Welcome to the Kloiz! – First Shiur: Relationshipful Meaning #1
I am excited to announce the launch of a new project I’m calling “Zelmele’s Kloiz”, starting with a shiur on Thursday evenings.
First, about the shiur: We will be looking at a series of texts that relate to fundamental questions of our purpose in life, the nature of our souls, and practical ways to get from where we are now to where Hashem wants us to be and where our souls would be happiest being. Needless to say to anyone who knows me, these texts will all present answers in terms of wholeness, relationship and Widening our Tents.
The first shiur is scheduled for Thursday, February 24th, at 7pm Eastern. It will be on Zoom at the handy URL http://thekloiz.aishdas.org. (Yes, it will be recorded with shiurim on shiurim.aishdas.org, but the shiur will be much more engaging for all of us if you’re there to ask questions!) We start by looking at the Maharal’s commentary on Pirkei Avos 1:2, and see how his thought gives us hints as to what the Mishkan really was about, and why so much of the Torah is spent going over its details.
The resource sheet is on Sefaria at https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/385854
EDIT: The shiur has been recorded:
(Note: I will be assuming a yeshiva day school background. If that doesn’t describe your current level of Jewish education, please feel welcome try the first shiur and see if it’s for you. I won’t be offended if you try it and drop off.)
Feel free to forward this email to someone you think might want this kind of shiur!
Now, just what is The Kloiz? “Kloiz” is a Yiddish term for a house where scholars would assemble. (For example, the Hebrew term “Beis Mussar” is a translation of the Yiddish idiom “Mussar Kloiz”.) In Lithuania, where Torah study was so emphasized as the central avodas Hashem, it was their social parallel to davening at a Chassidishe shteibl. A place of Torah study and of fellowship.
“Zelmele” refers to my great-great-grandfather, Rav Shlomo Zalmen Birger. He lived in Suvalk (Polish: Suwalki), a city in Northern Poland, so that its Jews’ minhagim, Hebrew accent, and attitude toward life were Lithuanian. Our family owned a textile dying plant, which freed up time each day for the men to study Torah as the women equally ran much of the day-to-day business. Rav Dovid Lifshitz, who was still considered the “Suvalke Rav” decades after the Shoah, when he became my rebbe, recalled the Birger home as hosting “Zelmele’s Kloiz”, where they, friends and students exchanged ideas.
And so, as we gather “here” in our way, studying sefarim as they did, and hopefully building camaraderie too, I thought it would be nice to think of this enterprise as a continuation of the past. Zelemele’s Kloiz.