• December 2, 2022
  • 8 5783, Kislev
  • פרשת ויצא

Strangers in Strange Lands: Tales of Traveling Rabbis (February 3-24)

Strangers in Strange Lands: Tales of Traveling Rabbis (February 3-24)

Who was the rabbi whose voyage to Babylon ended in cruel humiliation? What happens when an immigrant student outshines the old rosh yeshiva? And how does one journey destroy the reputation of the greatest tzaddik of his time?

The Talmud is riddled with travel narratives, stories of rabbis who journey through space – and time – in search of Torah. Leaving their former life behind, these once-revered leaders set out into the unknown, disoriented in unfamiliar territory, disparaged by unfriendly locals.

This course looks at four such narratives; subjecting each story to close literary analysis, and reading it in light of related intertexts (from the Jewish and Western canon), we will explore the trials and tribulations of the traveling rabbis, as they struggle to establish themselves in their new home.

February 3, 2015 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Strangers in Strange Lands: Tales of Traveling Rabbis (February 3-24): Lesson 1
Class description

Strangers in Strange Lands: The Lonely Leader (1/4):  How does the greatest leader of his time find himself exiled in his own home? A journey through Taanit 23a, traversing the Bible and Midrash, Hippocrates and Josephus, Nahmanides and the Vilna Gaon, Friedrich Nietzsche and S.Y. Agnon.

Handouts
February 10, 2015 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Strangers in Strange Lands: Tales of Traveling Rabbis (February 3-24): Lesson 2
Class description

Strangers in Strange Lands: The Wandering Woman (2/4): What happens when a woman goes wandering through the wilderness alone? A journey through Taanit 8a, traversing the Bavli and Yerushalmi, Arukh HaShalem and the Shulkhan Arukh, William Shakespeare and the Brothers Grimm, Søren Kierkegaard and Thomas Hardy.

Handouts
February 17, 2015 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Strangers in Strange Lands: Tales of Traveling Rabbis (February 3-24): Lesson 3
Class description

Strangers in Strange Lands: The Silent Student (3/4): Why does a student swear to seven years of silence before traveling to Israel? A journey through Bava Kama 117, traversing the Mishna and Talmud, Somerset Maugham and José Saramago, Martin Buber and Adin Steinsaltz.

Handouts
February 24, 2015 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Strangers in Strange Lands: Tales of Traveling Rabbis (February 3-24): Lesson 4
Class description

Strangers in Strange Lands: The Humiliated Hevruta (4/4): Why does a Babylonian rosh yeshiva humiliate the immigrant who would become his lifelong hevruta? A journey through Shabbat 108a, traversing the Talmud and Midrash, the Geonim and Rishonim, Mikhail Bakhtin and Daniel Boyarin, Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Avraham Steinberg.

Handouts