The Quest to Reestablish the Bible’s Sacred Space

This 12-part series, recorded by Rabbi David Silber, was sponsored in memory of Ellen Goodstein Koplow and Joan Silverstein Meyers.

The Bible opens with the Creation story (or is it stories?) and the exile of the first man and woman from the sacred space of Eden. How does humanity recover from this loss? Join Drisha Dean and master teacher Rabbi David Silber as he navigates the entirety of the Book of Genesis, beginning with those dual Creation stories, and guides his listeners through the journey of the Book’s many characters, as they strive to reclaim that lost sacred space, hoping to establish, and sustain, a covenantal existence in the Land of Israel.

The first man and woman do not last long in the original sacred space, the Garden of Eden. As such, much of the subsequent Biblical stories are best understood by attempts by other human beings to find an alternative to this sacred space. In part 1 of our series, we examine how Noah and Abraham’s lives are properly understood through the prism of this quest.
Click here to listen to The Loss of Sacred Spaces.

After the world is destroyed by the Flood, Noach is called upon to rebuild it. He, like many survivors of destruction throughout history, is able to continue living by assuming responsibility for others. His successes and failures in his post-Flood existence set the stage for the rest of the Book of Genesis.
Click here to listen to “Rebuilding.”

In being introduced to the character of Abraham, we naturally contrast him with the failed attempt at human edifice-building that was the Tower of Babel. Learn how the lessons of the builders of Babylon, and the call of God to Abraham, help pave the way for the creation of the covenantal family.
Click here to listen to “Failed Attempts.”

Through a comparison of the Abrahamic narratives to the Book of Samuel, it becomes clear that ensuring the continuity of covenant, and the covenantal family, is a struggle not easily met.
Click here to listen to “Securing Space.”

Through the characters of Sarah and Rebecca, the Jewish people’s claims to the land start to take shape, and the covenantal family begins to grow, albeit through struggle and suffering.
Click here to listen to “Claiming the Land.”

Rebecca’s machinations to ensure that Jacob receives the covenantal blessing from Isaac reveals much about the importance of seeing properly in ensuring the covenantal destiny is made manifest.
Click here to listen to “Raising the Covenantal Child.”

Jacob promises to build God a house on earth, but then gets mired in the house of Laban. How does his stay in Aram affect Jacob, and how can he come to terms with his earlier experience with the heavenly house of God?
Click here to listen to “Earning Sacred Space.”

Jacob’s struggle with the angel is a physical representation of the difficulty inherent in passing along the covenantal blessing to the next generation. For Jacob, this struggle requires him to be reborn, with a reaffirmed sense of mission and purpose, free of the clutches of both Laban and his brother Esau.
Click here to listen to “Birth and Rebirth.”

Once the covenantal family grows, so do threats to its unity. Brotherly hatred puts the viability of the covenantal family at risk, and threatens to derail the realization of life on the covenantal land.
Click here to listen to “Not My Brother’s Keeper.”

The episode of Judah and Tamar holds the key to the survival of the patriarchal family. Through his confession, Judah, inspired by Tamar, learns the powerful lesson of responsibility, thereby putting the family on the path to redemption.
Click here to listen to “The Path to Redemption.”

Joseph, in his position of authority in Egypt, accuses the brothers of misdeeds in a way that is both true and false. In responding to Joseph’s charges, the brothers, led by Judah, learn the power of humility and service on behalf of others, keys to reconciliation and rebuilding.
Click here to listen to “Falsely Accused?”

The actions of Jacob on his deathbed impart to his children the key to building covenantal community in the covenantal land – inclusivity and openness to multiple voices.
Click here to listen to “Inclusion.”

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