What is it about?

This article reflects on Group Dynamics in the Beit Midrash. It invokes theories from the field of organizational discourse, with special consideration of the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and his followers. It also makes use of concepts relating to group-dynamic processes of the psychoanalyst Wilfred R. Bion. Read through this lens, the legend reveals new understandings regarding the conditions and responsibilities required from all partners for the vitality and productivity of the organization.

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Why is it important?

With the help of a new methodology, the article brings to the surface a dynamic that usually remains 'in the shadows' both in Talmudic stories, which deal with dilemmas and interpersonal conflicts, and in the studies devoted to them. Thus we are exposed to additional layers of meaning of these stories, to the poetic means that create these meanings, and to the complex messages that these stories try to convey to their listeners (the sages in the Beit Midrash or the readers of the Talmud).


As a lecturer in college (i.e., as a fellow in a learning and teaching organization, that parallels can be found between it and the world of the Beit Midrash), and as someone who teaches courses in Public Policy and Conflict Resolution, I find the Talmudic stories that dealing with the study experience in the Beit Midrash of the sages as an excellent and fascinating prism for take a look on the dynamic processes that occur in different kinds of organizations.

Sagit Mor
Beit Berl College

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Group Dynamics in Beit Midrash Organizations: Revisiting the Legend of the Conflict between Rabbi Yohanan and Resh Laqish (Babylonian Talmud Bava Metzi’a 84a), Review of Rabbinic Judaism, March 2022, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15700704-12341389.
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