Online Education Hub course to examine Book of Numbers

24 October 2019 – 25 Tishri 5780

24 October 2019

Liberal Judaism will be running a special online Education Hub course from 7 November until 5 December looking at the Book of Numbers.

The course is being led by Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel. René is rabbi at Kingston Liberal Synagogue and has a strong academic background in ancient history and biblical studies. He will look in depth at the book at Numbers, which recent scholarship has found to be the last book of Torah to take shape in the form we know it today.

The course takes place via Zoom and costs just £15. It is in four parts…

Thursday 7 November – Introduction to the Book of Numbers: The Book of Numbers is rather different from the other four books of Torah – containing different traditions on Moses and the history of Israel that are not in the other books and may be more recent. We will examine some of these theories by reading a few texts and discussing some passages.

Wednesday 13 November – The ritual of the Sotah, the adulteress (Numbers 5:11-31): This passage is a complement to the prohibition of adultery in the Ten Commandments. A close reading of these words will reveal the status of women in biblical Israel, and the masculine anxiety towards women. We will see that maybe biblical laws are not what they seem to be at first reading.

Thursday 28 November – The cycle of rebellions (Numbers chap. 11): Israel is known to be a stiff-necked people (‘am keshei oref‘). Why is it so? Why are they so rebellious? What is behind their constant moaning? A close reading of some of these passages will give us a glance at Israel’s anxieties.

Thursday 5 December – A Progressive Law: Five times in Torah – four in the book of Numbers – the Law is changed to adapt to a new situation. We will read these passages and see if there is a recurrent pattern to these changes, and why any system has to be flexible to endure.

To book your place on this online course, please click here.

For questions or more details please contact Rabbi René Pfertzel on

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