Upcoming Events at Beth Israel Congregation

Learning with Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld

Tuesday, November 7, 7pm 

“The Rabbinic View of Evil” with Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld

Satan the Nemesis

“Satan” is known to most of us through non-Jewish images and legends. The name is in fact Hebrew and originates in the Tanach. Moreover, the rabbis who wrote the midrashim and the Talmud had much to say about “the satan”. Alexander Seinfeld wrote his doctoral dissertation on the rabbinic view of the satan as portrayed in the Babylonian Talmud.


Lecture 1: The Historical Context

The Talmud was written in an historical context that included Hellenism, Zorastrianism, Christianity and other ideologies, as well as bitter conflict between Rome to the West and Persia to the East. Moreover, the rabbis who wrote the Talmud had in their possession the same Biblical text that Christianity was now claiming for itself (as the “Old Testament”). This lecture will weave together these historical and ideological contexts in which the Satan texts of the Talmud were composed.


A significant portion of the Beth Israel Lifelong Learning program has been generously underwritten by the Sabina and Walter Dorn Education Endowment Fund.