Emanu-El Scholar Courses
Madeleine Haas Russell Institute of Jewish Learning
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
All classes in this program are taught by the Emanu-El Scholar Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. The Emanu-El scholar program was created by Senior Rabbi Emeritus Stephen Pearce and this innovative offering has greatly enriched learning at Emanu-El.
Midrash: Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer (PdRE)
with Rabbi Lawrence KushnerAlternate Thursday evenings, 7:00 - 8:30pmOct 22, Nov 5, 19, Dec 3, 17Temple Emanu-El
First published in Constantinople in 1514, Pirke deRabbi Eliezer is a late, pseudepigraphic (Biblical wannabe) midrash claiming to explain, enhance and, indeed, reveal, the inner mysteries of the Hebrew Bible and Jewish thought.
Citing other, earlier legends, PdRE explains why Sarah died (it was of a broken heart); the last sound you make before you die (heard from one end of the earth to the other!); how Aaron built the golden calf (one of the gold earrings had the Tetragramaton engraved on it); and even such closely guarded secrets as how the world was created! This stuff is fanciful, imaginative, mysterious, and, sometimes, off the wall. But it is always exciting.
We will use the Friedlander translation (Amazon, $27). There are also at least two vocalized (with the dots) Hebrew editions available. Students who wish to try their hands at the original will be encouraged to do so but this will not be a “Hebrew.”
Kabbalah: A Love Story
Rabbi Kushner's first novel
Four years in the making! Soon to be a major motion picture! (Hey, it could happen.) After sixteen books of non-fiction, Rabbi Kushner's first novel, KABBALAH: A LOVE STORY is the fable of a rabbi who accidentally discovers a hidden, lost page to the Zohar (the master text of Kabbalah) and what that discovery does to his life and the life of a woman he doesn't (yet) know he loves who teaches astronomy at Columbia University. A short selection from the first chapter and endorsements are available here.