The individual sessions each cost $5, with all four at $15. Dinner is included in registration and will be served from 7:00-7:30. Please note the exception on April 9, when dinner will begin at 7:30 and the learning promptly at 8:00. Register here.
March 19, 7:00-9:00 pm: Dena Weiss, The Case of the Stolen Matzah: Do the Ends Justify the Means?
One of the enduring questions of human political life and our attempts at progress is whether the ends justify the means. The Talmud uses the case of some stolen matzah to probe the question of whether I can do a mitzvah with an object with a tainted pedigree. At what point must I draw the line and refuse to use an object that came to me illicitly and at what point can I say that what is in the past is in the past?
March 26, 7:00-9:00 pm: Rav Shai Held, The Defeat of Chaos, The Triumph of Life, and the Dream of a Compassionate Society (Or, What Is the Exodus Really About?)
In this session, we'll examine the biblical portrayal of Yetziat Mitzrayim (the Exodus) with new eyes. We'll see how the Torah interprets what's really at stake in the battle between God and Pharaoh and why God's victory over the tyrant is so essential. Then we'll see how the Torah sets out to build a society that is the antithesis of Egypt, one that has internalized the lessons of oppression and degradation and chosen a life oriented by compassion and solidarity instead.
April 2, 7:00-9:00 pm: Rav Tali Adler, This is My God: Mirrors, Diapers, and Where Redemption Happens
When we think of the Exodus from Egypt certain symbols immediately come to mind: blood, frogs, the split sea, and the burning bush. These symbols are awe-inspiring, but they are also only part of the story. In this session we'll explore Biblical and rabbinic texts that take a different view of slavery and the Exodus, focusing on private family moments rather than plagues and national salvation. We'll ask ourselves what's at the stake in the way we tell the story ofYetziat Mitzrayimand what a seder that centers a different narrative of salvation might look like.
April 9, 7:30-9:30 pm: Rav Shai Held, Turning Memory Into Empathy: The Lessons of Exodus
In this session, we'll explore the biblical ideal of "loving the stranger." We'll see how the mandate to love the outsider develops from Exodus to Leviticus to Deuteronomy; we'll ask about the role of memory in ethics (it's far more complex than we usually assume!); and we'll discuss how the mandate to love the outsider can be personalized; and we'll explore what it would really mean to love a God who loves the vulnerable and exploited.