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Becoming Elijah: Prophet of Transformation
Thursday, August 11, 2022 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
An event every week that begins at 12:30 pm on Thursday, repeating until Thursday, August 18, 2022
In the Bible Elijah is a zealous prophet, attacking idolatry and injustice, championing God. He performs miracles, restoring life and calling down fire. When his earthly life ends, he vanishes in a whirlwind, carried off to heaven in a fiery chariot. Was this a spectacular death, or did Elijah escape death entirely? The latter view prevailed. Though residing in heaven, Elijah revisits earth—to help, rescue, enlighten, and eventually herald the Messiah. Because of his messianic role, Jews open the door for Elijah during each seder—the meal commemorating liberation from slavery and anticipating final redemption. How did this zealot turn into a compassionate hero—apparently the most popular figure in Jewish tradition? In our “Becoming Elijah” series, we explore this question, tracing how Elijah develops from the Bible to Rabbinic Judaism, Kabbalah, and Jewish ritual (as well as Christianity and Islam). His transformation is pertinent and inspirational for our polarized, fanatical world.
Daniel C. Matt is a teacher of Jewish spirituality and one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah and the Zohar. He has been featured in Time and Newsweek and has appeared on National Public Radio and the History Channel. He has published over a dozen books, including Becoming Elijah: Prophet of Transformation (recently published by Yale University in their series Jewish Lives series), The Essential Kabbalah (translated into eight languages), Zohar: Annotated and Explained, and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality (revised edition, 2016). Several years ago, Daniel completed an 18-year project of translating and annotating the Zohar. In 2016, Stanford University Press published his ninth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, concluding the Zohar’s main commentary on the Torah. For this work, Daniel has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award. The Koret award hailed his translation as “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.” Daniel received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University and for twenty years served as professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also taught at Stanford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Daniel lives in Berkeley with his wife Hana. He also teaches Zohar online. For information about this ongoing Zohar course, see the website of Stanford University Press: https://www.sup.org/zohar/course.
CSP Partners: Beth Israel (San Diego, CA), Brotherhood Synagogue (Gramercy Park, NYC), Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Jewish Collaborative of Orange County, CA, Shomrei Torah Synagogue (San Fernando Valley, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Temple Emanuel (Newton, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY), University Synagogue (Irvine, CA), Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA) & Walnut Street Synagogue (Chelsea, MA)