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The on-point, off-beat course on the transmission of Torah.

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(Suggested donation: $50)

Text-based study enhances Torah study skills

Developed specifically for online, interactive learning

Taught by scholars with a personal interest in the subject

Engaging topics made relevant to real life issues

About the Course

Scroll Down is a 10-part course designed to orient viewers on the process of the Torah’s transmission and exposition through the ages. With deep insight and ample humor, Dr. Chighel leads a delightful tour among the people, places and events that have shaped the Jewish library.

Course Syllabus

Introduction: 101 Authors Who Didn't Write the Bible
How can the over-representation of Jewish Nobel Prize laureates be explained? The connection between intellectual excellence among Jews in secular studies and the literary tradition originating in the Torah.
Lesson 1: What Torah Thinks of Torah
Scroll Down - Part 1
What is the “literary” significance of the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai? The unique status and function of the Five Books of Moses within the biblical canon.
Lesson 2: Moses and the Non-Prophets
Scroll Down - Part 2
Given the incomparable significance of the Torah, what is the function of prophecy and of the prophetic books, the Neviim (“Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Hagiographa”), composed after the Torah was given at Sinai? And why did the era of prophecy end?
Lesson 3: The Written and the Oral Torah
Scroll Down - Part 3
What is the “Oral Torah”? What role does the rabbinic tradition play vis-à-vis the Bible? The dialectical interplay, sanctioned at Sinai, between the Oral Torah and the Written Torah.
Lesson 4: Meta-Phor: Exploring Midrash
Scroll Down - Part 4
Biblical exegesis, or the interpretation (Drash) of the Torah, was part of the rabbinic tradition since the earliest literary period. What makes certain interpretations valid and others not? Why is interpretation needed altogether?
Lesson 5: The Great Assembly and the Pharisees
Scroll Down - Part 5
Who decided which texts belonged to the biblical canon and which texts did not belong? The Oral Torah during the early, pre-mishnaic periods.
Lesson 6: Boiling Point: The Mishnah Is Written
Scroll Down - Part 6
Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi put the Oral Torah down on paper in the year 212, in the form known as the Mishnah. What prompted this radical move in the history of Jewish literacy? What constitutes the Mishnah? And what is its function in the Tradition?
Lesson 7: Boiling Over: The Talmud Is Redacted
Scroll Down - Part 7
Since the redaction of the Talmud around the year 500, no single text apart from the Torah itself has played a more vital role in the preservation and development of Jewish education. What is the Talmud?
Lesson 8: All Set: The Codification of Jewish Law
Scroll Down - Part 8
The first half of the last millennium (1000–1500) saw an explosion in Jewish literacy in many fields: Kabbalah, philosophy, biblical commentary, poetry, and most notably the great codifications of Halachah (Jewish Law). How did these great Codes originate?
Lesson 9: As the World Turns: Modern Jewish Law
Scroll Down - Part 9
The second half of the last millennium (1500 until today) saw still newer developments in Halachah, as well as in other fields of literacy. How do these major literary trends (such as Chassidism) define Judaism today and into the future?
Lesson 10: Conclusion
Scroll Down - Part 10
Concluding scientific postscript to the significance of the ever-expanding Jewish Library.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Length/Effort:
  • Category: Jewish Literacy
  • Institution: Chabad.org
  • Language: English
  • Cost:
    (Suggested Donation $50)
    Donate Here
    Registration Required

Meet the Instructor

Michael Chighel (Kigel) received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto for his dissertation on the Book of Job, after a specialization in 20th-century French and German thought. In Canada he taught in the departments of philosophy and of Jewish studies at the universities of York, Queen’s and Waterloo. He produced Passages and Messages for eleven seasons on Canadian television (CTS). Until this year he held the Rohr Chair of Jewish Studies at the Lauder Business School in Vienna, where he taught Torah, European ethics and political economy. He has translated a number of books and published various articles in Jewish thought. Michael and his family have recently made aliyah, and now live in Jerusalem.

  • It was a very deep and profound teaching and extremely thought provoking.

    C. Roth - NJ

  • The course gave me a deep insight into the topic and I now have a completely new understanding of the subject.

    A. Giffen - Finland

  • It surpassed my expectations, and I am still in much thought about the subject matter. A good course will leave an everlasting mark on the student, and I have been thusly marked.

    R. Cohen - PA

  • Informative, open to discussion and participation, thought-provoking, compels you to reassess your own stance in your daily life. Thank you for a delightful and stimulating course awesome presentation, handouts…

    C. Berg - California