Online Summer Class!

Stringing Pearls: Intertextuality in Tanakh and Midrash

Participate from wherever you live.  Rabbi Natan Margalit will teach a participatory, beit midrash style course using original Hebrew texts, with English translations available.

Classes will start in the first week of June and continue throughout the summer for 12 weeks. EXACT DATES AND TIMES TBD IN CONSULTATION WITH CLASS PARTICIPANTS. We may need to double up on a class or two to accommodate Aleph Kallah and Rabbinic Week.  SPACE IS LIMITED! Cost: $550 (scholarships may be available). Contact Natan for information and to register.


Course Description

When Ben Azzai was studying and there was fire all around him he explained that he wasn’t doing anything mystical but merely was stringing the words of Torah to the Prophets and from the Prophets to the Writings, and the words were as joyous as the day they were given on Mount Sinai (Midrash Shir HaShirim Rabbah). The basic building blocks of the midrashic way of thinking — and the Torah’s way of writing – was to juxtapose one text with another, to create new ideas and perspectives by taking old material and recombining it in new ways. In this class we will look at a variety of texts from the Tanakh to see how the Torah itself builds on subtle cross-references and hints to its own texts, and we examine how the rabbis who wrote midrash picked up on this and expanded it in their own way. What emerges is an organic, living torah, as alive and joyous as when it was given on Mount Sinai.

We will look at sections from around the Tanakh and Midrash. As background reading we will look at excerpts from these books: Daniel Boyarin, Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash; Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative; Ellen Davis, Scripture, Culture and Agriculture; Ilana Pardes, Countertraditions in the Bible, and some shorter articles.