In this course, we will delve into the study of Chumash Shemot, also known as “The Book of Exile & Redemption”. Through a close examination of the text, we will follow the journey of Yaakov’s family as they transform into a nation, from their struggle in slavery to the attainment of freedom, the journey to Sinai, the receiving of the Torah and mitzvot and the building of the mishkan. The sefer offers us a unique opportunity to explore deeper understandings of fundamental concepts such as slavery and liberty, the foundational experience of Ma’amad Har Sinai, and lessons in leadership and delegation of responsibility. Moreover, we will analyze human labor and its connection to bringing about G-d’s presence in the world.
We will delve into an overview and selection of chapters from the Navi Yermiyahu, one of the Nevi'im Achronim. Through our study, students will gain an appreciation for the unique language and poetic style of this important book. Yermiyahu's journey is a challenging one, as he was chosen from birth to be a Navi and warned the inhabitants of Yehudah and Yerushalayim of the dangers of their actions. Despite numerous challenges and struggles, including being on trial before an angry mob and thrown into jail, Yermiyahu's positive messages of rebuilding and returning to Eretz Yisrael shine through. In our study, we will explore the themes of perseverance in the face of adversity, the importance of prophetic warnings, and the ultimate message of hope for the future found in Yermiyahu's prophecies. "ושבו בנים לגבולם" will take on a deeper meaning as we discover the significance of returning to our homeland.
The book of Bemidbar is transformative. Our study begins in the 2nd year of the exodus and culminates in the 40th year, the generation of fathers and mothers who physically left Egypt pass on and a new generation is born free in the wilderness (Bemidbar). The sefer begins in a positive forward movement traveling through the desert, guided by clouds of glory and the pillar of fire. Yet the forward progressive thrust goes through much turbulence as the young nation begins complaining and expressing nostalgia to the slave life and a desire to regress. The inability of the generation to transcend the slave mentality reaches a peak in the unfortunate episode of the spies which brings the forward movement to a halt, condemning the generation to living its final days in the wilderness. A new generation born free with the emotional fortitude to move forward emerges by the end of the sefer. We will follow our ancestors' journey in the desert and see where it takes us.
We will study an overview and selection of chapters from the Navi Yeshayahu, focusing on the prophet's message to the people of Yehudah during the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel. Yeshayahu stresses the importance not only of korbanot, but of justice, righteousness, and interpersonal morality i. We will also learn about Chizkiyahu, the righteous king who fortifies Yerushalayim during the Assyrian siege through prayer and physical action, including the construction of the Chizkiyahu water tunnel. This sefer is the source of many famous haftarot, including both prophecies of destruction and beautiful messages of comfort and consolation.
The book of Devarim contains the final speeches of Moshe to the Jewish people before his passing. Chapters 1-4 cover historical events while chapters 5-26 focus on restatements of mitzvot previously mentioned in other chumashim, earning the sefer the name משנה תורה (a repetition or restatement of the Torah). Through analysis, students can discover the multi-faceted nature of the Torah by identifying the differences in the way events or mitzvot are stated in Devarim and elsewhere. They also gain exposure to biblical politics and what our tradition has to say about topics like kingship, the judiciary system, laws pertaining to war, rules of military engagement, and the establishment of refugee cities.
We will study selections from the five megillot, each offering a unique perspective on Jewish history and spirituality. Shir HaShirim expresses the deep connection between G-d and the Jewish people. The Book of Ruth takes us back to the period of the Shoftim and reflects on the importance of individual actions in shaping Jewish destiny. Megillat Eicha brings us to the tragic time of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash and calls for rebuilding. Megillat Esther emphasizes G-d's hand behind the scenes of history, even in exile, and brings us to the time period of the Second Temple. Megillat Kohelet raises profound questions about the meaning of life and offers wisdom and insights, ultimately culminating in a sense of yirat Hashem, awe and reverence for the Almighty.
In this course, we will explore the books of Mishlei, Kohelet, Iyov, & Tehillim, which are known for their exploration of the human experience and the pursuit of wisdom. Through a close reading of these Biblical texts, we will examine the themes of wisdom, morality, ethical living, and the limits of human reason and understanding. By the end of this course, you will have a deep understanding of the wisdom literature in the Hebrew Bible and its relevance to our modern lives. You will also develop critical reading and analytical skills that will be useful in your future academic pursuits and religious lives.
This course will explore the complex family dynamics and relationships in Tanach, with a particular focus on sibling rivalry and reconciliation. We will analyze specific examples such as Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Moses and Aaron, and the drama within the Davidic royal family. What can we learn from these biblical narratives and how might they be relevant to contemporary understandings of family relationships?
Copyright © 2023 North Shore Hebrew Academy. All rights reserved. Website designed by Addicott Web.