Online Adult Jewish learning

Foundations Course Information:

Course InfoDetailsSyllabusSample Lecture
Other Courses in this Series:

Foundations 1: Foundations of Judaism

Foundations 2: Responsible Leadership

Foundations 3: Encounters with G-d

Foundations 5: Divine Providence

Foundations Series:
Oral Torah & Midrash


  • What are the "Midrash" and the "Talmud"?
  • How has the Oral Law been passed down through the
    millennia, until today?
  • What role have rabbinic sages played in transmitting and
    developing of the Oral Law, and what powers do they exercise in determining its application to their times?

Course Objectives

  • To familiarize the student with the classical foundations of Jewish belief.
  • To clarify the nature of the Oral Law and Midrash, their origins, development and historical transmission to today

Classical Sources

  • Midrashic Literature (1st - 6th centuries Israel & Babylon) - The repository of the Oral Law
  • "The Kuzari" (Rabbi Yehudah Ha'levy, 1080-1145, Spain) - Examines the fundamentals of Judaism based on the philosophical dialogue between the Khazar king and a Jewish scholar.
  • The Writings of Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe, son of Maimon, 1135-1204, Egypt) - From the comprehensive works of one of the great codifiers of Jewish knowledge. 
  • "The Book of Fundamentals" (Rabbi Yosef Albo, 1380-1444, Spain) - A systematic presentation of Jewish belief, from general principles to precise details.