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Tikkun Leil Shavuot

Saturday, June 8, 2019 5 Sivan 5779

11:30 PM - 5:30 AM Next Day



Dr. Miriam Bodian: “The Ramban Explains Midrash to the King of Aragon: The Forced Disputation of Barcelona, 1263.”

In the 13th century, the Church in Aragon (Spain) tried out a new technique to persuade Jews to convert to Christianity. The king of Aragon summoned the Ramban, the acknowledged spiritual leader of Aragonese Jewry, to debate with Friar Paul, a Jewish convert to Christianity. Friar Paul, who knew Jewish texts, used aggadic material to “prove” that the rabbis of the Talmud recognized Jesus as the Messiah. The Ramban first refuted Friar Paul’s interpretation of the midrashic sources he used, agreeing to take them literally for the sake of debate. But he then made a very interesting argument about the nature of midrashim, one that rendered much of the disputation senseless. In this shiur, we’ll discuss what the Ramban said to the king and the friar.



Rabbi Dan Millner: "Elimelech: A Failed Leader"

Elimelech was the husband of Naomi and the father of Machlon and Chilion. For some reason, he dies very early in the story of the Book of Ruth. Why did he die? Was his death some kind of punishment? Was he wicked? Was he unworthy, somehow? The text is silent. In this shiur, we will explore the life and personality of one of the Bible’s most fleeting but essential personalities, in order to discover what the essence of Jewish leadership is really all about. Perhaps, based on what Elimelech did not do, we can learn what to do as Jewish leaders.


Dr. Alex Weinreb: "Is Antisemitism Bad for Jews?"

Antisemitism may well be one of the world's most lingering prejudices, but is it all bad, always bad, bad for Jews and bad for the Jews [don't ignore that definite article!], bad for non-Jews [even if it is bad for Jews, should the right ethical position be Jewcentric]?  In this shiur, we'll run through a few examples and core texts--ancient and modern--and discuss some of the valuable things that may have arisen out of both reasonable and unreasonable dislike of us: who we are and what we stand for. 


Marshall Humble: "Redemption Through Sin: A Common Theme Through Messianic Movements”

Shabbati Tzvi, the 17th century failed messiah, left a legacy that we still feel today. This shiur will tie together common themes in Jewish Messianic movements and the legacy of antinomianism.  


Daniel Karp: "Truth and Jewish Theological Diversity"

Is there such a thing as “the truth,” or does Judaism allow for multiple truths? In this shiur, we will explore the Jewish concept of truth as it pertains to halakha, theology and minhag.


Adam Sales: "Orthodox Biblical Criticism: Rabbi Mordechai Breuer's Theory of Aspects'"

Many academic Bible scholars believe that the Torah was compiled from a group of earlier documents. This theory, called the "Documentary Hypothesis," contradicts a core Jewish belief, and Orthodox Jews typically react to it with indifference or with scorn. One exception was the Israeli Rabbi Mordechai Breuer, who used the Documentary Hypothesis as the inspiration for an ingenious new way to understand the Torah that fits squarely within Orthodox Jewish thought. This shiur will introduce Rabbi Breuer's method, focusing on the story of the sale of Joseph, and drawing broader lessons about engagement with an intellectually threatening world.


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Fri, July 3 2020 11 Tammuz 5780