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Rav Hai Gaon
2 Lectures

Item #: S415

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Item Description:

In the days before e-mail, transmitting from, say, the great academies of Babylonia to Jewish centers in France and Spain was arduous, not to mention dangerous. Rav Hai Gaon was the last of the Babylonian Gaonim. His travels brought the knowledge of the Babylonian Academy into Europe. Noted Jewish historian Berel Wein takes you on this essential journey that marked a new era in the development of halacha.

Individual lectures:

Part 1 - Until his eighties, this great sage lived in the flourishing Jewish community of Babylonia, but as historical events spread the Jews further and further out into the exile, he made the dangerous trek to France and Spain. Including the exciting story of the Four Captives, Rabbi Wein describes the sterling life of this Jewish leader who became the conduit of Torah from Babylonia to the Diaspora.

Part 2 - Leaders who live at transitional periods make their mark on future generations as well as on their own. An examination of Rav Hai Gaon's philosophical and halachic writings show his immeasurable influence. Author of the first work of practical halacha for merchants at the dawning of Jewish prominence in world trade, he was copied by many later writers, and his rationalist strain of Torah interpretation shaped the Rambam's thinking two centuries later. Though overshadowed by the giants that came after him, all of those giants were able to achieve what they did because of the path he paved for Torah scholarship.

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