Oral Law Seminar Archives

Marc Ashley’s Annual Adult Education Course between Pesah and Shavuot

For more than a decade now at Or Zarua, congregant Marc Ashley has taught an annual adult education course on several Sunday mornings between Pesach and Shavuot. During this spring period leading up to the yearly commemoration of the revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the perfect time for contemplation and introspection regarding our religious beliefs and practices, Ashley’s course has covered a variety of core theological, legal and historical issues. With a recurring focus on the origins and authority of the Torah she’be’al peh (the Oral Law in Judaism), we have examined wide-ranging issues including the ideological foundations of denominational differences, parameters of Jewish pluralism, reasons for the commandments, sources of authentic Jewish knowledge, subjective dynamics of halakhic decision-making, and seminal historiography of Yosef Yerushalmi.

2024 “’You Shall Not Add Anything’: Did Torah Begin and End at Sinai?”

2023 November -Sh’loshim Lecture “L’dor Va-dor”: Transmitting Jewishness Across Generations

2023 A Certain Amount of Harmony: The Life and Learning of David Weiss Halivni

2022 “‘Abominable Heresies and Monstrous Acts’: Spinoza’s Jewish Roots and Legacy

2021 ““Righteousness Like a Mighty Stream”: Social Justice as Divine Imperative”

2020 “Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of God’s Name): Between Holiness and Martyrdom”

2019 “A Case of Mixed Emotions: Love and Fear of God in Jewish Thought”

2018 “The Paradox of Pharaoh’s Heart: Free Will in Jewish Thought”