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Archive for January, 2014

Torah Study

Much has happened since I stopped posting on this blog, including my official conversion to Judaism following all the halachic steps (hatafat dam brit, beit din, and mikvah). After yamim nora’im, I decided I was going to do a more focused torah study this year, following the weekly parashot. I wanted to dig into the text a bit deeper than I have in the past, so I’m doing a three-part study following the tradition of Torah reading on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat.

On Mondays, I read the parasha itself, using the Everett Fox translation.

Thursdays is modern/scholarly commentary day, usually using the URJ’s Torah; as I get the money, I’d like to use the URJ’s women’s torah commentary, the Conservative movement’s Eitz Chayim, and the queer Torah commentary. But for the moment, money restricts me to the standard. I also have the Oxford Jewish Study Bible which has lots of great notes on the Hebrew.

And on Shabbat morning, I read Speaking Torah, the hasidic commentary as collected by some of the best neo-Hasidic rabbis in the United States, Arthur Green, Ebn Leader, Ariel Evan Mayse, and Or N. Rose. Speaking Torah has kinda broken my mind open as it more or less refuses that p’shat reading altogether and goes straight to sod.

Since the Jewish tradition is to study Torah in pairs or groups, but I’m a single guy living alone, I thought I might see if I can use the internet to get some dialogue. Paraphrasing the old Talmudic tradition, when Rabbi A speaks, the voice of heaven says he is correct; and when Rabbi B speaks in direct opposition, the voice of heaven says he is correct; and when Rabbi C says “But they contradict each other!” the voice of heaven says he is correct, too.  So my assumption is that all voices are important and welcome even where they directly contradict.

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