Torah of Israel: Shemita in Eretz Yisrael
Join us for our Sunday morning learning program following morning minyan. Sessions will be led by a rabbi or a prominent friend of BJ, who will teach a monthly Torah class live. Each class will touch on a different topic that has been carefully chosen by the teacher to create an opportunity for enrichment and learning.
This month, Prof. Yehudah Mirsky will give a shiur (teaching) on “Rav Kook and Shemitah in Eretz Yisrael”.
Rav Kook (1865-1935) is to this day the leading thinker and figure of Religious Zionism. One of his many efforts was to find ways to adapt shemittah to the present, while maintaining its spirit. His work on this, Shabbat Ha-Aretz (available in a wonderful English edition put out by Hazon), is a profound meditation on the relationships between Jewishness, peoplehood, land and historical change. We will read some passages from it together.
Yehudah Mirsky is Professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis and on the faculty of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. He studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshiva College and received rabbinic ordination in Jerusalem. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, and completed his PhD in Religion at Harvard. He worked in Washington as an aide to then-Senators Bob Kerrey and Al Gore, and at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and served in the Clinton Administration as special advisor in the US State Department’s human rights bureau. He lives in Jerusalem where he has been a grass-roots activist. He has written widely on politics, theology and culture for a number of publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The New Republic and The Economist, The Daily Beast, and The Guardian After the attacks of September 11 he served as a volunteer chaplain for the Red Cross. He is the author of the widely-acclaimed volume, Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution (Yale University Press), recently published in Hebrew as Rav Kook: Mabat Hadash (Devir), and, most recently, Toward the Mystical Experience of Modernity (Academic Studies Press).