Bamidbar: The Book of Numbers
Teshuvah: Rebellion and Repentance
Jerusalem, Israel, 7-29 July, 2014
Bamidbar (in the wilderness), the Book of Numbers, is one of the most dramatic books in the Torah. It shares the same theme as the Song of Songs, the ‘holiest book in the Bible,’ (R. Akiva, d. 135 CE). While the Songs of Songs describes an idyllic type of love affair between God and Israel and God and the soul, the Book of Numbers, in contrast, describes the tortured relationship between God and Israel and by implication, God and the soul. The physical obstacles along the route fade in comparison to the struggling relationship between God and the People whose dominant sin is lack of trust: “YHWH said to Moshe: How long will this People scorn me? How long will they not trust in me, despite all the signs that I have done among them?” (Num. 14:11).
Our main topic is sin and repentance. With a staff of Jewish and Christian professors we will look at talmudic, midrashic, and modern interpretations of sin, rebellion and repentance.
Bibloography: Commentaries on the Book of Numbers by G. Plaut, E. Fox, Eskenazi, etc.; Maimondes’ “Hilchot Teshuva” (The Rules of Repentance); Soloveitchik on Repentance by Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Pinchas H. Peli ; Linda Radzik, Making Amends: Atonement in Morality, Law, and Politics; N. Verbin, Divinely Abused: A Philosophical Perspective on Job and his Kin
Prof. M. Fritz, N.D.S., B.A., B.Ed., M.A., Ph.D.
Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies