These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Relics of the Present: Connecting to Text

Posted on February 28, 2017 by Elana Zelony

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I am a rabbi in Dallas, and I teach a Talmud class. Some of my students were struggling to relate to the text. They were understanding the words, but not how to apply the lessons in today’s context. One of them said, “Rabbi, we need helping making the text relevant.”

“Hmm,” I thought to myself. I’m sure I have a text on my bookshelf that might be able to address this need.

I went and pulled Rabbi Cooper’s book off my shelf. I opened the book jacket and read, “This work explores the world of the sages, seeking relevance in the timeless texts of the Talmud.” It was like the book was written for us!

I gave Relics a try the next class, and it was like watching the light bulbs turn on for them! It’s exactly what we needed to connect to our ancient texts. We read a chapter in Relics and then study the Talmud. Rabbi Cooper’s essays create a framework for the learning, and prepare them to receive the wisdom of Brachot.

Rabbi Elana Zelony