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Seeing it Their Way:
Egypt to Sinai through the Eyes of the Medieval Interpreters

April 17 - May 29, 2006

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Learn About the Program


Learn About the Scholars

This years’ popular Sefirah Study will begin with a look at what motivated the genre of Biblical commentary among the medieval rabbinic community. We will explore the way in which individual commentators approach the texts as well as how and why they present their ideas and beliefs in the way that they do.

With carefully selected texts, we will journey from Egypt to the Promised Land unpacking commentaries, which highlight each parshan’s particular methodological approach.

The Sefirah Study is organized and structured around each parshan. Each scholar will present a textual excerpt, from within the first 20 chapters of the book of Sh’mot and exemplify the parshan’s methodology through that text and commentary. Questions will be raised for chevruta and responses and discussion will take place weekly with the scholars and participants.

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Learn about the Program

Week of
April 10 Marty Lockshin Introduction
April 17 Marty Lockshin Ibn Ezra
(Spain 1089-1164)
April 24 Marty Lockshin Rashbam
(France 1085-1174)
May 1 Jason Kalman Comparison to Maimonides
(Egypt 1135-1204)
May 8 Jason Kalman Nachmanides
(Spain 1194-1270)
May 15 Sharon Koren Zohar
(End of the 13th century)
May 22 Sharon Koren Zohar
May 29 Concluding paragraphs based on all three scholars comments and questions of the participants from the preceeding weeks


The text study introduces a text and the approach or discipline of the week's scholar: it includes background exposition, the text, and study questions. For Thursday, the text study conclusion provides some of the scholar's own insights into the material for your review after you have studied "Monday's" material. We encourage you to study with a chevruta or small group of colleagues.

Throughout the course, you will have a chance to interact with your colleagues and our special presenters via the email discussion. This is a chance to explore the material in greater depth and ask any questions you might have.

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Past Sefirah Study courses are always available for independent study. Click here to see the full list of archived courses.

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Scholars' Bios

Dr. Martin Lockshin has rabbinical ordination from Yeshivat Mercaz Harav in Jerusalem and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in the US. For the last 27 years he has been teaching Jewish Studies at York University in Toronto. Currently he is professor of Humanities and Hebrew and Chair of the Division of Humanities. He has served in the past as Director of York’s Centre for Jewish Studies.

His scholarship centers on the works of medieval Jewish Bible commentators. He has published a four-volume annotated translation of Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah. Copies of his books can be found at Advanced Book Exchange .

Jason Kalman is Assistant Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature and Interpretation at the Cincinnati School of HUC-JIR. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Jewish Studies at McGill University and is a research fellow affiliated with the University of the Free State, South Africa. He specializes in the history of Jewish biblical exegesis and his specific research interests include rabbinic anti-Christian polemic, medieval intellectual history as reflected in biblical commentary, and biblical interpretation after the Holocaust.

Dr. Sharon Koren is an Assistant Professor of Jewish History at HUC-JIR in New York City. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in Medieval Studies. Her research focuses primarily on Jewish women's spirituality and Jewish-Christian relations in the Middle Ages.



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