BHS Chumash Curriculum
Each year, all students complete an in-depth study of a significant portion of one sefer of the Torah. Students are sorted into groups that focus on the skills each individual requires to gain practical expertise in independent study. Strong emphasis is placed on reading the pesukim and understanding the major commentaries, gearing the students for lifelong Torah study. Students learn skills necessary to read, research, and decipher the meaning of any Torah topic. Many moral truths are gleaned from the text, expounded, and discussed in relation to everyday life.
Students in the skill building level Chumash program focus on developing the basic skills that will enable them to read and understand both the pshat and deeper levels of the text. Students practice reading and translating pesukim and Rashi, learn to analyze Rashi’s commentary, and are introduced to additional meforshim outside the text. Students are also guided in exploring the lessons that are derived from the Chumash.
Students in the standard level Chumash program continue to work on mastering Rashi’s commentary while exploring additional meforshim inside the text, including Ramban, Ibn Ezra and Seforno. Students will continue to develop their understanding of the text and how the insights of various commentaries deepen their understanding of the pesukim.
Students in the advanced level Chumash class are trained to rigorously analyze the text and commentaries and explore deeper levels of meaning. While reading skills are still reviewed and strengthened, the primary goal of the course is to make learning a dynamic process—uncovering discrepancies, exploring the interrelationships of various commentaries, and searching for moral directives. In addition to the standard Mikraos Gedolos text, students will explore additional commentaries including Midrash, Gemara, Gur Aryeh (Maharal), Netziv, Malbim, and others. Teaching methodology will focus on developing a rich panorama of different commentaries, discovering how various approaches come together to form a more thorough comprehension of the text. Students will learn to think broadly in scope, looking beyond the individual commentary and concept to discover underlying themes and messages. The course then takes these concepts and fuses the intellectual challenge with ethical/moral guidance, enabling students to understand how the directives embedded in the Torah apply to their daily lives.