והוו משלחי מנייהו והוו יתבי עד צוארייהו בחלא
“They stripped themselves naked and sat down covered with sand up to their necks.” (Shabbat 33b)
When Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son were seeking refuge from the Romans, they hid themselves in a cave. In order to preserve their clothing during this time of uncertainty, they only wore their clothing when praying, and the remainder of the day persisted with their bodies covered completely in sand–except for their heads. With just their heads visible they studied Torah, and created for themselves a Beit Midrash (study hall) in their protective cave.
This disembodied approach to study proved to be flawed. When finally emerging from the cave and reentering the world at large, they struggled to understand the human condition and to respond with harness to the people around them. *
Beit Midrash in Motion seeks to create an environment for embodied Torah study. Our workshops brush away the sand and allow for our learners to study not with their heads in isolation from their bodies, but with a unison of their full bodies. Our beit midrash seeks to provide a place of refuge for learners off all backgrounds and to encourage them to positively integrate their Torah study into the world around them.