From The Hartman Institute

A God Just Like Us

Yehuda Kurtzer and SVARA’s Benay Lappe discuss Torah as the inheritance not of an elite and pious few, but of all Jews — especially those on the margins.

A woman studying Talmud at SVARA (Image: SVARA)
A woman studying Talmud at SVARA (Image: SVARA)

The Talmud is a messy, playful, and undeniably human text. It’s also the bedrock of the genre that the Jewish people call Torah. In honor of the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, the day in the Jewish calendar celebrating divine revelation, Yehuda Kurtzer is joined by Benay Lappe, President and Rosh Yeshiva of SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, to learn Torah and to talk about what it means to learn Torah.

They ask: what would happen if we thought about Torah as the inheritance not of an elite and pious few, but of all Jews, especially those on the margins? How does Torah invite us to participate in a conversation, across time and space, with the Jewish people? And how might we hear God’s voice through the study of Talmud? Together, Yehuda and Benay study three Rabbinic texts, each of which imagines God as a little bit human, a little bit frail, and very much invested in a relationship with human beings. Listen here:

Identity/Crisis is a weekly podcast from the Shalom Hartman Institute about news and ideas.

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