It is a popular assumption that the Talmud is a book filled exclusively with legal dialectic and debate. Truth be told, the Talmud contains much more non- legal material than legal material and the same rabbis who vigorously debate legal issues, are equally energetic in their discussions about what makes up their theological universe. This course will focus on a number of these debates. Among the topics to be discussed: Why do the righteous suffer; Is there reward for service to God; Did Israel really accept the Torah of their own free will; Are the dead really resurrected; Who makes Jewish law – God or man?
Welcome to the course “Eight Theologically Provocative Sugyot in the Talmud”. In this course we will tackle some knotty theological questions as they found in the Babylonian sugya (argument). The manner of discourse will be Talmudic. The rabbis go about their discussions of theological questions in a “Talmudic way”, which is different from our modern […]
When Bad Things Happen To Good People – Kiddushin 39b Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein The Conservative Yeshiva Sources View the English text for Kiddushin 39b View the Hebrew text for Kiddushin 39b Guide Questions and Issues Section #1 Make note of the language of the mishnah. What is the mishnah promising? What do you think the […]
Brachot 5a-5b – Lesson 2 - The Meaning of Suffering Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein The Conservative Yeshiva I want to introduce this study sheet with two introductions: one about the Talmud and the other, about the subject. First, let me say a few words about the Talmud. You will notice that the beginning of our studies this […]
Lesson 3 - The Significance of Receiving the Torah – Shabbat 88a-89a Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein The Conservative Yeshiva In the selections which we will study in this lesson, we will find a variety of different vignettes concerning the event known as ‘matan Torah’ the giving of the Torah, each painting a different picture of the […]
Lesson 4 - Is the Resurrection of the Dead From the Torah? – Sanhedrin 90a-92b Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein The Conservative Yeshiva Alright, I admit it. I went a little bit crazy in this lesson and gathered nearly all of the material found in the last chapter of Sanhedrin which has to do with the said topic. […]
Lesson 5 – Verbal Deception – Baba Metziah 48b-49b Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein The Conservative Yeshiva Sources View the English text for Baba Metziah 48b-49b View the Hebrew text for Baba Metziah 48b-49b Guide Questions and Issues The mishnah which heads up the sugya in this lesson follows after sugyot dealing with the prohibition of a form of […]
The Rebellious Son: An Exercise in Judicial Interpretation – Sanhedrin 68b Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein The Conservative Yeshiva This lesson will illustrate a very interesting legal and theological phenomenon a case where the sages delimit the application of a law by making it next to impossible to carry out. We will deal with the Talmud’s treatment […]