Listening to Voices Around the Table
Ami Hersh is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program (Class XIX). Ami is the Assistant Director of the Ramah Day Camp in Nyack and a 4th year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He can be reached at Ami@ramahnyack.org.
As part of my internship at a Synagogue this year there have been many highlights. The opportunity to teach a class entitled “Text and Context,” has stood out. This group gathers weekly to have an in-depth conversation about a section of the Torah reading and they have been meeting for many years. As I teach this class, I am reminded of a quote of Rabbi Soloveitchik in which he beautifully describes his experience with Torah study as, “…not just a didactic process… It is a powerful experience of comradeship with many generations…” I am surrounded by masters of the text, each bringing their own insights and their own excitement to the topic at hand. As Solovetchik suggests, the study of Torah is just as much about the technical as it is about the joining together of souls and the forging of relationships. The Torah of this group feeds our souls and serves as the medium through which we grow closer.
Similar to a page of Talmud, I think it is up to each generation to explore and express its views. This class has allowed me a first hand glimpse at this process in action. We use the best of our tradition and the finest of modernity in our quest for growth, learning, and understanding. We must never dismiss what anyone around the table has to say because it may just end up being the latest gem to be uncovered.