A Progressive Jewish Congregation in Portland, Oregon
Shir Tikvah Office: 503-473-8227

Talmud Study

Talmud Study at Shir Tikvah is offered to members by invitation from the Rabbi.

For more information about the date and time of study meetings, please contact the office.

A Note from the Rabbi

If Torah is the key to the Jewish world, Talmud is the guide book. Torah, however it came into existence, was written for an ancient semi-nomadic people, herding sheep and traveling by camel caravan. No one, therefore, is a “Torah-true Jew” today; all Jews interpret Torah in order to follow the mitzvot within it. For example: bringing a ram as a sacrifice makes sense to a shepherd. Once most Jews are living in cities, what’s a sandal-maker to do? Buy a sheep? Sacrifice a sandal? And so it goes, a two-thousand year practice of interpretation and commentary that keeps Torah alive and relevant.

The first half-millennium of that process exists as the Talmud, sixty-three volumes of Jewish law and lore on every conceivable topic. The books themselves are a recording of teachings originally transmitted orally, from Rabbi to student, for many generations. It traces interpretation and adaptation of the Torah from Jewish life in ancient Greece and Rome through the beginnings of Exile in Babylon. Most Jews (but not all) depend upon the Talmud for guidance in every aspect of Jewish life.

Every week, Shir Tikvah members join in learning about the process of Talmud – how elevated principles of sacred word become the lived inspiration of every day life. Our study is in English, but some comfort level with the Hebrew alphabet and basic words is preferable. Consultation with Rabbi required prior to joining the class.


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