Author Archives: Hillel

Parshat Vaychi: Did Joseph and his Brothers Reconcile?

In this week’s class we discuss a number of questions: Did the brothers ever truly repent for their actions, and did Joseph ever truly reconcile with them? Why isn’t their reconciliation (or lack thereof) made clear in the text? What … Continue reading

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Channukah: Judaism’s Most Minor ‘Major” Holiday

Channukah is the only ‘major’ holiday in Judaism that has no requirement of eating, drinking or joy.  Why didn’t Chazal make Channukah like Pesach or Sukkot or even Purim? For that matter, why celebrate Channukah at all?  The miracle of … Continue reading

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Parshat Miketz – Why Didn’t Yosef Call Home?

In this week’s class we look at the question of Yosef’s decision not to tell his father he was alive.  After all, Yosef was promoted to a powerful position in Egypt – why not send a message to his beloved … Continue reading

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Parshat Vayeshev: Who Sold Joseph?

In this week’s class, we do a close textual analysis and discuss whether or not the brothers sold Joseph into slavery.  We build (and critique) a case for suggesting they did, we build (and critique) a case for suggesting they … Continue reading

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Parshat Vayishlach – Dinah

In this class we examine the Incident of Dinah as address the question of ambiguity in the text. Who are the “good guys” and “bad guys” in the story? Is Yaakov passive or biding his time? Are the brothers murderous … Continue reading

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Parshat Vayetze: Is Lavan a Good Guy, A Bad Guy, or an OK Guy?

In this week’s class we discuss the character of Lavan. Is he a caring father and uncle, or a liar and a cheat?  Does his character change over the 20 years Yaakov remains at his house? How is he viewed … Continue reading

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Parshat Chayei Sara – Why A Whole Chapter on Avraham Buying a Burial Plot?

This week, we analyze and discuss Chapter 23 of Bereshit.  Why does the Torah spend a full chapter detailing the negotiations of buying the land?  Why is Abraham discussing the sale with the entire tribe of Heth, and not just … Continue reading

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Parshat Vayera – Why was Ishmael Expelled from the House of Abraham?

We’re starting a new series of classes on the weekly parsha!  This week, we look into the text and some medrashim on the story of the expulsion of Ishmael and Hagar from the house of Abraham.  Why was Ishmael expelled … Continue reading

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Jewish Sources on Gun Rights and Gun Control – Source Sheet

GC class sources

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Jewish Sources on Gun Rights and Gun Control

For obvious reasons, ancient Jewish sources don’t say much about guns; but they do say a lot about the arguments that are used by proponents of gun rights and gun control.   A selection of classic Jewish approaches to these thorny … Continue reading

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