Limmud eFestival 2022 Limmud eFestival 2022

Hadar Track

Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Pain of Others: Compassion and Understanding in the Thought of the Sefat Emet

Rabbinic literature is full of descriptions of God's compassion and exhortations to us to be similarly compassionate. But the literature is much thinner on how to become compassionate and what this ideal really means to us as human beings. In this session we will address this issue through the thought of th great 19th century Hassidic master, R' Yehudah Aryeh-Leib Alter, known after his works, Sefat Emet. We'll try to gain an understanding of what it means to emulate God in this way as well as how to identify and work with our own limitations in this area.

Monday, February 28, 2022

For Love is as Fierce as Death: Modern Women’s Midrash as a Tool for Reading our Most Difficult Texts

The #metoo movement offered an unprecedented wave of written and oral testimony from women about their painful experiences of sexual assault and harassment. We cannot deny that our Torah also contains many similarly troubling and hurtful narratives. How should we approach these hard moments in our canon? Can midrash serve as a tool to engage with our harshest texts? In this class, we will study a modern midrash from the book Dirshuni that offers one approach to hearing, and maybe even healing from our most difficult texts. Together, we will ask how this approach may offer us guidance as we bear witness to so much pain in our world.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Foundations of Prayer: Singing Through Chaos

We will take a deep dive into messy Talmudic stories and Midrash about the role of song, silence and prayer in navigating a world of chaos. How can song carry us through the tumult of joy, sadness and confusion that life throws our way?  When is it time to stop singing?  Is song and prayer meant to settle us or sometimes meant to shake us up?  Through stories that dramatize the foundations of prayer, we will probe our own relationship to song and silence in our lives and times.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Finding Meaning in a (Possibly) Meaningless World

When Rebecca, our matriarch, experienced suffering while pregnant with her twins, she went “to seek God,” to try to derive meaning from an otherwise meaningless experience. We will explore how Rebecca can help us in our own struggles to find meaning in a world that may or may not easily give it to us. Sources in original and English.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Pardes: How To Talk About God in an Orchard

In rabbinic literature, the pardes or 'orchard' is a space associated with mystical experience and matters of theology. But why? What can we learn from the fact that God-talk takes place in an orchard? Through exploring classical and contemporary rabbinic texts from midrash and Maimonides to the Zohar and Rav Shagar, we will unfurl the diverse significances of this association and think together about how we might reimagine the place of talking about God in our lives.