Individual Torah Study

Torah Study
Torah study is fundamental to Jewish life. Yochanan and Sarah spend several hours each week studying with individual students on various topics in Torah. Here is a partial list of some of the more popular topics. If you are interested in starting a weekly study session, feel free to browse through the topics and contact Yochanan, Sarah, Leibel or Mushka

For 1500 years, the study of the Talmud has fascinated the most brilliant minds in the Jewish world. More commentary has been written on it than on any other non-biblical text in the history of the world. The original text of the Gemara is in Aramaic, and it is very difficult to master. The specific logic systems of the Talmud take some getting used to as well. Therefore, Talmud study requires a serious investment of time and concentration. However, if you are ready to make the commitment, you will find it richly rewarding, as you encounter a unique style of question and answer that gets to the bottom of Jewish law.
Written by the founder of Chabad in the end of the 18th century, this book is the most basic text of Chabad mystical thought. It sparks questions and discussions on some of the fundamental issues of Judaism, such as the nature of the soul, character vs. deed, grasping the divine, G‑d’s interaction with the universe, joy vs. depression and many other topics. A very good study topic for someone looking for insights on the meaning of Judaism. 

Reading the prayers, studying Hebrew texts, and even conversing in Hebrew can all be made easier through the Crash Course in Hebrew Reading. This course uses familiar prayers to introduce you to the most common Hebrew words and phrases and important grammatical and textual rules that will make it possible for you to begin understanding the language of the Jewish people. It usually takes about an hour a week for eight weeks, and a commitment of about 15 minutes per day to review and absorb the lessons.

Jewish History
An understanding of Jewish History based on our tradition enables us to understand the forces that shaped the Judaism practiced today. Study the original texts that lay out the History, or just discuss it. 

Jewish Observances
There are texts on Laws of Kosher, Shabbat, Blessings and many other areas of Jewish observance. If you want to know the hows and whats of a specific observance, this topic is for you.

Pirkei Avos
The original handbook of Jewish ethics and inspiration, Pirkei Avot compiles the teachings of the great sages of Israel over the period of 350 BCE until 250 CE. Studying Pirkei Avot will give a good introduction to some of the important inspirational teachings of Judaism. You will also come across many familiar phrases. 

The great 11th century sage, Maimonides, wrote a 14 volume work describing the Rabbinic tradition in great detail. The fourteen volumes contain every detail of Jewish law, and a wealth of ethical, moral and philosophical guidance. Studying this book will certainly broaden the base of your Jewish Knowledge. 

Chassidic Thought
Essays on Chassidic thought composed by the leaders of the Chabad movement look at the details of Torah literature from a mystical perspective. If you are ready for the challenge of deciphering a Hebrew text and gaining insight into a Biblical law, story or Jewish tradition, try this topic. 

Basic to the Jewish religion are the 613 Mitzvot. But what are they? This classic text examines the Mitzvot from their source in the Torah, expounds them, provides a rationale for each of them, and details some laws pertaining to each Mitzvah. It is an excellent overview of the Jewish religion. 

Parsha Essays
In Judaism, every week has its own Torah Portion, or Parsha. We live with the teachings of the weekly portion, and seek to apply its lessons to our daily lives. Studying the essays of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on the Parsha can be very rewarding and inspirational.

Shulchan Aruch
Judaism has specific instructions for every facet of life. The Abridged Code of Jewish Law (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch) outlines these instructions. The text can be read in either Hebrew or English. A topic for someone interested in learning the practices of Judaism. 

The Mishna is the Hebrew section of the Talmud, written in the 2nd century. It is a brief statement of Rabbinic law. It is in classic Hebrew and provides a broad picture of the basics of Jewish law. It also opens a fascinating window on the lives of the Jewish people in Israel during the early centuries of this era. If you would like to get a taste of the Rabbinic Tradition, but do not want to wade into the sea of the Talmud, Mishna is a good choice.  

Think Jewish
Examine some of the important issues facing Jews today. You can use this volume, written by Rabbi Zalman Posner, to explore many critical issues, both philosophical and practical. 

The Jewish prayerbook is a guide for the soul’s ascent to G‑d. Examine the daily, or Shabbat, prayers in depth. Going through the Siddur will spark discussions on the Jewish perspective on a wide variety of issues and questions.