Salt in the Wind: A Major Look at Minor Biblical Figures, Level I Syllabus

October 10, 2007
Midrash: The Dirt to Fill in the Holes

When reading the Torah (or listening!), do you ever just sit back and wonder what the heck is going on? Why does it say this? Why doesn’t it say that? This opening session will be an introduction into how to really answer a question, and even better, how to ask one. This session will also help set the stage for doing modern commentary throughout the rest of the semester.

October 17 and October 24, 2007
Will Noah’s Wife Please Stand Up?

The Torah is clear: Noah has a wife. But who was she? Over these two sessions, we will try to identify who was Noah’s wife, and what we can learn from her role today.

October 31 and November 7, 2007
A Pillar of What? Why?

Lot’s wife didn’t listen. Who was she before she became a salty afterthought? What was her name? What do the rabbis have to say about her?

November 14 and November 28, 2007
I Know a Guy Who Knows a Guy . . .

What would have happened if Joseph never found his brothers? Would we be here today? Who was it that actually led Joseph to his brothers, setting that infamous chain of events in Egypt in motion?

December 5 and December 12, 2007
Likely Conspirators

We know about Ahasuerus. We know about Esther. We know about Mordechai and Haman. We even know a bit about Vashti. But what about Bigtan and Teresh? The least discussed, most famous conspirators in the Tanakh, and we’re going to figure out what was really going on in the story.

December 19, 2007, and January 9, 2008
More Midrash for the Seder

Certainly not everyone receives God’s blessing in the Tanakh. But it would seem that Shifrah and Puah were blessed by God. Who were these mysterious women? Were they Jewish? Were they Egyptian? How can learning about their true identity alter the story we tell at our Passover seder?

January 16, 2008
Where Do We Go From Here? Wrap-up

What are some questions that we still have about putting together the pieces of Tanakh and Midrash? How can we apply these tools to future training? Following this session, each student will feel comfortable asking questions about biblical texts and seeking out the answers (both personally and from other sources) to those questions.