Category: Jewish Philosophy & Thinking
5 Unit(s), 15 Resource(s),
Hashgacha and Freewill
This house focuses on the two central Jewish concepts of Hashgacha (Divine Providence) and Human Free Will and how to harmonize between these two notions that seem to be in conflict.
This house focuses on the nature and purpose of humankind as understood from early and modern sources examining the creation narrative in Sefer Beresishit.
You Are What You Eat: Finding Meaning in the Laws of keeping Kosher
This Unit will familiarize learners with the concepts of kashrut, as well as expose them to the basic laws of keeping kosher. It will examine some of the rationales behind these laws and consider a broader understanding of kashrut and its relevance to Jewish values and contemporary ethics.
The Exodus from Egypt as a Jewish Calling
This unit explores the centrality of the Exodus from Egypt in Jewish life. It suggests several reasons for its importance, and discusses the moral lessons from it that have guided human behavior throughout history.
Chosen People, Chosen Purpose
This unit explores the concept of chosenness, and what it means when Jewish tradition says the Jewish people are a “Chosen People”.
Contemporary approaches to divine providence and free will
This lesson looks at several contemporary thinkers’ approaches to the issues of divine providence, divine foreknowledge, and human free will.
Human Responsibility and Divine Providence
This lesson explores the tension between the concepts of divine providence and human free will and therefore responsibility to self well-being. If there is divine providence at an individual level, does this mean we can rely on God’s protection if we are worthy or do we still have a responsibility to look after ourselves?
Free Will and do we really have it?
This unit will explore Jewish perspectives on free will in light of the Jewish belief of hashgachah, divine providence. Belief in an all-knowing God that controls the universe complicates a belief in the existence of free will. Yet, free will is a critical component in determining sin or its opposite, the fulfillment of a mitzvah. If there is no free will, how can one be responsible for their actions?
In God’s Image
In this unit we will consider what it means that humans are created ‘in the image of God’, and what that tells us about the Torah’s approach to the nature and purpose of humankind.
Shabbat and the Exodus
In this block we will consider the connections between Shabbat and the Exodus.
The Spirit of Shabbat
In this block we will explore the overall theme of “rest” on shabbat as a way to maintain the spirit of shabbat.
Finding New Meaning in Kashrut for the Modern Age
In this block we will consider several contemporary approaches to finding new meaning in the laws of kashrut.
Holding back: How Kashrut teaches social and moral self-discipline
In the “Are there health benefits (for body and soul) to keeping kosher?” block the potential physical and spiritual health benefits to observing the laws of kashrut were considered. In this block we will explore possible sociological, psychological, and ethical reasons behind the laws of kashrut.
Tzitzit as a Symbol
In this lesson, the symbolism of the mitzvah of Tzitzit will be examined, through looking at the biblical source for the mitzvah, and then exploring different approaches through talmudic and modern voices.
You Left Egypt – Now Pay It Forward
In this lesson we explore how the Exodus story in the national consciousness of the Jewish people has been a moral compass, instilling the values of protecting the vulnerable in society. This is legislated in Jewish law, can be seen in Jewish history, and is a national calling for the future – to build a society on the values of protecting the weak and vulnerable amongst us.
The Exodus Narrative as an Inspiration in Modern History
In this lesson we explore how the Exodus story has been an inspiration for Jews and non-Jews alike during historical periods when freedom and liberty could not be taken for granted. These include the refuseniks in Soviet Russia, appartheid South Africa, and the the struggle for civil rights for African Americans.
Protected: From Communal to Personal Calling
In this lesson we will focus on the more personal impact of the Exodus on our lives as individuals. Using the quote from the Haggada “In each and every generation a person is obligated to see oneself as if they had [personally] come out of Egypt” as a launching point, the thinkers presented here describe if and how we can create a personal connection to the story, and how this can change us as people.
Chosen for What?
Before the Israelites received the Torah God instructed Moses to describe them as a “Segula” (treasured) and a “Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation”. This is a biblical source for being a chosen people. But chosen for what?
Chosenness: Privilege or Responsibility
God promises a special relationship with the Jewish people. That He will love and protect them, and ensure they are prosperous and safe. But is this relationship unconditional? Is it a privilege or is there responsibility that comes with these blessings?