Esh Kodesh: Torah for Times of Desolation

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Title: Esh Kodesh: Torah for Times of Desolation (4 sessions)
Program: Open Circle Jewish Learning, Text and Tradition
Instructor: Michael Fraade (see bio)
Day and time, Tuesdays 7-8:30 pm ET
Dates: March 26; April 2, 9, 16, 2024
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $160 Scholarships are available

This class will explore selections from Esh Kodesh (“Sacred Fire”), a series of sermons written by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira in the Warsaw Ghetto. A widely respected educator and scholar, Rabbi Shapira continued to write while interned in the ghetto from 1939-1942, and the manuscripts that he hid underground were recovered after the war. His drashot ( sermons) focus on how to respond to catastrophe, faith in times of crisis, and what it means to have a relationship with God when God seems hidden or absent. His work–often considered one of the last major Hasidic works written in Poland-
–has become a modern classic read by a wide range of Jews, scholars, and seekers.

We will read selections from Rabbi Shapira’s sermons in English, examining how he weaves together Jewish classical texts, his message to other Jews in the ghetto, and his own struggles with the profound tragedy unfolding around him. Rabbi Shapira rarely alludes to contemporary events in his sermons, reflecting his intent to preserve their power and relevance beyond his own time. As we approach Yom Hashoah 5784, this exploration will help us understand a beloved Hasidic master of the 20th century while also asking what relevance his teachings have to our contemporary lives.

Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning is for learners of all backgrounds.

Canadian and other registrants from outside of the US: please email Cindy Bernstein to complete your registration. We apologize for the inconvenience.