This course examines Hasidic approaches to the major ideas and pathways of Judaism. We will explore the central themes in Hasidism through studying selected texts authored by great Hasidic masters from the 18th century to the present. This journey will lead to an in-depth understanding of the unique Hasidic approaches to Jewish values and practices and an appreciation of Hasidism’s profound theological and psychological insights.
Tanya is the foundational text of Chabad Hasidut. It introduces a paradigm shift in positing that existence is animated by the spiritually lowest realms and reimages God, mitzvah, and purpose in this light. The text sees every moment of our lives in terms of profound moral choice. This course will provide a glimpse of this consciousness, the extent of which will depend on the student.
This course fulfills the content of Intensive Study of one Rebbe.
The Shema: Often the first prayer we learn as a child, and the last offered on our deathbed, it is both mantra and consciousness raiser. Uttered not so much to God as to ourselves, it is a reminder that beneath all the variation, all the distinctions and separations, there is a deeper Unity that binds. In this course, we will explore key readings and practices of the Shema: moving from rabbinic and philosophical notions to (especially) the mystical. All key teachings will be provided in the Hebrew or Aramaic original; English translations will also be available.
Study of Tehillim from the daily and weekly liturgy. Attention will be paid to the poetic structure, linguistic aspects of Psalms, theological and spiritual messages of the Psalms, and the relationships between the Psalms studied and other passages of Biblical narrative and poetry.
A seminar setting for the close reading and development of understandings in various rabbinic texts.