Monday, June 05, 2023

(Courtesy of Anshe Chesed) What happened to Betuel, Chur and On ben Pelet, three characters who “disappear” from Tanach? Last week, Nechama Price delivered the answer to a packed crowd at Congregation Anshe Chesed of Linden. “The topic was one that we don’t often hear discussed, about people named in the Torah, but about whom we know little or nothing,” said Stan Fink, a longtime member of Anshe Chesed.

Price pointed out that whenever a character “disappears” from the Torah, another character becomes the focus of the narrative. She developed the idea that the purpose of the disappearing character is to emphasize a more prominent character. Chur is one of the examples Price discussed. Chur is mentioned in the Torah as one of the people who held up Moshe’s arms at the war with Amalek. When Moshe went up to Har Sinai, Aharon and Chur were appointed as the de facto leaders. When Chur disappeared from the narrative, Aharon stepped up in leadership. Aharon tried to delay the sin of the Golden Calf and he was rewarded for this with the status of being the Kohen Gadol.

As Rabbi Yossi Katz, rabbi of Anshe Chesed, said in his introduction to the lecture, Price is a “wonderful teacher who epitomizes Torah Lishma.” Price is a professor at Stern College for Women, the director of Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies for Women, and the author of “Tribal Blueprints: Twelve Brothers and the Destiny of Israel.” “Our community is so fortunate that women have opportunities to learn Torah in a serious way and then spread that Torah across America and Israel,” Rabbi Katz said. Having Price speak to the community was truly a special opportunity.

Price’s lecture was one installment of the YU Speaker Series, a project of Anshe Chesed’s Gertrude Weil Institute of Jewish Learning. Scholars from Yeshiva University come to Linden to provide dynamic shiurim on a variety of topics. Recent speakers have included Rabbi Baruch Simon, Rabbi Ezra Schwartz, Rabbi Yaakov Glasser and Dr. Daniel Rynhold. As with all of Anshe Chesed’s learning programs, the YU Speaker Series is open to the public, making it a great way for the broader Central New Jersey community to join together.

Fink remarked that not only did Price deliver an excellent presentation, “the event also attracted the attention of both members of our shul and people from the general Union County Jewish community—Elizabeth, Hillside and Springfield—which made for a nice evening of bringing us all together to learn Torah.”

In addition to the YU Speaker Series, Anshe Chesed hosts a weekly “Lunch and Learn” and a Sunday morning breakfast and shiur titled “Letters of Tradition, A Tradition of Letters.” After seeing the community’s thirst for Torah learning, Rabbi Katz now provides a daily Mishna Yomi podcast, on track with the broader Mishna Yomit schedule, to allow participants to study two mishnayot a day while on the go. Visit https://www.anshechesed.org/ to learn about upcoming learning opportunities.

Thank you to Mrs. Price for visiting and inspiring our community. Thank you to Rabbi Yossi and Rebbetzin Emma Katz for organizing this incredible program and the other learning opportunities in Linden.

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