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The Complex Life of Solomon in Bible and Legend (Adult Learning)

Past Sessions
Monday, May 22, 2023 2 Sivan 5783 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Zoom
Monday, May 15, 2023 24 Iyar 5783 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Zoom
Monday, May 8, 2023 17 Iyar 5783 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Zoom
Monday, May 1, 2023 10 Iyar 5783 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Zoom

Offered on Zoom. Link will be posted in the directory sent to Shir Tikvah members and friends. Please check your most recent temple email.

Who was King Solomon? The Bible presents a rich and complex king of Israel. He rules sagely over the 12 Tribes of Israel and builds God's Temple in Jerusalem, yet he also succumbs to the temptations of flesh and power. Remembered as the ultimate paragon of wisdom, he's also seen as the lusty poet of the Song of Songs. And in the Rabbinic imagination, he becomes a romantic figure of wild legends and tales. We'll explore the image of Solomon in Jewish literature, with all its complexity and lessons for our own time about the nature of wisdom, power, and sensuality. 


Class #1 – May 1: Who was Solomon? The Biblical Story, Part 1
In this first class, we’ll explore the complicated and difficult persona who emerges from the Bible: after a brutal succession battle, he confirms his father David’s legacy in building the Temple.

Class #2 – May 8: Who was Solomon? The Biblical Story, Part 2
The Bible records several stories that attest to Solomon’s wisdom and sagacity. But it also tells o tragic saga of a king whose lusts, appetites, and shortcomings lead to tragedy.


Class #3 – May 15: Solomon the Philosopher, Solomon the Poet
The Bible links Solomon to several widely different books. In this session, we’ll explore why and how he was associated with wisdom literature and the Song of Songs.

Class #4 – May 22: The Sages’ Solomon
Solomon looms large in the imagination of the Rabbis and in Jewish lore. We’ll read some of the most provocative midrashim and stories and assess his legacy in the Jewish imagination.


Instructor Bio

 Rabbi Neal Gold teaches and writes about Jewish texts, Israel, and intersections between Jewish spiritual life and the contemporary world. He is the Jewish Chaplain and Hillel Director at Babson College, and teaches university-level adult education for Me’ah, a program of Hebrew College. He is the Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis. In 2020, he created a rapidly expanding online platform for adult Jewish learning called “A Tree with Roots“ and he is the editor of Radiance: The Collected Prose and Poetry of Danny Siegel, published by the Jewish Publication Society in 2020.  His writing and blogging on issues of Jewish interest, and his teaching schedule both online and in person, can be found at  

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Thu, September 28 2023 13 Tishrei 5784