Jewish Philosophy

JPH101;102 Derech Hashem (1-0-1)

Principles of Jewish philosophy as systematized by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto; exposition of basic issues including the purpose of creation, the suffering of the righteous, the relationship between the Jewish and gentile nations; explanation of mystical concepts including higher worlds, astrology, angels, sorcery, dreams.

Course requirements: Term paper.

JPH103;104 Selected Topics in Jewish Philosophy (1-0-1)

In depth, practical examination of a person’s relationship with himself, with society, and with G-d; emphasis placed on midrashic and Talmudic sources with the interpretations of both earlier and later commentaries.

Course requirements: Pass/Fail course. Attendance required.

JPH105;106 Tefilla Text (1-0-1)

Course will examine the structure, history, and development of Jewish liturgy over the ages including the philosophical and ethical ideas that the liturgy embodies.

Course requirements: Pass/Fail. Attendance required.

JPH107;108 Modern Jewish Thought (1-0-1)

An analysis of subjects relevant to contemporary Jewish thinking through the vehicle of modern folk tales.

Course requirements: Pass/Fail course. Attendance required.

JPH111;112 Messilat Yesharim – The Path of the Just (2-0-2)

An analysis of this classic work of ethical teachings, developing the themes through the eyes of the Rabbis in the Oral Tradition.

Course requirements: Periodic quizzes. Final exam per semester.

JPH113;114 The Wisdom of the Woman and the Home (1-0-1)

Concepts and personality characteristics relevant to the Jewish woman, wife, and mother.

Course requirements: Term paper per semester.

JPH117;118 Kuzari (1-0-1)

The book of arguments and proof in defense of the despised faith by Rabbi Yehuda Halevi. Course outline includes: historical background of the book and its author; conversion of the Khazars. The debate with the philosopher; the debate with the Christian cleric; the debate with the Islamic scholar; the debate with the rabbi; UFO’s; Mormons and Sunday morning television; Revelation or magic mushrooms; the chosen; the World to Come; the Names of G-d; the Temple and the sacrifices; the Oral Law: tradition or invention?.

Course requirements: One term paper per semester.

JPH119;120 Maharal; Netzach Yisrael (1-0-1)

Netzach Yisrael is a profound understanding of Jewish History in the light of the Rabbis. Course focuses on defining the relationship between the destruction of the Temple and the ultimate redemption.

Course Requirements: Final exam per semester.

JPH121;122 Letting G-D Run Your Life (1-0-1)

This course will analyze the extent of one’s obligation to make an effort or, in contrast, to rely on Divine Providence in various areas of life. These include making a living, choosing a life mate, the peace process, interpersonal relationships…
Course requirements: Pass/Fail. Attendance required

JPH123;124 Life Perspectives (1-0-1)

Specific issues relevant to the modern day Jew addressed from a Torah perspective.

Course Requirements: Pass/fail course. Attendance required.

JPH125;126 13 Principles of Faith (1-0-1)

Intensive analysis of fundamentals of faith and pedagogical approach to teaching these fundamentals in the classroom. Topics include G-d as the creator, G-d as all knowing, reward and punishment, fundamentals of prayer, fundamentals of prophecy, Torah as divine, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the dead.

JPH127;128 The Philosophy of the Sabbath (1-0-1)

Inner meaning of the Sabbath as a reflection of fundamentals of faith. Based on the classic work of Rabbi S. D. Pincus.

Course requirements:

JPH129;130 Honors Seminar: Torah Philosophy of Modern Times Selected Topics (2-0-2)

Reading from philosophers of modern times, we will encounter unconventional twists on the following topics in Torah thought: the nature of creativity and its connection to love; the search for spirituality; the psychological trap of being judgmental; male and female mindsets; our unconscious minds; the debate over intrinsic holiness and the chosenness of the Jewish people; the layered nature of Truth.

We will read texts by authors such as R. Tzadok HaCohen, the Meshech Chochmah, Rabbi Kook, Rabbi Hutner, Rabbi Soloveitchik, and Rabbi Wolbe.

This seminar is open to both first and second year students.

JPH131;132 Alei Shor (1-0-1)

Psychological insights into positive attitude, dealing with depression, and experiencing true joy based on the writings of Rabbi Shlomo Volbe.

Course requirements: Term paper or exam per semester.

JPH201;202 Philosophy Texts of Modern Times (2-0-2)

This course is designed to teach students to read and analyze difficult philosophy texts from the modern period. Selections include: Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Rabbi Chaim from Volozhin, Chassidic masters, leaders of the mussar movement, as well as sui generis thinkers such as Rabbi Zadok HaCohen, Rabbi Kook, Rabbi Hutner, and Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik.
Course requirements: Final exam per semester.

JPH203;204 Selected Topics in Jewish Philosophy (1-0-1)

A continuation of JPH103;104. In depth practical examination of a person’s relationship with himself, with society, and with G-d; emphasis placed on midrashic and Talmudic sources with the interpretations of both earlier and later commentaries.

Course requirements: Pass/Fail course. Attendance required.

JPH207;208 Ethics of the Fathers (1-0-1)

A textual analysis of the mishnaic tractate “Ethics of our Fathers” with the commentary “Derech Chaim” of Rabbi Yehudah Lowe. Emphasis placed on understanding of each individual mishna as well as its place in context within the entire chapter. Practical application of its teachings will be given full consideration.

Course requirements: Term paper per semester.

JPH211;212 Messilat Yesharim – The Path of the Just (2-0-2)

Continuation of PSY107;108. An analysis of this classic work of ethical teachings, developing the themes through the eyes of the Rabbis in the Oral Tradition.

Course requirements: Periodic quizzes. Final exam per semester.

JPH213;214 Moadim – The Inner World of the Jewish Holidays

Class designed to enable students to utilize the yearly cycle as a framework for divine service through an in depth analysis of the Sabbath and Holidays.

JPH215;216 The Writings of Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (1-0-1)

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler as a bridge between the cultivation of the inner life and the communal issues of the time. Some of the major themes to be expounded include the issues of Torah and worldly pursuit, Zionism and the State of Israel, the range of free choice, and an understanding of biblical personalities.

Course requirements: Pass/Fail. Attendance required

JPH217;218 The Ethical Teachings of Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz (1-0-1)

Classic ethical teachings based on the weekly bible portion.

Course requirements: Pass/Fail. Attendance required

JPH219;220 Advanced Kuzari (1-0-1)

Continuation of JPH117;118

Course requirements: Final examination

JPH221;222 Nefesh HaChaim (2-0-2)

Man’s deeds are not just here today and gone a moment later. They impact the cosmos. Learn how that happens through the unique approach of the × ×¤×© החיים.

Course requirements: Final examination per semester.

JPH 227;228 Sfas Emes (1-0-1)

Chassidic love from the Sfas Emes. Recurrent themes in his writings and discovery of roots of these themes in the works of his predecessors: the Rebbes of Pshischa, Kotzk, and the Chidushei Harim.

Course requirements: Pass/Fail. Attendance required.