This paper implements one of the suggestions
raised in Chaviva Speter's paper "The combination of Midrashei
Chazal in/with the teaching of Oral Law (Torah Sheb'al Peh) in
the secular schools", Atid, 5760.
In her previous paper, the problems of
teaching Oral Law were discussed and one of the suggested
solutions was writing a curriculum in the area of aggada and
the world of Chazal.
This paper presents a plan for the teaching
of the world of Chazal in in connections with the Yearly Cycle.
The arguments for the choice of this topic
are presented, as well as an overall multi-year plan for the
teaching of the topic of the holidays on the high school level.
The examination of the world of Chazal is
suggested as a second stage after students have studied the
holidays as presented in the Bible. through learning with an
understanding of its historical period.
This project includes a study of different
topics from the spheres of Chazal's aggada and halacha. There is
great importance for the learner in the acquaintance of a wide
variety of books and literary genres as well as a diversified
world of ideas.
Through learning a number of topics during
the year, hopefully, the goal will be reached of exposing the
student to the rich and variegated spiritual world as well as to
many varieties of literature, tools that can aid him in the
study of other topics through self-study.
The paper concentrates on the attitude of
Chazal to repentance, a topic suitable to the months of Ellul
– Tishrei. The presentation of the topic of repentance (teshuva)
is done by focusing on Chazal's attitude to Biblical f
characters who sinned and on an analysis of Chazal's approach to
In the first chapter, different points of
view are presented about evaluating Cain's repentance as it is
seen in the Midrashim in Breishit Rabbah.
A parallel between the repentance of Cain to
that of the men of Nineveh is drawn. From the comparison of the
two, opposing attitudes surface which either interpret the
characters positively or negatively. The possible historical and
polemical backgrounds which influenced Chazal's interpretations
of the repentance of the characters are discussed.
The second chapter deals with the attitude
towards Esau and three possible directions are presented: Esau
is not capable of repentance, Esau is the intermediary for the
people of Israel's repentance, and finally Esau converted (to
The attitude towards conversion and to "God
fearers" that existed among the Jewish people during the time of
the second Temple and immediately thereafter is dealt with
briefly in the appendix.
The third chapter addresses the halachic
topics related to evil-doers and repentance in the eyes of