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Pre-Passover Learning Series

  • Harvard Law School, Milstein East 1585 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA, 02138 United States (map)
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Each session costs $5. 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 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.

Earlier Event: March 22
Kabbalat Shabbat Experience
Later Event: April 2
Pre-Passover Learning Series