Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Avinu Malkeinu

My teacher, Dr. Richard Sarason, taught that "it is an irony of history that the very language now so controversial in Avinu Malkeinu (namely, the masculine-gendered, hierarchical images of God as “Father” and “King”) is what made this prayerful appeal so distinctive and effective for its original users."  The origin of Avinu Malkeinu is imbedded in our Tractate Ta'anit 25.  There is much to learn here in the point-counterpoint of the Eliezer-Akiba experience.  Shana Tova. (Peretz Wolf-Prusan)

Friday, September 27, 2019

Discourse and Truth: the Problematization of Parrhesia

"Ideal charismatic action emerges out of a profound intimacy
with God that allows the charismatic to couple critical speech with a potent affirmation of God's faithfulness and loyalty. Intimacy serves as the foundation of effective
rabbinic parrhesia , the quality of presence that allows the charismatic to articulate critical discourse before God while still retaining God's favor . These dynamics take center stage in Bavli Ta ʿ anit's tale of Naqdimon ben Gurion, which appears in bTaʿanit 19b–20".  (P
age 152, Julia Watts Belser, "Power, Ethics, and Ecology in Jewish Late Antiquity: Rabbinic Responses to Drought and Disaster"  Cambridge University Press)

Discourse and Truth: the Problematization of Parrhesia: 6 lectures given by Michel Foucault at the University of California at Berkeley, Oct-Nov. 1983


To read “The City Square in the Performance of Taanit: From Rabbinic Space to Contemporary Jerusalem,” by Yair Lipshitz, CLICK HERE

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Cancellation of Megillat Ta’anit

Our readings of Tractate Ta'anit contains several mentions of Megillat Ta'anit.  What is Megillat Ta'anit is a fascinating question and an excellent explanation can be found here:


Tuesday, July 30, 2019


It is with great joy that we announce that registration for the 2019 – 2020 Bay Area Community Talmud Circle is available now!

Join a circle here:CLICK

If you are joining us this year, welcome, and please read this post for details about our continuing study and the special Introduction to Talmud Study Tutorials for new students.

Rabbi Dorothy Richman (left) leads our Berkeley Circle, Prof. Deena Aranoff (top) leads our Marin Circle, and Rabbi Jennifer Clayman (right) leads our Los Gatos Circle

Senior Educator Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan leads the San Francisco Circles, and the Palo Alto and Santa Rosa Circles.  Associate Director Tamar Zaken coordinates the Text Circles and Kevah Program

We are continuing our reading of Tractate Ta’anit.  New participants are welcomed and will have webinars and tutorials to be able to jump in.

This section of the Talmud raises questions about “Holy Men” pronouncing the "meaning" of a disaster. This narrative section of the Talmud, in the words of Julia Watts Belser, “over turns expected hierarchies of gender, piety, and social status to challenge the theological significance of hunger, suffering, and abundance.” She writes, "These narratives blunt the moral condemnation inherent in disaster – and suggest that blessing often lies beneath the surface of apparent misfortune.” The Talmud asserts that an interpretation of events exercises a powerful influence over experience.

Students should purchase the Koren Talmud Bavli Noé, Vol.12: Ta’anit/Megilla, Hebrew/English, print (several versions) or the PDF (less than $10).

Join a Circle: CLICK

If you have questions, please contact Tamar Zaken at tamar@hmqm or (510) 845-6420.