Fasting, Praying, Planting, and Walking
Through the Rain: Masekhet Ta'anit
This year we'll be studying Masekhet Ta'anit.
In four chapters (30 pages), the Talmud
explores ancient ideas about individual
prayers, fasts, and communal practices
to influence Heaven. Material addressed
includes: prayers for rain, our relationship
to the natural world (that is, rain, seasons,
and agriculture), our power as "pray-ers,"
and the Kohanic blessings that were
performed in ancient days. A discussion of
public fast days allows for a presentation
and review of Jewish history. The Rabbis
begin the discussion asking which is more
important: a focus on tragedies or a focus
on moments of success and triumph? We
will see some of the earliest material in the
Talmud that deals with communal prayer,
which, according to some scholarship,
coalesced around public fast days that were
declared for the purpose of beseeching
God for communal needs.
Anyone may join the class at any time; previous participation is not necessary.
No prior knowledge of Talmud, Hebrew, or Aramaic is required! Class discussion is in English.
If it's possible for you to do so, although you need not do so to attend the class, it's recommended that you acquire the ArtScroll Schottenstein Talmud volume containing Masekhet Ta'anit. The volume is available in both the full size and Daf Yomi size (content is identical but type is smaller in the Daf Yomi version). The ArtScroll item number is TTAA for the full-size version, and DTTAA for the Daf Yomi size. The volume can be acquired directly from ArtScroll at www.artscroll.com
or any one of a variety of other online sources.
If you miss a class, or if you'd like to hear what our classes are like, feel free to listen to classes from the current season from the links below. Left-click on a file to play it or right-click and select "Save Target As..." to download the file to transfer to your phone, tablet, mp3 player or computer. In the meantime, feel free to enjoy classes from previous years using the links at the top of this page.