Tales of Stones and Water: Natural Elements in Tanakh


Rachel Sharansky Danziger

Subject: Tanakh semester Course

Dates and Days: Wednesday
ט' באדר א' תשפ"ד -י"ד בסיוון תשפ"ד
02.18.2024 - 06.20.2024

Time: 10:20 - 11:35

Where: Hybrid course -Zoom And In-person At Matan Jerusalem - Rashbag 30, Jerusalem

Price: 580 NIS

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Course Description

This class is dedicated in memory of

Sara Rudoff Olshin a”h

שרה פריידע בת רב שלמה ורייזל

Who loved and learned bechol Nafsha

מי האיש(ה) החפץ חיים אוהב ימים לראות טוב


Nature – especially inanimate nature – tends to fade into the background of the Hebrew Bible’s stories. After all, what do stones or water matter, once the moral and covenantal drama of humanity steps onto the stage? Yet these and other elements serve as so much more than stage props. They carry symbolic meaning into disparate Biblical stories, infuse them with poignant messages, and weave them into a greater whole. Trees, for example, tie Judges’ quest for leadership with Eve’s primal quest for knowledge. Stones bring Abimelech’s story into juxtaposition with Jacob’s, and reveal deep truths about relationships and boundaries. The rivers in Egypt and Babylon take us into the heart of humanity’s darkness, while Tanakh’s tales of rain reveal a pathway to redemption. In this course we will follow these elements in and out of different Biblical stories, and see what light they shed on familiar tales.

About the Educator Rachel Sharansky Danziger

is a Jerusalem-born writer and educator. Having researched connections between faith, emotions, and storytelling in 18th century America for her MA thesis in American history, she continues to explore similar connection in Tanach and other Jewish texts. Rachel teaches at Matan, Maayan- Torah from the Sources, Pardes, and Torah-in-Motion and her writing can be found in The Times of Israel, Tablet, 929 English and other online venues. Currently a Sefaria Word-by-Word fellow, Rachel is working on a book about Judges.

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