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Shabbat Study with Rabbi Marjorie Berman: Metaphor and Mystery
May 23, 2020 @ 10:15 am - 12:15 pm
Let us have songs to fill our mouths as full as the sea…
James Geary, in his book I is An Other says the following: “Metaphorical thinking – our instinct not just for describing but for comprehending one thing in terms of another – shapes our view of the world, and is essential to how we communicate, learn, discover, and invent. Metaphor is a way of thought long before it is a way with words…” Our spiritual awareness, our experience of beauty, our sense of morality, even our emotions are impossible to describe without resorting to metaphor. It influences the ways we think, the way we speak, what we believe, the assumptions we make, and it even impacts our actions. As humans, almost everything we do is shaped by metaphor, even when we’re not aware of it, which is most of the time!
Given all of this, it is unsurprising that all religions rely heavily on metaphor. Judaism is no exception, and our sacred texts, our liturgy, our commentaries and our stories are replete with beautiful, provocative, inspiring and problematic metaphors. From understanding the Torah as “a Tree of Life to all who hold it fast,” to describing God as a rock, a breast, or a mother vulture, to reading many of the prophets describe the people of Israel as a wayward wife, our tradition infused with metaphor. Through examining g a variety of texts from midrash to Zohar, we’ll explore how metaphor can open the doorway to more authentic and accessible understandings of the Holy, how it can shift our perceptions of our life experiences, and how it can give us opportunities to repair the broken places.
This class will meet twice monthly, generally on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays, with some exceptions. We will meet on the following dates: 9/14, 9/28, 10/12, 11/2, 11/9, 11/23, 12/14, 1/11, 1/25, 2/8, 2/22, 3/14, 3/28, 4/11, 4/25, 5/9, 5/23; snow date 6/13.