In this course, students study parshiyot (weekly portions) Bereishit through Chayei Sarah, covering Genesis chapters 1-25. Topics include an introduction to the definition of and importance of Torah, why God created the world, the meaning of “man is created in the image of God,” the purpose of Shabbat, the meaning of the tree of knowledge, the sin of Adam and Eve, apparent conflicts between modern science and the Torah, free will, the creation of two genders, the punishments resulting from the first sin, Cain and Abel, the flood, the tower of Babel, the uniqueness of Abraham, the meaning behind the commandment of brit milah (circumcision,) the binding of Isaac, the ten tests of Abraham, the search for a wife for Isaac and the lessons in love and marriage.
In this course, students study parshiyot (weekly portions) Toldot through Vayechi, covering the second half of chapter 25 through chapter 50 of Genesis. Topics include the birth of Jacob and Esau, the sale of the birthright and subsequent blessing of Jacob, Jacob’s marriage to Rachel and Leah, the foundation and development of the Jewish people, the confrontation between Jacob and Esau, the abduction of Dina, the dreams of Joseph and his relationship with his brothers, Judah and Tamar, Joseph in the house of Potiphar, Joseph’s rise to power and plan to reconcile with his brothers, the Jewish decent to Egypt and the final blessings of Jacob.
This course covers in depth most of the topics which are found in the first five parshiyot (weekly portions) of the Sefer Shemot, the Book of Exodus. Students work on projects related to the last five parshiyot of the sefer. The goal is to approach the book with an understanding of its general structure and not merely through a simple, linear, verse-by-verse style of learning. Students focus on the thematic and historical facets of the sefer, and this deepens their appreciation of its uniqueness. By the end of the first semester, students cover in depth the enslavement of the Israelites in Egypt, the making of a Jewish leader, Moshe (Moses,) the burning bush and the ten plagues. In the second semester, they study the exodus from Egypt, the splitting of the sea, the Ten Commandments and the sin of the golden calf
This course covers in depth the first four parshiyot (weekly portions) of Sefer Bamidbar, the Book of Numbers, plus additional topics in parshiyotKorach, Balak and Pinchas. The goal is to approach the book with an understanding of its general structure and not merely through a simple, linear, verse-by-verse style of learning. Students focus on the thematic and historical facets of the sefer, and this deepens their appreciation of its uniqueness. By the end of the first semester, they cover in depth the arrangement of the Israelite camp, the laws of the sotah and the nazir, birkat kohanim (priestly blessings,) the korban pesach (the pascal lamb offering,) the sin of the spies and the Jewish People’s many complaints during their journey in the desert. During the second semester, students learn about Korach, Bilam and Balak, the census for inheriting the land of Israel and the inheritance of Reuven and Gad. Significant discussion surrounds some of the unfavorable episodes of this sefer, e.g. the spies, the complainers, etc., and what lessons students can learn from them.