About JHI Torah Classes
The Torah is divided into two broad categories: NISTAR and NIGLEH.
NISTAR is the hidden or mystical part of the Torah, otherwise known as KABALAH. JHI follows the mainstream tradition among Torah scholars that KABALAH can only be understood by one who “knows the entire Talmud and all of the consequent decisions of Torah Law.” As a practical matter, this means that JHI does not offer classes on KABALAH-based ideas.
HALACHA are the legal and technical subjects of the Torah. The areas of the Talmud that deal with the laws of Sabbath and holidays, kosher eating, marriages, and money matters are all part of HALACHA. AGADAH covers the humanistic/ethical teachings of the Torah. The stories of the Bible, for example, are deeply analyzed in the Talmudic writings for their relevant moral and psychological insights into present day-to-day living. Great Torah works on mussar (understanding and improving character traits and proper behavior) have been written over the centuries. These are AGADAH.
The Torah classes offered by JHI almost always focus on either HALACHA or AGADAH. At times, a class might include both elements. For instance, an explanation of an upcoming holiday might contain information on practical observance (Halacha). But it might also delve into the human issues behind the rituals (Agadah).
As already indicated in previous sections, JHI subscribes to the belief that the Torah is at the heart of Judaism and Jewish heritage. Accordingly, rather than struggle to adapt the Torah’s ideas to currently prevailing ideas and values, we endeavor instead to study various Torah texts in their original (albeit translated into English) on various topics (see list of classes given).
Some classes are conducted at the various campuses and graduate schools, and several classes are offered at the Ganz home.
JHI is also open to requests to for specific Torah classes on subjects of interest to potential attendees.
At present, Rabbi Ganz is teaching all of the classes. But it is hoped that the organization will grow and that other qualified teaching personnel will join the staff.
JHI does not charge for any of its classes or programming.