As a retired lawyer, the Talmud has attracted me, spoken to me, for decades. When I was in the ALEPH Rabbinic Program, I took as many Talmud and Codes courses that I could. The methodology of decision-making was just so familiar. There I found Sages trying to make sense of their paradigm-shifted world, after the destruction of the Second Temple. Their former world was no longer and they had to figure out how to carry their tradition forward in a way relevant to their new reality. I found that so much wisdom and creativity could be taken from this text and applied to our lives today.
I believe that the only way to change the world is through the serious study of Talmud as a spiritual practice. In past classes we have struggled with the issue of ona’ah, oppression or wrongdoing, in personal and professional relationships and in business. We learned the importance of integrity and honesty and of putting the feelings of others first. We learned about the dangers of being unwilling to yield. We learned about the difference between how the Torah and the Talmud introduce themselves in their opening chapters which tells us everything about them: the Torah is about God’s creation while the Talmud is about human interpretation. And now, we are learning about the Women of Talmud.
I facilitate a monthly Talmud class hosted by Or Shalom Synagogue. Serious, eager learners join me to grapple with the text and join the Jewish communal conversation to bring our voices to the renewal of Judaism. For information about upcoming classes, click here. Newcomers are always welcome.
“This class has been the best Jewish experience of my life and I am so grateful to Rabbi Susan for offering it. I was not raised Jewish and I have struggled to find spirituality through singing or prayer. The class feels so right and I just love the discussions about what is the right thing to do. Despite being at school my entire life there never seems to be time or the inclination to talk about morality. And yet it is so important.”