Torah from Israel
Join us for our Sunday morning learning program following Morning Minyan. Sessions will be led by a rabbi or a prominent partner or friend of BJ, who will teach a monthly Torah class live from Israel. 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, Dr. Yael Avrahami will give a shiur (teaching) on, “The Torah and Disabilities: What can we learn about the Bible and about ourselves?”
“You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind" (Leviticus 19:14). This famous decree is often recalled when talking about disabilities in Judaism. It places a moral and practical demand from the reader, but does the Torah itself obey this rule? In this session of Torah from Israel, we will examine how biblical stories present their disabled characters; what disabilities symbolizes in biblical poetic texts; and where the disabled are mentioned in biblical law. Proceeding from the ancient representation, we will ask in what ways biblical lore about disabilities has influenced us, and how we can reread these texts through our own sensibilities.
Dr. Yael Avrahami is a Biblical Studies professor at Oranim: Academic College of Education, and a Fulbright alumnus. She holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from the University of Haifa and an M.A. in Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University. Yael is the author of The Senses of Scripture: Sensory Experience in the Hebrew Bible, for which she won the Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise. She is also a co-author of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: A Reader’s Edition. Her studies focus on Socio-cultural interpretation, Semantics, and Inner biblical interpretation. She is mostly interested in the windows that ancient texts open for us into ancient cultures and minds. She is also amazed by the extent to which reading ancient texts can improve our understanding of contemporary cultures and minds.