• June 23, 2021
  • 13 5781, Tamuz
  • פרשת בלק

The Tannaim

The Tannaim

The Tannaim spanned from the time of the Mishna which ran from close to 100 years before the destruction of the Second Temple to just over 100 years after the churban. Join Rabbi David Sedley as he highlights some of their major personalities and how they influenced much of the future halachic discourse.

Next Class

June 29, 2021


Time of Class

Tue 7:00 pm
April 20, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Hillel the Elder
Class description

Hillel was one of the earliest rabbis mentioned in the mishna. His influence on future generations was enormous — almost the entire mishna follows his opinions.

In this class we look at his life and Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period. Then we go through some of his views and opinions on halakha and hashkafa.

April 27, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Shammai the Elder
Class description

Many people mistakenly think that Shammai was stringent while Hillel was lenient. In this class, I argue that the real point of argument was that Shammai represented justice whereas Hillel represented kindness.

History teaches us that Hillel’s opinions were accepted and his students wrote and codified the Oral Law, while Shammai’s students soon ceased being part of Orthodox Jewish tradition.

May 4, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai
May 11, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Rabban Gamliel
Class description

Rabban Gamliel struggled to rebuild and reshape Judaism following the destruction of the Second Temple.
He was a man of contradictions.
He needed to reestablish the role of “Nasi” and show leadership, while personally being full of empathy for those around him.
He was a direct descendant of Hillel, yet many of his views followed Shammai.
Eventually everything fell apart when he was deposed as head of the yeshiva — though only for a few days.

May 25, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim:
Class description


There is no recording this week

June 8, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanos
Class description

Rabbi Eliezer was always right, even when he was wrong. He was a traditionalist in a changing world, and to a certain extent got left behind. What makes him even more interesting (or perhaps it is the reason for his traditionalism), is that he did not come from a rabbinic family and did not grow up steeped in tradition (unlike his main rabbinic partner and rival, Rabbi Yehoshua).

He became an outcast, his opinions were rejected, he was excommunicated and was even accused of being from Beit Shammai.

In this class, we will look at his humble origins and the great heights he reached, and where he ended up.

June 15, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya
Class description

In this class we begin with the dispute between Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Eliezer which led to the latter being excommunicated.

We discuss Rabbi Yehoshua’s brilliance, which was recognized by everyone, from Hadrian to Athens.

We’ll also speak about how he radically changed Judaism, effectively removing God from the process of halakha.

June 22, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Rabbi Akiva
Class description

In this class we look at Rabbi Akiva’s life and ideas.
From his humble beginnings though with excellent character traits, to his several wives, his great wealth, his belief that Bar Kochba was the Messiah, and finally to his martyrdom.

June 29, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Lesson
Class description
July 6, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Lesson
Class description
July 13, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Tannaim: Lesson
Class description

Rabbi David Sedley lives in Jerusalem with his wife and six children. He was born and raised in New Zealand before making Aliya in 1992. He left Israel temporarily (for eight years) to serve as a communal Rabbi in Scotland and England and returned to Israel in 2004. He has translated Rabbeinu Yonah's commentary on Pirkei Avos and is the co-author of Sefiros: Spiritual Refinement Through Counting the Omer (both Judaica Press). Over the years Rabbi Sedley has worked as a journalist, a translator, a video director and in online reputation management. He also writes a weekly Torah blog on the Times of Israel.