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Aggadatah Shiurim

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R. Yehoshua’s conquest of the sages of Athens: An adventure in Aggadatah


A seemingly bizarre narrative in the Talmud describes an intriguing encounter between Rabbi Yehoshua and the sages of the school of Athens. While a superficial reading leaves us baffled, a deeper reading opens up worlds of perspectives on a clash of world views, methodologies and value systems.

The audio shiur consists of three segments:

1. A preliminary reading of the Talmudic text.

2. An analysis of the deeper meanings of this text- part 1.

3. An analysis of the deeper meanings of this text – part 2. 

How to be a Zadik

 Which is greater, learning Torah or saving Am Yisrael? What is true Tzidkut? Did Chazal think it was wrong for Mordechai to be mevatel Torah in order to save us from Haman? Why was Moshe the epitome of a Tzadik? A crucial discussion of the sources.

Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair and his donkey

An analysis of several key aggadic texts, including the narrative of R. Pinchas ben Yair and his donkey, as well as his famous beriatah (which is the foundation of Mesillat Yesharim). 

These texts have much to say about how we are to approach our Avodat Hashem, especially in terms of doing things in the best possible way. This shiur relates to our discussion of chumrot, and more. 

The concept of of Kanaut Revisited

A deeper look at the Pinchas narrative, especially in terms of Chazal's comments. A different way of understanding what kanaut is all about. 

The secret of the Mishkan: an adventure in peshat and derash!

A key aspect of the deeper meaning of the text and meaning of the Mishkan parshiyot emerges alongside the revelation of the meaning of a constellation of seemingly bizarre midrashim. A beautiful example of how to learn peshat, derash and the relationship between them.

Talmud Torah or contribution to Am Yisrael (and to the world)?

The Gemarah says that Mordechai went down in stature due to his neglecting his Talmud Torah in order to save the Jewish People. How are we to understand this?

Which is better, contributing to the Jewish People/ the World or learning Torah? What leads to human perfection? What is a tzaddik?

A crucial analysis for our times! 

Pharaoh's Mikdash: an analysis of a subtle aspect of Parshat Beshalach

This shiur explores a fascinating hidden theme in Parshat Besahlach, clarifiying issues of peshat and derash (disecting a fascinating midrash in Vayikra Rabbah).

Note: This shiur adds new insights and clarifications to the version found in Amittah Shel Torah.

The meaning of Kabbalat Hatorah

An examination of the concept of Kabbalat Hatorah and a re-evaluation of the meaning of some well known midreshei Chazal.

The difference between Rut and Iyov: a perspective on adversity.

A seemingly strange gemarah about Rut and Iyov yields a beautiful and crucial perspective on adversity and life.