Teen Beit Midrash studied the first chapter of masekhet (tractate) berakhot. We joined the Rabbis in contemplating the nature of time and how we divide it, and how these different divisions relate to forming a sustainable relationship with God as individuals and as a community. Together, we explored discussions of when to say the evening shema, discussions which get to the heart of what it means to be obligated in time-bound commandments, along the way taking a peak into God’s tefillin as well!
The 2016-2017 curriculum draws on material from Talmud Kiddushin. In this massechet (volume of talmud) we encounter instances of obligations between parents and children. We look at cases where parents are commanded to take action towards their children, such as circumcision. We ask, who may perform those actions? May the community? May grandparents? May both the father and mother? We look at questions of honoring parents and honoring God, exploring how those compare and sometimes conflict. We also encounter the requirement of a parent to teach Torah to children and rules about the study of Torah. As we encounter the examples in the Talmud, students juxtapose Rabbinic versus modern relationships between children and parents. What were the different roles for fathers versus mothers and sons versus daughters in Rabbinic times compared with today? We also explore the nature of Torah study and how that applies to our own learning of Torah. By looking at the texts and thinking critically about what might have gone into the decision-making process of the rabbis, we gain tools for helping us bring Jewish values into our own decision making.