Jewish Text

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Be Flexible Like the Reed: A Talmudic Story of Rethinking

In 2021, Adam Grant, an Organizational Psychologist and a Wharton Professor wrote a book praising not knowing things. Indeed, he posts that not knowing is actually what allows us to learn best. Little did HE know, that the Talmud had already taught this lesson thousands of years ago. Come learn a fantastic Talmudic text that asks us to question our biases and assumptions, and demands that we learn how to think, rethink, and rethink again. The session is open to all - whatever your background or experience with text - and all texts will be provided in translation. 

The Origins of Rabbinic Judaism: Ancient Israel and the Life and Times of Hillel and Shammai

Rabbinic Judaism didn’t just “happen” after the destruction of the Second Temple. In this session, Rabbi Allan Finkel will explore the preceding 1,000-year history of ancient Israel from the days of King Solomon to the times of Hillel & Shammai, and the profound role they had in shaping the Rabbinic Judaism that ensured our survival into modern times.

Shabbat Zachor - The Way of Entering Into Purim

Purim is the next holiday on the Jewish calendar, this year it is taking place on the evening of March 17th. On the Shabbat morning before Purim, we read in the Maftir section about the Israelites’ arch-enemy, Amalek, and the abhorrent way in which they attacked the Israelites in the desert. As a result, this day is known as Shabbat Zachor, “the Sabbath of Remembrance”. It is a special mitzvah [commandment] of the Torah to hear the reading and thus to remember.

In this session, we will challenge some of our preconceived notions about Purim by suggesting that in our attempt to make it more appealing with a carnival-like façade we miss its deeper meaning, the one which is implicit in the Maftir section read on Shabbat Zachor.

The Real Reason David Did Not Build The Temple

This session will explore many questions surrounding the Temple and its significance. We will answer questions like:

What is the real reason David could not build the Temple, it's more than just blood on his hands?

Why is Solomon the one who builds it?

Why was it so extravagant and excessive, wouldn't a more modest building have sufficed?

Why do we even need a Temple if G-d can be found everywhere? 

Why was David so obsessed with building the Temple?


Lashon Ha Ra or Gossip, That Dirty Little Word!

We instinctively know that gossip can be toxic, but how do we guard ourselves from being sucked into this type of conversation? Our sages pondered these questions well before the era of social media and its amplification of this destructive phenomenon. Their research and good counsel can help us navigate these dangerous waters that toss us between seeking information to protect ourselves from potentially harmful individuals and the urge to spread rumours that destroy reputations…

New Mussar Pathways to Bring Your 'Spiritual Curriculum' Up Close & (Inter)Personal

Modern Mussar - a Jewish spiritual discipline using self-examination, havruta study with a partner, and group-work  to become the best possible version of ourselves - is enjoying a renaissance in North America. Several major centres of mussar teaching and learning now offer richly varied, potentially life-changing opportunities on-line to study classic as well as contemporary Mussar sources. This presentation will introduce you to these opportunities, and the exciting practices they offer. It will also share information about current local efforts to establish Chaburah Mussar Winnipeg (CMW) as an emerging community of practice dedicated to cultivating Mussar learning and Mussar friendships across our local organizations.