Life at the Margins: Newborns and the Elderly in Jewish Law and Lore

Date and Time
2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern
Jan 22-Feb 19 2024


Rabbinic literature takes very different approaches in its discussions of newborns, on the one hand, and people at the end of life, on the other. The Rabbis treat newborns as being in a liminal state, and as such, not fully entitled to the rights of the living; by contrast, even those at death’s door are, for the Sages, unambiguously and fully alive. In this VBM course, we’ll compare and contrast these Rabbinic attitudes, asking what, if anything, unifies these seemingly contradictory orientations. CW: Many of these sources describe death, and some of them discuss the death of young children.

Learning Mode: Drop-In: This class will have a limited degree of discussion, and will primarily focus on the teacher’s presentation of source materials.  Participants are encouraged, but not expected to have their cameras on. This class will be recorded, and the recording will be shared with all registered participants. 

Faculty Bio

Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg

R. Micha’el Rosenberg is a member of the Hadar faculty. He holds rabbinic ordination both from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and from his teacher, R. Elisha Ancselovits, and has a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is the author of Signs of Virginity: Testing Virgins and Making Men in Late Antiquity (2018), and, with Rabbi Ethan Tucker, of Gender Equality and Prayer in Jewish Law (2017).

Life at the Margins: Newborns and the Elderly in Jewish Law and Lore

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