“People tend to read biblical stories like they do mythology,” said Chabad Richmond’s Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman, one of the local Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) instructors. “Our course invites participants to look deeper and discover the underlying themes and relevant life lessons these stories were designed to convey.”
Baitelman is talking about a new six-session JLI course called Secrets of the Bible: Iconic Stories, Mystical Meanings and Their Lessons for Life, which starts Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. The course will be offered both in-person, to a limited audience, at 4775 Blundell Rd., in Richmond (following COVID-19 restrictions), and online via Zoom. All classes – which are one-and-a-half hours long – will be recorded on Zoom and accessible online for six days after each class. For Vancouver Islanders, the course will be presented by Chabad of Nanaimo, 5450 Oceanview Terrace, in Nanaimo, starting Nov. 3, 7 p.m.
The course presents a unique way of reading the stories of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge, Noah and the great flood, the lifelong feud between Jacob and Esau, Joseph’s multicoloured coat, the golden calf, and Korah’s rebellion. For each of these stories, three questions will be answered: What is the deeper meaning behind the story? How does it shape the Jewish worldview? What wisdom does it hold for us today?
Throughout the six sessions, Secrets of the Bible explores major life themes, including human subjectivity and bias; the underpinnings of relationships; negotiating spiritual growth with practical impact; why inspiration is fleeting and how to make it last; understanding equality and privilege; and navigating parallel spiritual and material life paths.
Secrets of the Bible is designed to appeal to people at all levels of knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. This course is open to the public, and attendees don’t need to be affiliated with a particular synagogue, or other house of worship.
“These biblical stories come alive as their deeper meanings and insights are revealed. They hold the key to life lessons for us all,” said Baitelman. “I encourage you to sign up for this thought-provoking course that’s sure to deepen your understanding of Judaism and enrich your life. You are welcome to try the first class for free with no obligation.”
To register and for more information about the Chabad Richmond course ($95/person or $160/couple), call 604-277-6427 or visit chabadrichmond.com/jli. For the Nanaimo course ($95/person or $152/couple), call 250-797-7877 or visit jewishnanaimo.com/secrets.html.