Online Learning

Search by Keyword

Search by Teacher

The Renee and Alexander Bohm Memorial Lecture

Posted: 11/04/2019
The Renee and Alexander Bohm Memorial Lecture
Lecture is sponsored by their grandchildren, Elissa Shay Ordan and Daniel J. Ordan Rabbi Menachem Leibtag on Holidays and Theology in the Biblical Calendar: From a 'Holy Land' to a 'Holy People' Many of the practices of the festivals seem odd or out of place. The imagery of being "judged" in Tishrei, the practice of saying ya'ale ve-yavo on holidays and Rosh Hodesh, our counting both days and weeks in the omer - all of these take on new significance in light of the agricultural roots of the Jewish festivals and the biblical calendar. In this lecture, Rabbi Leibtag explores those, in order to better appreciate the way the calendar has evolved together with the world, and yet preserves its eternal sanctity.
Guiding Lights: Illuminating the Distinctions of the Chanukiah and the Menorah

Posted: 12/02/2015
Guiding Lights: Illuminating the Distinctions of the Chanukiah and the Menorah
Does the ‘chanukiah’ simply model the Menorah of the Mishkan -with an extra candle? Our session will begin by comparing the ‘Menorah’ to the other vessels of the Mishkan, in an attempt to ​better understand what it symbolizes. Afterward, we will turn to the prophet Chagai and the book of Macabees to appreciate why the Menorah became the national symbol of the Second Temple period – which will shed light on our Rabbinic tradition of lighting a ‘chanukiah’ on Chanukah.
The Prophet Who Stole Chanukah: The Biblical Roots of a Rabbinic Holiday

Posted: 12/15/2014
The Prophet Who Stole Chanukah: The Biblical Roots of a Rabbinic Holiday
An exploration of the similarities and differences between Chanukah and the winter holidays of other faiths. Part of The Renee and Alexander Bohm Memorial Lecture Series.
Biblical Insights on the Morning Blessings: From Eden to Isaiah to Socrates

Posted: 14/11/2015
Biblical Insights on the Morning Blessings: From Eden to Isaiah to Socrates
We are so familiar with the morning blessings in the Siddur that we often recite them by rote, without paying attention to their deeper meaning. In our session, we will discuss the Biblical (and sometimes Greek) origins of these blessings to better appreciate their underlying message and how they form a wonderful way to ‘start the day.’
Understanding Our Selichot Service: A Rabbinic Tapestry of Biblical Themes and Verses

Posted: 14/11/2015
Understanding Our Selichot Service: A Rabbinic Tapestry of Biblical Themes and Verses
How is the Selichot service different from our regular prayer service? Through analysis of its structure, key sections and themes, this podcast explores Selichot's Biblical roots and Rabbinic history in order to better understand its purpose and meaning.  Part of The Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
Making Sense Out of Musaf: Using Tanakh to Explain Our Rosh Hashana Makhzor

Posted: 09/04/2011
Making Sense Out of Musaf: Using Tanakh to Explain Our Rosh Hashana Makhzor
It can be difficult enough just to follow the prayer service on Rosh Hashana, let alone to understand what is going on in the Makhzor. We will explain the basic biblical concepts that lay behind our special High Holiday prayers, focusing primarily on the structure and basic themes of the lengthy Musaf service.
Top Ten or First Ten: What’s So Special About the 10 Commandments?

Posted: 14/11/2015
Top Ten or First Ten: What’s So Special About the 10 Commandments?
Everyone is familiar with the 10 Commandments, but why are these 10 laws chosen to be inscribed on the Tablets of the Covenant?
The Methodology for Studying a Book: A Do-it-Yourself Guide

Posted: 02/02/2010
The Methodology for Studying a Book: A Do-it-Yourself Guide
Even though thematic study of the Bible has become increasingly popular, most students only hear the conclusions of great Bible scholars yet rarely undertake that study on their own. We will introduce a methodology for how a student can uncover the themes of the various books of the Bible.
Prayer as a “Transformative” Experience: From Daily Kriyat Shema to Yom Kippur Neilah

Posted: 09/14/2009
Prayer as a “Transformative” Experience: From Daily Kriyat Shema to Yom Kippur Neilah
Our High Holiday prayers assume that each individual is judged by God on Rosh Hashana, and that judgment is then sealed on Yom Kippur. Hence, the goal of our prayers is to "transform" the Judge's opinion in our favor. By distinguishing between "comprehension" and "intention" we will undertake a closer examination of prayer in both the siddur and machzor to show how its primary goal may focus much more on the "transformation" of the petitioner.
How the Bible Influences the Siddur

Posted: 14/11/2015
How the Bible Influences the Siddur
Can Sacrifice Atone a Sin: The Biblical Connection Between “Rite” and “Wrongs”

Posted: 14/11/2015
Can Sacrifice Atone a Sin: The Biblical Connection Between “Rite” and “Wrongs”
Megillat Esther – a Story of Survival or Revival?: A Prophetic Perspective

Posted: 03/03/2008
Megillat Esther – a Story of Survival or Revival?: A Prophetic Perspective
Is the prophetic message of Megillat Esther timeless, or does its author assume that the reader is familiar with 'current events' as well as the relatively recent prophecies of Jeremiah and Zechariah? We will examine this issue to determine how it may affect, and change, our very understanding of the basic message of one of the most popular books of the Bible.
The Missing Years of the Second Temple Period and Their Midrashic Effect on Megillat Esther

Posted: 02/27/2008
The Missing Years of the Second Temple Period and Their Midrashic Effect on Megillat Esther
There is a famous discrepancy between the years of the Second Temple Period according to Classic History (585 years) and according to Hazal (420 years). We will suggest a solution for this discrepancy, based on the prophetic purpose  of the biblical books that discuss this time period, and the exegetic approach of Hazal. We will also discuss how this approach helps explain how and why Hazal identify Esther as the mother of King Darius, who allowed the Jews to rebuild the Second Temple.
Centrality of Aleinu on Rosh Hashana: A Biblical Perspective on the Concept of Malchiot in Musaf

Posted: 14/11/2015
Centrality of Aleinu on Rosh Hashana: A Biblical Perspective on the Concept of Malchiot in Musaf
Malchiot, declaring God's Kingdom, emerges as one of the central themes of our prayers on Rosh Hashana. We will begin by tracing the concept of malchiot in the Bible and its relation to the Covenant between God and His People. We will then study the malchiot section of musaf, which is introduced by Aleinu Leshabayach.