In Their Time: The Tannaim
The Tannaim lived approximately 100 years prior to and after the destruction of the Second Temple. The Mishnah is a compilation of their rulings and sayings. Join Rabbi David Sedley as he explores their biographies and backgrounds and how that influenced and explains some of their hashkafic disputes.
In Their Time: The Tannaim: Eldad and Meidad: Rabbi Eliezer and Rav Nachman
Rabbi Eliezer and Rav Nachman disagree about what Eldad and Meidad prophesied. In this class we will look at the original sources to figure out the basis of their disagrement.
In Their Time: The Tannaim: Rav Kahana
We begin this class with Rav Kahana hiding under his teacher, Rav’s, bed. We then compare Rav Kahana to Yosef. And discuss the dangers of a strong commitment to truth and the inability to remain silent in the face of falsehood. And we end with Rav Kahana being killed, then being brought back to life.
In Their Time: The Tannaim: Reish Lakish
In Their Time: The Tannaim: Rabbi Yehoshua: Not in Heaven
Rabbi Yehoshua famously stated “It is not in Heaven.” In the simple context, he meant that the responsibility for halachic decisions is now in the realm of the human, not the divine.
However, there is a broader way of understanding “Not in Heaven.” In this class, we will examine how the stars and moon shaped Rabbi Yehoshua’s life and his behavior. We will also discuss his namesake, the biblical Joshua, and how he was the first person to have to face the idea of “Not in Heaven.”
We will also look at Bar Kochba, named for a star. Was his failed messianic quest also part of the “Not in Heaven” story?
In Their Time: The Tannaim: Rabbi Akiva: When will I have the opportunity?
Rabbi Akiva is one of the most famous tannaim. His teachings form the core of the mishna.
At the time of his death, as he was being tortured by the Romans, he told his students, “I said to myself: When will the opportunity be afforded me to fulfill this verse? Now that it has been afforded me, shall I not fulfill it?”
In this class we will see how Rabbi Akiva’s entire life was preparing for the moment when he would be able to sanctify Gd’s name.
Rabbi David Sedley lives in Jerusalem with his wife and six children. He was born and raised in New Zealand before making Aliya in 1992. He left Israel temporarily (for eight years) to serve as a communal Rabbi in Scotland and England and returned to Israel in 2004. He has translated Rabbeinu Yonah's commentary on Pirkei Avos and is the co-author of Sefiros: Spiritual Refinement Through Counting the Omer (both Judaica Press). Over the years Rabbi Sedley has worked as a journalist, a translator, a video director and in online reputation management. He also writes a weekly Torah blog on the Times of Israel.