
Rabbanit Leah Sarna is the Associate Director of Education and Director of High School Programs at Drisha. She previously served as Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago, a leading urban Orthodox congregation. She was ordained at Yeshivat Maharat in 2018, holds a BA from Yale University in Philosophy & Psychology, and also trained at the SKA Beit Midrash for Women at Migdal Oz, Drisha and the Center for Modern Torah Leadership. Rabbanit Sarna's published works have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Lehrhaus and MyJewishLearning. She has lectured in Orthodox synagogues and Jewish communal settings around the world and loves spreading her warm, energetic love for Torah and Mitzvot with Jews in all stages of life. Click here to access other recorded classes by Rabbanit Leah Sarna.