Join Pardes North America online as we prepare for Purim with a Day of Learning. There will be three sessions offering 6 different classes from different members of the Pardes North America faculty.
Session 1: 8:00-9:00 am PST / 11:00 am-12:00 pm EST / 5:00pm-6:00 pm IST
Session 2: 9:15-10:15 am PST / 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm EST / 6:15pm-7:15 pm IST
Session 3: 10:30-11:30 am PST / 1:30pm-2:30 pm EST / 7:30pm-8:30 pm IST
Whenever we encounter characters in biblical texts, and indeed, in any text, we must ask about the extent to which we hold those characters to our own standards of morality. Traditionally, Mordechai has been seen as one of the heroes of the Purim story. But when read more closely, a more nuanced picture emerges. In this session we will explore when are we justified in bringing our own attitudes and beliefs to bear on a text? When should we force ourselves to evaluate biblical heroes on their own terms? And above all, what do we learn about Mordechai and ourselves as we read Megilat Esther this year?
With Rabbi Brent Spodek
In the spring of 1940, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto faced terror, murder, ahniliation. And yet, the month of Adar arrived, and with it the exhortation to increase joy as the holiday of Purim drew close. Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto, led his people towards joy, even in the depths of hell. How do we choose joy – how do we choose any of our feelings – in face of terror?
Throughout the Tanakh, beautiful women and some men are more visible because of their external appearance. What does this say about the quality of their lives and their need to cover or uncover in order to feel that they are seen for who they are? We will look at several characters in Tanach who “cover” themselves and explore what effect that has on the story. Finally, we will contrast the two female characters that appear in the Megilla and think about who we identify with – Vashti or Esther? What happens when they take their masks off is there a price for too much authenticity?
Together we will explore the different reasons given for Mordechai’s refusal to bow to Haman and discuss how this might influence Jewish responses to anti-semitism today.
We’re also commemorating 9 Adar: The Jewish Week of Constructive Dialogue during the month of Adar II. Find 9 Adar resources here!