Torah Studies: A Weekly Journey Into the Soul of Torah - 5777 Season 2

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12 lessons that probe into the depths of contemporary Torah thought, with a special focus on issues surrounding spirituality, the human psyche, love, and relationships. Every experience offers meaningful and timely lessons – from the most timeless of texts. You will walk away surprised, inspired, and knowing more about who we are as Jews, and who you are as an individual.


 

Lesson 1

The Thank-You Nation

The Torah tells us that the Jewish people should be thankful for all the help they get, including from their enemies and even inanimate objects. But why? The Exodus story teaches that the key to redemption is an attitude of gratitude.


 

Lesson 2

Nature vs. Nurture

What’s more valuable? The obvious passion of the honeymoon moments, or the small but thoughtful gestures that represent the effort required in a relationship? Both elements exist and are crucial to cultivating our relationship with G-d.


 

Lesson 3

The Power to Choose

The question is ancient. If G-d hardened Pharaoh’s heart, then it was G-d who made Pharaoh refuse to let the Israelites go, not Pharaoh himself. How can this be just? This lesson explains the mechanics of free will, and what tools we need to make sound decisions.


 

Lesson 4

In G-d We Trust

We all know worrying doesn’t help, but does it also hurt? In exploring the appropriate ways to deal with stress and challenges, this lesson defines faith and trust in G-d. What emerges is a profound and empowering message of how we can use positive thought to improve our lives.


 

Lesson 5

Watch What You Think

When your mind wanders to places it shouldn’t, aren’t you glad nobody can tell what you are thinking? This doesn’t mean inappropriate thoughts are okay. We are responsible to make sure we use our minds properly, because everything starts at the top.


 

Lesson 6

G-d?s Custodians

Judaism places a strong emphasis on charity: everything comes from G-d, so use what you have as He would want. But why doesn’t G‑d just give each person their appropriate share of wealth, rather than creating a world where some people are wealthy and others are in need?


 

Lesson 7

Back to Basics

A meaningful Jewish life means that we don’t just go through the motions, but use our minds and hearts to find meaning in them. Yet as we grow and become more sophisticated, we must maintain a certain basic simplicity. Because before great things comes humble beginnings.


 

Lesson 8

The Solution to Antisemitism

Haman in the Purim story was neither the first nor the last to seek a “final solution,” G-d forbid. What is it about the Jewish people that the Hamans in each generation simply cannot tolerate? It is crucial for us to understand what really lies behind the hate to be able to address it properly.


 

Lesson 9

The Cycle of Sin

We’ve all made the firm decision to abandon a bad habit or behavior, only to slip right back into it sometime later. Why can’t we just get it right? It turns out that we are purposely wired to be imperfect. If we only seize the moment, we can turn our most dismal failures into the greatest achievements.


 

Lesson 10

An Island in Time

To mark G-d’s creation of the world in six days and His rest on the Seventh, we have the Shabbat. But what does it mean that G-d rested? Did the Creator need a vacation, or a nap perhaps? Understanding work and rest as they apply to G-d allows us to appreciate the true quality of the gift of Shabbat.


 

Lesson 11

Why Sacrifices?

Charity, prayer, and study are easy to understand. But why on earth would G‑d want us to burn animals on an altar? This lesson explores the meaning of the sacrifices in the Temple, providing a new dimension to a somewhat confusing part of Judaism.


 

Lesson 12

To Be Free

How can Jews claim to be free if they must obey the laws of Judaism? Why did we leave the bondage of ancient Egypt only to become the unquestioning servants of G-d? It is time to redefine what freedom is. Can this cherished value mean something other than “do what you want”?


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In loving memory of Rav Dovid ben Nissan HaKohen Moradoff and Reb Rafael ben Moshe - By the Bharier Family, London, UK