Torah Studies: A Weekly Journey Into the Soul of Torah - 5779 Season 2

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14 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

Breaking Norms

The Four Questions feature prominently in the collective Jewish imagination. While these questions have been chanted for millennia, fewer know that embedded within the structure of the Passover seder is a clarion call for every Jew to put on a hat they may have never imagined donning. Answer the call!


 

Lesson 2

Wet Behind the Ears

At the foot of the sea with the Egyptian army thundering behind them, one Jewish tribe started . . . throwing stones at another tribe! What? As we unravel this mystery, discover how to strike the balance between the enthusiasm you seek and the maturity you wish to master.


 

Lesson 3

Life is Art

Have you ever wondered what life would be like without so many flaws? Wouldn’t your days be so much more meaningful if you didn’t constantly struggle with doubt, insecurity, and hidden demons? Frankly, the answer is, “No!” The secret lies in a story about an idolatrous priest who embraces the Jewish message and ends up with an eponymous portion in the Torah bearing his name.


 

Lesson 4

Making Tough Choices

Ever landed in a tough spot with difficult choices? Was there a pitiful situation that set you up for some pretty bad choices? A little-known law about a slave getting his ear pierced at the door of his master encourages us all to face the music and make the best choice we can.


 

Lesson 5

The Aroma of Acrimony

Nobody’s perfect. Our personal Judaism, as with all the things in life, can get a little tough. Does that mean we’re failing? Why should we continue to struggle if the calm never comes? This class, on the Temple altars, sheds light on the glory of the grind.


 

Lesson 6

Clothes Make the Person

From the moment Adam and Eve used leaves to cover their naked flesh, humans have forever been clothed. What does Judaism have to say about your suit and your prom dress? Discover the rules and regulations, the culture and the kabbalah of the clothing in your closet.


 

Lesson 7

Forget Me Not!

Now that we all have smartphones in our pockets, it seems ridiculous to tie a string around your finger to remember something. But that’s how things were done for millennia. What’s the connection between a knot and memory? Well, the connection is—believe it or not—connection.


 

Lesson 8

Flip the Script

We live life one day at a time, every day another chapter. As the days pile up, they string together a narrative, a story that you tell yourself and relate to others. So what’s your story? Is it a series of frustrations and mishaps, or a wonderful tale of success and meaning?


 

Lesson 9

Did Plato Get It Right?

While Plato spoke of the universal—the dreamy ideal without concrete realization—Torah mobilizes us to take action in the here and now. In this class we discover heaven on earth in Judaism’s more sublime sense of idealism, one deeply rooted in reality.


 

Lesson 10

Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Routine can be boring. A vacation, a surprise visit, a raging concert—now you’re talking! But do you want your job to change every day? Do you like sleeping in a different bed every night? Would you enjoy a new relationship every week? Regardless of your answer, this class is for you.


 

Lesson 11

Do It Because You Care

Getting a birthday card with no personal message is just a wee bit disappointing. Have you ever done something like that? Have you ever “gotten it done” but without any personal feeling? Join the Jews in the perilous times of Shushanic Purim, and find the tools to inject passion and personality into your otherwise banal behavior.


 

Lesson 12

The Day Aaron Argued with Moses

An odd thing happens in the desert as the Jews commence services in the Tabernacle: Moses and Aaron get into a whole kerfuffle about a burnt goat. True story. What’s the significance of this peculiar debate, and what does it have to do with me?


 

Lesson 13

Compassionate Condemnation

It can feel pretty good to call someone out for their faults and wrongdoings. As you sit atop your moral high horse, it’s nice to know that you can see evil for what it is. But a curious law in the obscure topic of lepers in the Torah teaches us a radical different approach. An approach grounded in profound compassion and a deep sense of love.


 

Lesson 14

A Stranger to Passover

Not unlike fine wine and whiskey, a taste for G-d needs to be developed. Passover is a time of personal connection, a time to become a real connoisseur of spirituality. This lesson explains how.


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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