It’s not surprising that many of the familiar Hebrew Bible tales concerning the four Matriarchs portray them very favorably. However, the Book of Genesis also relates some episodes about these women that seem to imply mixed or even negative judgments about particular aspects of their moral characters. We’ll examine how the contributions of classical rabbinic commentary create balance and nuance for our understanding of the Matriarchs’ characters—in particular, through some imaginative and often surprising stories in the midrashic literature that read against the grain of Torah in order to counter the positive or negative implications of the biblical text.
, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, retired from the practice of law in 1996 to focus on studying, teaching, and writing. He has taught many adult education programs for synagogues, universities, book groups, and other Jewish, legal, and general community organizations, including lecturing extensively about topics related to his books. He continues to be active as a member and lay leader of Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue in Encino, and he currently serves as a public member of the Institutional Review Board for Human Subject Research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His writings include: Many professional articles on probate, estate planning, and taxation; various inspirational poetry, prayers, and essays privately published by religious, literary, and charitable organizations; A Guide to Jewish Mourning and Condolence
, a nationally distributed booklet now available to the public at www.vbs.org
; 50 Jewish Messiahs
(Gefen Publishing House
), telling the life stories of the major Jewish messiah figures since Jesus, and their impact upon the Christian, Muslim, and secular worlds of their time; and The Lost Matriarch: Finding Leah in the Bible and Midrash
(Jewish Publication Society
), which uses classical Midrash and personal commentary to uncover the hidden story of Leah, perhaps our most important but most neglected biblical Matriarch.
Light lunch will be provided
Co-sponsored by: UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies
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