From Proof to Passion

Changing Interpretations of the Akeidah

LSJS Nov - Dec 2016


From LSJS Website

This course will explore one of the most well-known and widely interpreted biblical episodes – the Binding (Akedah) of Isaac. Using classical Jewish sources, revisionist Hasidic ideas, Islamic and Christian texts, song lyrics and more, we will build a broader picture of this beloved but deeply troubling story.


Session 1: The Akeidah Story as Read by the Sages
Session 2: A Mediaeval Shift - It's all About Potential
Session 3: Later Interpreters and Early Chassidic Approaches Session 4: Kierkegaard and 19th-Century Chassidic Revisionism
Session 5: The Akeidahs of Yishmael, Music, Art and Drama Session 6: Was Avraham Right? Rav Kook and the 20th Century

The Patchwork Bible

Responding to Bible Criticism in an Age of Reason

October - December 2015

From the LSJS Website

In this course, Rabbi Belovski will explore some of the thorniest challenges to traditional Judaism of the past 200 years since the rise of Biblical Criticism. Issues considered will include: Divine authorship of the Torah. The Documentary Hypothesis (Higher Bible Criticism) as well as Lower Bible Criticism and Textual Integrity. This course will involve the study of Maimonides, Ibn Ezra and other commentators to understand responses to these challenges.

Session 1: Introduction

Session 2: Alternative Approaches to the Rambam Session 3: Selected Bases for the Documentary Hypothesis
Session 4: Responses from Classical Sources
Session 5: Responses from Later Sources (1): Cassuto and Hertz
Session 6: Responses from Later Sources (2): Breuer and Bazak
Session 7: Responses from Later Sources (3): Weiss Halivni, Berman, Sarna and Katz

Pleasure and Aesthetics the Jewish Way

Are Beauty and Pleasure Jewish Ideas or Evils?

Jan - Mar 2014

From the LSJS website:

It’s often said that Judaism is interested in action rather than form, but is that really true? What do Jewish sources really have to say about beauty, visual and physical pleasure and the wonders of art? In this innovative course, Rabbi Belovski will explore classic texts and contemporary Jewish writings on aesthetics and form. As well as major themes, we will look specifically at Jewish approaches to art, music, poetry, language, food, aroma, and, of course, the pleasures of wine and sex.

Session 1: Pleasure and Aesthetics in Traditional Jewish Sources
Session 2: Art
Session 3: Music
I am frustrated to report that the recording failed.  I hope to have a chance to repeat the class soon.

Session 4: Literature and Poetry
Session 5: Taste and Smell
Session 6: Wine Session 7: Sex

An Introduction to Kabbalah

The Origin, Authenticity and Function of Kabbalah

LSJS May - July 2011

Part 1: Ein Sof, Sefirot and Shevirat HaKeilim

Part 2: Tachlit HaBeriah and the Origins of the Zohar 1

Part 3: The Origins of the Zohar 2 and Zohar as Midrash 1

Part 4: The Zohar as Midrash 2 and Chassidic Classics