Here’s a sampling of meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative study programs and classes that I’ve taught.
Shlomo ibn Gabirol’s Five Steps to Wisdom
There’s a teaching attributed to Rabbi Shlomo ibn Gabirol, the 11th century Cordoban poet-philosopher: “In seeking wisdom, the first step is silence, the second listening, the third remembering, the fourth practicing, the fifth teaching others.” It’s not entirely clear to me if ibn Gabirol actually wrote these words – they are notoriously difficult to source.
However, each of the steps have a solid grounding in Jewish spirituality, and so I’ve found it to be a useful paradigm for meditation and contemplative study. This series of meditations includes a focus on each step, as well as accompanying reflective texts by writers, thinkers, and selected teachings by Rebbe Nachman.
Part 1: Silence (and Groaning)
Part 2: Listening
Part 3: Remembering
Part 4: Practicing (Study vs. Action)
Part 5: Teaching Others
[No video available for this session]
Soul Journey through Sefirat HaOmer
The counting of the seven weeks between Pesach and Shavuot – the Sefirat haOmer – carry a particularly special meaning in Jewish mysticism and spirituality. They are a time when we are invited into a process of profound self-reflection and soul-refinement. This is a journey deep into the essence of our humanity, when we focus on our habits, the ways we interact with others, and the character traits that we strive to embody. All of this is grounded in classical Jewish mystical concepts that are mapped onto the human psyche.
This series of meditations and study presented here offers a sampling of five of these weeks of reflection. Learn more about the spiritual practice of counting the omer.
Rabbeinu Bachya and Rabbi Art Green on Tiferet
(plus Rav Dessler)
Messilat Yesharim on Netzach
(plus Maya Angelou)
Dust & Ashes & Hod
(Plus Abraham Joshua Heschel and Tennessee Williams)
Rav Eliyahu Dessler on Yesod
(plus Maria Popova)
Rebbe Nachman on Malkhut
(plus the Berditchever Rebbe and Rachel Carson)
Savlanut (Patience) in a Time of Uncertainty
As days blend together and the movement of time feels like it has morphed, it can be harder to both exercise patience in the face of anxiety, and also to know when it’s time for some righteous impatience.
Through mussar, poetry, and psychology, this class explores some of the radical ideas Jewish spirituality offers about noticing our own tendency to be impatient or patient, and suggests practices that can help cultivate a greater sense of balance.
Oh, For God’s Sake: Belief in a World of Suffering
What does it mean to believe in, not believe in, or be angry with God during a time of great suffering and death? Why do bad things happen to good people? These are the big questions that humans have always grappled with, particularly in times of uncertainty.
This class taps into the astonishingly subversive approach to these questions that comes from the Book of Job, a story about speaking truth to power about belief in what God is and isn’t.