In 1950, a construction worker on the site of the destroyed Warsaw Ghetto found a container buried in the rubble. Hidden within it were manuscripts in Hebrew characters with a letter asking that if the manuscripts were found they should be sent to the author’s relatives in Jerusalem. These manuscripts were the final works of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, also known as the Piaseczner Rebbe, a luminary of Hasidic thought whose ideas attracted both the Hasidim and secular Jews of interwar Poland. Included among the manuscripts were Rabbi Shapira’s sermons delivered in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1939-1942, which he called “Torah Insights from the Years of Wrath” and which his surviving students renamed “Esh Kodesh,” “The Holy Fire.” This collection is the only extant work of Hasidic thought written in Nazi Europe. It is filled with spiritual resistance, hope, and consolation. In this class we will read excerpts of the sermons and explore Rabbi Shapira’s response to the brutal realities of his time.
This adult education course will be in-person at TBE and taught by Rabbi Carolyn Braun and Rabbi Alice Goldfinger. It will be held on four consecutive Sundays, running October 15-November 5.