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11 minutes | Jan 16, 2022
R. Aviva Richman on Tu Bishvat and MLK Day: Fruit Trees, Access, and Equity
In recent decades, Tu Bishvat has become a holiday for trees and to raise awareness and concern for our natural environment. This year, as we celebrate Tu Bishvat in the midst of a Shemittah year, it is a powerful opportunity to notice the ways Jewish laws on produce and agriculture come at the intersection of the natural environment and social equity. Particularly on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, this intersection is especially poignant. As we celebrate Tu Bishvat of Shemittah this year, let’s remember that we must build a world where blessings are not only shared, but shared in effective ways with those whose access may be riddled with obstacles and hazards.
10 minutes | Jan 12, 2022
R. Aviva Richman on Parashat BeShallach: Redemptive Relationship, Part 2
Last week, we began an exploration of the different stories of how Israel “fell in love” with God. Far from a naive picture of the beloved who swoops in to make everything better, digging deeper into these texts we find a more rugged texture of how redemptive relationship interfaces with complex realities. This week, we will explore the relationship between parents and children, their respective relationships with God, and how these webs of relationship shape each other.
12 minutes | Jan 4, 2022
R. Aviva Richman on Parashat Bo: Redemptive Relationship, Part 1
Our tradition invites us to explore the nature of redemptive relationship. Instead of reading the Exodus as primarily historical or mythic, a prominent strand among our sages interprets the Exodus intimately and poetically, through the lens of the Song of Songs. The narrative becomes the origin story of our covenantal relationship with God — or, one might say, the story of how we fell in love.
46 minutes | Jan 4, 2022
R. Shai Held: What if Shir HaShirim Really is an Allegory After All?
Some people see Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs, as an allegory for the love between God and Israel. Some see it simply as a love poem. But what if it’s both?! R. Shai Held takes us through intertextual references in Shir HaShirim and the history of ancient perfume to try to convince us that maybe Shir HaShirim can be both an allegory and literal text at the same time. This lecture was originally delivered as part of Hadar’s Summer Learning Retreat in June 2021.
10 minutes | Dec 29, 2021
R. Aviva Richman on Parashat Va’Era: Calling God Into Being
Sometimes we need a new name for God. The ways we’ve known God so far may feel limited, inadequate, or even disappointing. Moshe is lucky enough to have God disclose a new name, one that will usher in redemption. Learning new names for God that represent a different kind of relationship, or new ways for God to show up in the world, is not generally so straightforward. Sometimes we have to be proactive, whether out of gratitude or desperation, and call God into being in new ways.
11 minutes | Dec 22, 2021
R. Aviva Richman on Parashat Shemot: Seeds of Slavery
Where does our story of slavery begin? These are times when our own ancestors mistreated or enslaved others, perhaps laying the groundwork for the kind of oppression that would end up enslaving us. Noticing these moments is about becoming aware of how our choices about how to exercise power shape the communities and world our descendants will inhabit.
29 minutes | Dec 21, 2021
R. Avi Strausberg: Bones of My Bones, Flesh of My Flesh
Get to the roots of gender in the Torah by turning to the opening narratives of creation in Genesis 1 and 2. What might these two different accounts of the creation of the first man and first woman imply about the Torah's understandings of gender and gender roles in relationships? Moving beyond the Torah, we meet Lilith, the woman who breaks the mold and challenges stereotypical notions of gender. Through a close encounter with Torah, traditional midrash, and contemporary interpretations, we'll examine and reexamine notions of gender and relationships in hopes of better articulating our understandings of gender and gender roles in relationships. This lecture was originally delivered as part of Hadar's Summer Learning Retreat in June 2021.
10 minutes | Dec 16, 2021
R. Aviva Richman on Parashat VaYechi: Unfinished Reconciliation
Yosef and his family are reunited, and we might hope to find meaningful resolution and reconciliation between brothers. Instead, we discover communication gaps, accompanying persistent guilt and fear. When we embrace the mess of Sefer Bereishit that has so much unresolved conflict, we can be inspired to expand our views of reconciliation and forgiveness.
39 minutes | Dec 14, 2021
R. Tali Adler: Murder in a Midrashic Key
In the Bible, where characters are generally multifaceted, the first murderer in the Bible, is a notable exception -- until we consider the world of midrash. R. Tali Adler teaches about Kayin through the lens of midrash and discusses how this character might serve as a surprising religious role model. This lecture was originally delivered as part of Hadar's Summer Learning Retreat in June 2021.
9 minutes | Dec 8, 2021
R. Aviva Richman on Parashat VaYigash: Leaning In - With Reckless Compassion
What is the tone of Yehudah’s approach to Yosef? Surprisingly, early traditions emphasize the aggressiveness of the encounter, suggesting that Yehudah approached “for war.” Even more surprisingly, we learn that we are meant to adopt this very stance in our own daily prayer. We too must cultivate the capacity to fight for what conviction and compassion demand, day in and day out.
8 minutes | Nov 24, 2021
R. Aviva Richman on Parashat VaYeishev: Sexual Ethics, Part 2 - Integrity
In Parashat VaYeishev, Yosef repeatedly resists the advances of Potifar’s wife. In the wake of modern and contemporary sexual revolutions, there has been pushback on a sexual ethics based on boundaries and “purity” in favor of a sexual ethics that focuses primarily on consent. Consent is critical, but sometimes too narrow a lens to understand the significance of sexuality in our lives. Upon closer look at Yosef’s encounter with Potifar’s wife, we find an approach to sexual ethics that intersects with fundamental questions of identity and purpose.
11 minutes | Nov 18, 2021
R. Aviva Richman on Parashat VaYishlach: Sexual Ethics, Part 1 - Voice and Dignity
The most devastating part of the story of Dinah is that the Torah does not share Dinah’s perspective. We have no idea if this was “the rape of Dinah” or an encounter she desired. This gap is not surprising, but as inheritors of Torah we must ask ourselves how we inherit this part of our Torah responsibly.
42 minutes | Nov 15, 2021
R. Aviva Richman: Rain, Dew, Wind, and Storm: The Quest for Nourishing Torah
Through a discussion of midrashim on the Book of Devarim, Rabbi Aviva Richman dives into the various roles of Torah as intermediary, a place for grief, joy, atonement, darkness, and more. She teaches the Torah, like rain, is limitless. Listen in to enjoy the journey of inspiring Torah thought.
10 minutes | Nov 11, 2021
R. Aviva Richman on Parashat VaYeitzei: Facing Our Blessings, Part 2
"Recognition”—or lack thereof—emerges at pivotal moments of Yaakov's unfolding story, and reverberates to his children as well. Following the theme of recognition in Ya’akov’s journey allows us to address these fundamental questions for ourselves: Do we deserve the blessings we have? Do we get the blessings we “deserve”?
56 minutes | Nov 10, 2021
Book Talk Ft. Rachel Sharona Lewis and Sigal Samuel
What does a fictional mystery-solving queer woman rabbi have in common with a real-life 17th-century woman rabbi, scholar, and miracle-worker? In this episode, Sigal Samuel and Rachel Sharona Lewis, both Yeshivat Hadar alumni, share more about their groundbreaking books, “The Rabbi Who Prayed with Fire” and “Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World's First Female Rabbi.” This conversation was moderated by Hadar’s Editorial Director, Dr. Elisheva Urbas, and was originally held on April 26, 2021.
8 minutes | Nov 3, 2021
R. Aviva Richman on Toldot: Facing Our Blessings, Part 1
R. Aviva Richman shares her thoughts on Parashat Toldot. When Yitzhak blesses Ya’akov, disguised as Esav, it introduces a gap between being seen for who we are and finding blessing. It leaves us yearning for the kind of blessing that comes not from hiding ourselves but from being fully recognized. We’ll explore different aspects of the relationship between recognition and blessing over this week and next. This week, our focus will be the significance of faces and being seen.
52 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
R. Tali Adler: The Torah of Reopening Part 3
In this episode, Rav Tali dives into the overall picture of what returning and rebuilding will look like in the communal spaces in our lives. What might it look like to return to institutions that we left behind? To the shuls and workplaces and schools? Rav Tali explores the return of the Jewish people from the Babylonian exile and draws comparisons to our experience today.
46 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
R. Tali Adler: The Torah of Reopening Part 2
In this episode, Rav Tali delves into the experience of the messy emotions of reuniting with loved ones after the pandemic. Times of extended separation can change the nature of a relationship and Rav Tali offers tools to navigate the changes. Rav Tali makes space in this talk for some of the more difficult emotions.
54 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
R. Tali Adler: The Torah of Reopening Part 1
In the spring of 2021, as many Covid-19 restrictions were lifted and more people began re-entering their social worlds, R. Tali Adler gave Hadar’s Spring Lecture Series on the “Torah of Reopening.” In this episode, Rav Tali addresses the oh-so-complicated array of emotions that arise as we explore re-engaging with the world, dealing in particular with “fear before we open the door.” Rav Tali’s wisdom will help you reflect and feel inspired and we hope you enjoy this episode.
1 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
Ta Shma Trailer
Welcome to Ta Shma, a new podcast where you get to listen in on Hadar’s Beit Midrash. Whether you’re at home or on the go, come and listen to recordings from recent Hadar classes, lectures, programs. Ta Shma is hosted by R. Avi Killip of the Hadar Institute.
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