Rav Tzvi Sinensky
Teacher Title Abstract Course
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #01: Centrality in our Tradition, Canonization, and Connection to Sinai The enigmatic book of Shir Ha-Shirim has been part of the canon for thousands of years, and it plays an important role in our liturgy as well. It is clear from the gemara, however, that its status was not always widely accepted. In this shiur, we will examine the discussion revolving around Shir Ha-Shirim and its classification as "Holy of Holies." Shir HaShirim
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #02: Authorship In this shiur, we discuss the authorship of Shir Ha-Shirim, focusing on the generally accepted view that it was written by King Shlomo but addressing other possibilities as well. Shir HaShirim
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #03: The Parable of Shir Ha-Shirim: God and the Jewish People In this shiur, we explore the metaphor of Shir Ha-Shirim and note the differences among the commentaries regarding the meaning of the plot. In particular, we will focus on Rashi's commentary, which presents a polemical reading to counter the Christian arguments of his time. Shir HaShirim
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #04: The Words “Shir Ha-Shirim” In this shiur, we discuss the meaning of the opening words, "Shir Ha-Shirim." Does this refer to the songs superiority or the fact that it is made up of a number of smaller songs? Does this have implications for interpreting the book? Shir HaShirim
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #05: Shir Ha-Shirim as an Allegory for the Individual’s Relationship with God In the past two shiurim, we reviewed the better-known view that Shir Ha-Shirim is a parable for the relationship between God and the Jewish nation. A prominent group of commentators offer an alternative, however: Shir Ha-Shirim is a metaphor for the all-consuming relationship between the individual seeker and God. In this shiur, we will consider this view. Shir HaShirim
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #06: The Role of Peshat in Shir Ha-Shirim In previous shiurim, we discussed the meaning of the allegory of Shir Ha-Shirim. In this shiur, we broach the question of the significance of its peshat. How should we relate to the simple meaning of the text? As we will see, there are a number of perspectives on this issue. Shir HaShirim
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #07: Malbim’s Novel Interpretation of Shir Ha-Shirim In previous weeks, we analyzed the underlying symbolism of Shir Ha-Shirim. We noted that Rambam and the mystics view Shir Ha-Shirim as a metaphor for an individual’s passionate relationship with Hashem. This week, we turn to the interpretation of R. Meir Leibush Malbim, who presents an innovative spin on this approach, and in doing so simultaneously addresses many of the other fundamental questions we have raised in previous chapters. Shir HaShirim
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #01: Background The Jews’ return to Israel from Babylonian exile is one of the Bible’s least studied yet most fascinating stories. The striking similarities to contemporary Jewish life are ubiquitous: the return to Zion, assimilation and intermarriage, antisemitism, political jockeying, the importance of intelligence for securing the community’s security, a mass repentance movement, and the ambiguity of a partial redemption, to name just a few. This series attempts to shine a spotlight on this period by closely examining the major biblical works written during this period: Ezra-Nechemia, Chagai, Zekharia and Malakhi. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #02: The Missing Years Before starting the book of Ezra, we review the controversy concerning the chronology of the kings of Persia. This question, which carries substantial historical and religious implications, bears directly on our understanding of Ezra-Nechemia in particular and Shivat Tzion generally. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #03: Introduction to Ezra-Nechemia In this shiur, we will begin our study of Ezra-Nechemia. We will note the relationship between the two parts of this book, as well as its connection to Divrei Ha-Yamim, and we will begin our study of chapter one, which focuses on the persona of King Cyrus. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #04: The Census In this shiur, we will discuss chapter 2 of Sefer Ezra, which presents a detailed census of those who made aliya at the time. We will discuss some critical ambiguities in the chapter, as well as the overall picture that it presents of the return to Zion at this time. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #05: An Imperfect Inauguration (Ezra, ch. 3) In this shiur, we will discuss the mixed success, and the accompanying mixed emotions, of the initial inauguration of the Second Temple. What lessons can we learn from the story told in Ezra about our contemporary reality? Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #06: Confronting Anti-Semitism (Ezra, ch. 4) In this shiur, we will discuss Ezra 4, which introduces us to the opposition of the Samaritans to the rebuilding of the returnees. We will discuss how the structure of the book teaches us that the major motifs in Shivat Tzion are recurring: the challenge of abandoning comfortable diaspora communities and returning to Judea; the need for proactivity in combating antisemitism and rebuilding; and the importance of confronting the social rifts in our community. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #07: Chagai: The Practical Prophet In this shiur, we will begin our study of Sefer Chagai. We will note that Chagai's prophecy differs from that of his predecessors, as well as his contemporaries, in its straightforward message and in the fact that it was obeyed by the people. We will further discuss how Chagai marks the transition between the prophetic and post-prophetic periods. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #08: Chagai Redoubles His Efforts In this shiur, we will study the prophecies in the second chapter of Sefer Chagai, in which Chagai once again encourages the people to continue their efforts to rebuild the Beit Ha-Mikdash. Unlike the messages of other prophets, Chagai conveys a pragmatic lesson to the people. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #09: Zekharia: Spiritual Visionary In this shiur, we will begin our study of Sefer Zekharia, in particular those chapters that relate most clearly to the period of Shivat Tzion. We will compare and contrast Zekharia's style and message to that of his colleague, Chagai, and focus on his message to the returnees to Eretz Yisrael during his time. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #10: Sefer Zekharia: Optimistic Visions In this shiur, we will study a number of optimistic prophecies in Zekharia that are of particular relevance to our generation and the rebirth of the State of Israel. We will note the significance of Zekharia's vision of the menora, which is read as the haftara of Shabbat Chanuka. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #11: Obscure Reveries In this shiur, we will conclude our study of Sefer Zekharia, focusing on the cryptic prophecies in chapters 5-8, which are of particular relevance to the Shivat Tzion period. We will also briefly discuss the prophecies in the remainder of the book, as well as how they are connected to the earlier chapters. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #12: Ezra Chapters 5-6: The Pesach Sacrifice In this shiur, we will review Ezra chapters 5-6. We will focus on the role played by the prophets in the building of the Temple, as well as the significance of the celebration of Pesach that followed the Temple's inauguration. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #13: Ezra Chapter 7: Ezra Arrives on the Scene In this shiur, we will discuss Ezra chapter 7, which introduces us to the character of Ezra. We will discuss the text's extensive treatment of Ezra's genealogy, as well as the significance of his role and his attitude toward it. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #14: Ezra Chapter 8: Ezra’s Journey In this shiur, we will study chapter 8 of Ezra, which describes Ezra's aliya. What accounts for the initial absence of Levites from among those who traveled with Ezra? What can we learn about Ezra from his behavior in this chapter? Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #15: Ezra Chapter 9: Intermarriage During Shivat Tzion Ezra chapter 9 describes Ezra's reaction to his discovery that many of the Jews of Judea of intermarried. In thisshiur, we will consider why Ezra, Nechemia, and Malakhi respond so harshly to the problem of intermarriage, and we will attempt to reconcile this perspective with the somewhat different portrayal of intermarriage in earlier sources. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #16: Ezra Chapter 10: Separating From Foreign Wives Ezra chapter 10 describes the actions taken by Ezra to counteract the scourge of intermarriage. In this shiur, we will discuss what these actions say about Ezra and his mode of leadership during the period of Shivat Tzion. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #17: Introduction to Nechemia chap. 1 In this shiur, we will begin our study of Nechemia by providing an overview of the book's chapters. We will compare and contrast the books of Ezra and Nechemia, in particular focusing on the initial descriptions of their central figures and the prayers offered by Ezra and Nechemia. Shivat Tzion
Rav Tzvi Sinensky Shiur #18: Nechemia's Fateful Request (Nechemia chap. 2) In this shiur, we will study chapter 2 of Sefer Nechemia. We will note how Nechemia's request from the king and his behavior upon arriving in Judea reflect his political savvy. We will also note the significant similarities between Nechemia and Esther and discuss their implications. Shivat Tzion

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