I should like to dedicate this lecture on the story of Joseph in Genesis to the memory of Daniel Leifer, who was for a generation the director of the Hillel House on the University of Chicago campus. Rabbi Leifer, whose recent unexpected death shocked the students to whom he had endeared himself, perpetuated the great Hillel House tradition of public discussion of serious questions at the University.
It has been at Hillel House that I have heard, during my half-century at the University of Chicago, many instructive lectures on Jewish things, including some by Leo Strauss, one of my teachers at the University. It was Maurice Pekarsky, the founding director of Hillel House, who repeatedly invited Mr. Strauss to examine in his boldly imaginative, yet painstakingly meticulous, manner whatever texts he undertook to share with us.
We are all indebted to Rabbi Leifer, as well as to his predecessors, for the wide range of discourse routinely made available to us at Hillel House. I am personally grateful to him, as well as to Rabbi Richard Winograd and Rabbi Pekarsky, for the opportunities afforded me to talk at Hillel House over the years.
The Basic Program Genesis Weekend
The University of Chicago
April 28, 1996