Midrash Courses

Ten Bible Stories You Thought You Knew – Introduction to Rabbinic Midrash
  • by Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein

The sages of the Rabbinic period shaped the way the Jewish tradition looks at the Bible. Their manner of interpretation is known as midrash. This course seeks to provide the student with the tools: textual, historical, religious and literary to explore the rabbinic interpretation of Scripture. This will be accomplished through the examination of how the rabbinic sages interpreted key stories in the Bible. The text reading will be examined both in Hebrew and in English translation.

Class 1: It Is All A Matter Of Words

Class 2: Midrash In Three Steps

Class 3: Avraham And The Idol Shop

Class 4: The Slaying Of Abel By Cain

Class 5: The Significance Of Abraham

Class 6: The Sins Of Sodom And Gemorrah

Class 7: Akedat Yitzhak (The Binding Of Isaac) 

Class 8: The Heroism Of Mordechai And Esther

Class 9: The Tribulations Of Amalek

Class 10: The Burning Bush

Class 11: The Struggle Over Who Would Enter The Sea

Class 12: The Four Sons Of The Haggadah

All Around Abraham
  • by Vered Hollander-Goldfarb

The Abraham narrative in Bereshit (Genesis) focuses, naturally, on Abraham. But around the father of the monotheistic faiths are several secondary characters, illuminating him and fascinating in their own right. Let’s take a look at the family that he leaves behind, the nephew that joins and leaves him, the wife that does not bear children and the wife and child he is forced to give up. We will consider the local political and cultic powers that he deals with. What does a close reading of the Tanakh tell us about these people? How do later traditions understand them?

Class 1: All Around Abraham Welcome

Class 2: The Mishpucha (Family)

Class 3: Sarah

Class 4: Hagar

Class 5: Lot

Class 6: Kings All Around

Class 7: Ishmael

Class 8: Isaac

Class 9: The Servant

Midrash On The Exodus
  • by Rabbi Gail Diamond

Enhance your understanding of the Exodus and your retelling at the Seder by studying Midrash – early and later rabbinic teachings about the Exodus. Learn the story behind the story. Find out by the merit of which actions by righteous women we were redeemed. Learn the true nature of the waters that covered Pharoah and his army. Examine what really happened at the Red Sea and what the witnesses saw…and explore the meaning of all these teachings for our lives today.

Class 1: Introduction To Midrash On The Exodus

Class 2: Is God A Man Of War?

Class 3: By The Merit Of Righteous Women

Class 4: Meaning Of Darkness

Class 5: Teshuvah, Reward And Punishment

Midrash on the Matriarchs
  • by Rabbi Gail Diamond

Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel – we bless our daughters in their names and read their stories each fall in Sefer Bereishit. Our sages interpreted their stories through Midrash, filling in details, expanding roles, and in many cases lifting up our foremothers to greater stature. In this class, we will study Midrashim from Bereishit Rabbah as well as later commentaries, seeking to understand the stories of our foremothers and what they can teach us for our lives today.

Class 1: Introduction To Midrash On The Matriarchs Who Is Sarah? 

Class 2: Sarah Our Mother

Class 3: Sarah And Hagar 

Class 4: Who Is Rivka? 

Class 5: Rivka The Mother Of Jacob And Esau 

Class 6: Rachel And Leah: Loving Sisters Or Rivals? 

Class 7: Leah: Mother And Role Model 

Class 8: Rachel: Triumph And Tragedy