As we discussed last year in our full-cycle Torah journey, there are, by tradition, 613 mitzvot in the Hebrew Bible. These are sometimes translated as laws or commandments. But they’re, more interestingly, I think, guides or directionals that inform the blessed life that God calls us to live.
I love the thought that our study will help us
understand at a very deep and specific level what Micah meant, when he said, “It
has been told thee, O man, what the Lord requires of you: to do justly, to love
mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Even more apt may be the idea that all the mitzvot actually serve to understand the two great commandments that Jesus taught.
In that respect, our first group of lessons will focus on the roughly 90 mitzvot that relate to Jesus’ first great commandment, teaching us about relationship with God. Among the positive instructions, we will focus on beliefs, duties, ways of acting toward God, as well as ways we habituate ourselves to a life in service of God. As for the “shall nots,” we will go into considerable depth on the topic of idolatry - what it is, why and how it is so dangerous (in all times, including our own), and what we can do to shun it.
Since we won’t be tied to a weekly regime as we were last year, we will be able to go into more depth in our study. I suspect that even with a quick pace this first chapter will take five or six weeks.
I will send out a list of the mitzvot we will consider each week so that those who want to study them ahead of class will be able to do so.
At bottom, I really look forward to this study and hope it will be exciting and valuable for the class.
Divine Guidance Chapter 1 Relationship with God Divine Guidance for Good Living - Introduction Notes Audio Chapter I - Part I Positive Elements Notes Audio Chapter I - Part II Habituation to God's Way Notes Audio Chapter I - Part III Avoidance of Idolatry Notes Audio Audio Audio Audio
Divine Guidance Chapter 2 Relationship with Others Chapter 2 - Part I Love Your Neighbor as Yourself Notes Audio(1) Audio(2) Audio(3) Chapter 2 - Part II The Weak Notes Audio(1) Audio(2) Chapter 2 - Part III The Stranger, the Servant, the Enemy, and Animals Notes Audio(1) Audio(2) Chapter 2 - Part IV Encounters in Commercial Settings Notes Audio
Divine Guidance Chapter 3 Justice Chapter 3 - Part I Divine Expectations of Judges and Judging Notes Audio 1 Audio 2 Chapter 3 - Part II - Witnesses and the Nature of Law Notes Audio Chapter 3 - Part III - Regarding Criminal Actions Harmful to Others Notes Audio 1 Audio 2 Chapter 3 - Part IV - Rights and Interests of Harmed Parties Notes Audio Chapter 3 - Part V - Leaders and the Conduct of War Notes Audio
Divine Guidance Chapter 4 Sacred Space I Chapter 4 - Part I The Nature and Purpose of Sacred Space Notes Audio 1 Audio 2 Chapter 4 - Part II The Roles of the Priests and the People Notes Audio 3 Audio 4 Chapter 4 - Part III Requirements for Priests and Roles of Levites Notes Audio 5
Divine Guidance Chapter 5 Sacred Space II Chapter 5 - Part I The Importance of Purity to Holiness - a Discussion of Tahor and Tamei Notes Audio 1 Chapter 5 - Part II The Condition of Tzara'at Notes Audio 2 Chapter 5 - Part III What We Do To Eat Notes Audio 3 Chapter 5 - Part IV Forbidden Mixtures & Intro to Sacrifice Notes Audio 4
Divine Guidance Chapter 6 Sacred Space III Chapter 6 - Part I The Role of Sacrifices in Faith Notes Audio 1 Chapter 6 - Part II Life Activities That Call for Offerings Notes Audio 2 Chapter 6 - Part III Tithes, Vows, and the Manner of Making Offerings Notes Audio 3
Divine Guidance Chapter 7 Sacred Time Chapter 7 - Part I The Nature and Purpose of Sacred Time Notes Audio 1 Chapter 7 - Part II The Meaning and Experience of Creation, Revelation, and Redemption Notes Audio 2