31 2014

TJC - Getting the Most Out of Midrash

7:30PM - 9:00PM  

The Jewish Center


The collections of rabbinic teachings that we call “midrash” contain a lot more than the cute stories we associate with that word. A well-constructed midrash contains (a) a careful reading of some biblical text, leading to (b) an answer to some problem which the text seems to raise, (c) on the basis of which an important statement about Jewish life and religion can be understood, and (d) the competing claims of other religious viewpoints can be kept at a distance. Not every midrash is well-constructed, of course, but we’ll look at some of the best. Neither knowledge of Hebrew nor prior study of midrash will be needed for this class. NOTE: We will devote the last session of this course, scheduled for Yom ha-Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) to the study of midrashim that try to make sense of the destruction of Jerusalem.