Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I went to an interesting shiur today. I was at my campus Hillel, and someone talked me into staying for an hour to listen to a rabbi speak. I stayed, and had a somewhat interesting time. The rabbi was not insufferably boring. He was slightly entertaining, and seemed quite caught up in the material he was teaching. He was discussing the weekly parsha about Moses and the plagues in Egypt. He stressed how the Bible has God telling Moses to raise his hand and his staff, and “hand” is mentioned a few times. He tried saying that this is because Moses was such a servant of God that his hand was like God’s. That sort of thing.

It was fairly interesting, and I’ve heard far worse lectures. Still, I didn’t like the emphasis on God and serving him (as well as the hairsplitting with grammar, but that’s minor). It was all Moses, God and very lofty and abstract. Way too theoretical. Very little relevance to daily life, and even less relevant on a human, or humanistic level. For example, he pointed out that Aharon hit the water for the first three plagues as opposed to Moses WITHOUT EVEN MENTIONING the famous midrash that says this was because Moses was grateful to the water, so to speak, because it saved his life as a child and therefore he wouldn’t hit it. Simple lessons like that that I remember from kindergarten Pre-1A I find I can relate to, and all the abstract, technical stuff about sticks and hands, not as much.

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