Reflections on Moving Torah methodology From Marlynn Dorff, Master Teacher, Pressman Academy:
“You shall love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.” This sentence from the Shema (and Deuteronomy 6) may be very familiar, but each of the three key words is difficult to translate For instance, “lev” can refer to a physical heart, emotions, or the core of something, but it can also refer to the mind. The expression, “sim lev,” literally “put a heart,” means to pay attention, to focus your mind. Maybe what matters more is not the exact translation of these three words but rather the idea that we can bring mind, heart and soul to an endeavor that is important.
MovingTorah was developed by Andrea Hodos as a technique to acquire the skills needed to study Bible in the original Hebrew and to interact with the text on a deeply personal level. Participants do a close, critical reading of the text, noticing everything, asking all sorts of questions, examining interpretations and creating new ones. This combination of text skills and personal meaning is not unique to MovingTorah: movement is the added secret ingredient.
I have seen Andrea teach fourth and ninth graders, introducing movements to help them learn words and concepts and encouraging them to create original movements to interpret the text. When I watched one group’s presentation after they had completed this process, it was beautiful and graceful and it challenged me intellectually. MovingTorah integrates the mind and body as students concretize and internalize the learning.
When you study the Bible this way, who you are, and who the people around you are, both influence your experience. You embark on a journey to understand your relationship to the text, God, yourself, your people and the world -- with all your heart and mind, with all your soul, and with all your might.