Wednesday 8 Elul 5774, September 3 2014.
This class introduces a new year and explains at least basically the stage of Davening called Hoda'a.
Wednesday 15 Elul 5774, September 10 2014.
This class discusses the line the Arizal added to the Siddur to be said at the very outset of the davening, that the Rebbe popularized.
We explore three levels of this: 1) For Chaveirim, 2) For all Jews so the Tefila (korbon) will be whole, 3) that it has nothing to do with Davening but the entire day.
Wednesday 22 Elul 5774/ September 17 2014
Three Psukim about entering a Shul, in many nuschaos it is more trhan three.
1) Shuls, 2) Entering a Shul, 3) Davening there.
Wednesday 7 Tishrei 5775/ October 1 2014.
The actual text of the three Psukim (in the order they appear in the ChaBaD Siddur).
1) four words for house or Shul: 1) Ohel, 2) Mishkan, 3) Bayis, 4) Haichal,
2) From the lower to the higher and from the outer to the inner. 1) Temporary, Klipa challenged to 2) A place for Godliness (Shchina) to rest and bring K'dusha with it and then 3) Enter into his HOME and feel comfortable there. and 4) Finally, to bow (not enter) into His Inner Snactum,
3) VaAni Brov Chasdecha... correspond to Avrohom (Brov Chasdecha) Yitzchak (Eshtachave El Haichal Kudshecha), and Ya'akov (BiYirasecha) which is higher even than Haichal.
4) 1) VaAni Sfilasi... is Bittul 2) Licha Hashem is giving Him from our materialism with sacrifice, and then 3) anytime is an Eis Ratzon, a special time, 4) Elokim Brav Chasdecha, Elokim is Havaya, 5) Anaini BeEmes, we ask for Truth, 6) Yishecha from the highest levels of Kesser.
Monday 16 Elul 5772, September 3 2012.
Adon Olom, is actually a quite recent addition to the Nusach, though the later Geonim already mention it.
It speaks to Hashem on a basic but essential level, touching the Truth in its simplicity. He was in the beginning in a perfect world, He is in our imperfect world and is present even in the dark (night-like) world; and He'll be involved when its perfect again.
A second version of Adon Olom, from Machon Chana
Wednesday 28 Tishrei 5775/ October 22 2014.
It is uncertain who wrote Adon Olom and when it was written.
What is certain is that it does not appear in the Siddur until relatively recently. (it appears in the Shela but not in the RaMaK or the Arizal).
It has four parts (and the order is strange: 1) His Kingship, 2) His abstraction, 3) His providing me wt all, 4) My entrusting Him.
there is a longer version (in the Siddur Rab Shabsi Sofer) with six or seven parts, including a mention of the ten S'firos.
Why we say the shorter version.
Adon Olom is a meditation we do to think of God and how it helps us.
Wednesday 05 Marcheshvan 5775/ October 29 2014.
The half of Adon Olom is explored inside.
The first part of Adon Olom discusses His being a King, not of the world, but His possibility to rule over a world if one were to exist. He is not limited (even) by his infinity, He can be involved ion what is finite as well and that is the meaning of His Kingship.
Te second part describes the distance between Him and His world as it exists.
The word 'Tifarah' indicates how His infinity is revealed in a world or reality that therefore reveals beauty, not the nothingness of Infinity, where there is no world.
Wednesday 12 Marcheshvan 5775/ November 05 2014.
This class explore the second half of Adon Olom, which has two additional ideas:
1) Hashem is involved with us and he is our personal God,
2) we give ourselves to Him, both on good times (awake) and not such good times (sleep),
Infinity also goes only where it must so we don't fear.
Wednesday 19 MarCheshvan 5775/ November 12 2014.
The Akaida is said everyday for various reasons,
before and after we say a Prayer that comes from the Rosh hashana Davening!
The prayer before is amended (from the Rosh hashana version) to underscore the theme of living as a Jew on a day to day level, rather than the sacrifice the Akaida conjures up, which is emphasized on Rosh Hashana.
Monday 9 Elul 5772, August 27 2012.
Akaidas Yitzchok, why we say it in the morning (and before davening) and why was it not said until the last few hundred years.
A power that wakes us up.
This class is dedicated LeIlui Nishmas Hayeled in Tzivos Hashem Avrohom Dovid A"H ben Schne'er Zalman and in honor of his wonderful parents Sheyichyu.
Wednesday 26 MarCheshvan 5775/ November 19 2014.
The story of sacrifice.
This class learns the entire Vayehi Achar inside and divides this story into none parts.
1) Command, test, 2) Preparation, 3) revelation that Yiztchok is the Korbon, 4) Akaida, tying, 5) Shechita (slaughter) and denial, 6) replacement Ram, 7) Renaming Jerusalem, to see and be seen, 8) New Blessing, 9) returning to life.
Wednesday 4 Kilsev 5775/ November 26 2014.
There are many reasons to say VaYehi Achar and though the idea has been around since the Zohar it was not until the last few hundred years or so.
This class explores why it has been recently incorporated into the regular Nusach and the various reasons given for its recitation: 1) It reminds us of our ancestors, 2) it inspires our readiness for Mesoras Nefesh, 3) for dealing with Hashem's tests, 4) it protects us from all harm
The Arizal gives three reasons: 5) It heals the lower parts of Z"A NeHI and two thirds of Tiefers, thus Yitzcvhok was 37 during the Akaida, 6) It heals the opposite of lief, 7) It heals the death of hevel (Gimatria 37) who died from too much exposure to Gidliness.
This class explains primarily the three arizal reasons, that Yitzchok's Gevuros are tempered by avrohom (actually) giving him life (not death as the akaida is understood in convention).
Wednesday 11 Kislev 5775/ December 3 2014.
This class introduces the reading of this Parsha Possuk by Possuk.
It begins with the RaShbaM who explains that the Akaida follows Avrohom's peace treaty with Avimelech which Hashem looked at dis-favorably.
Thus we have three readings of the Akaida as a whole: 1) A test, 2) A correction of Yitzchok, 3) a correction of Avrohom.
All three can be read into the same words.
The keys are 1) lech Lecha to leave your place and go to 2) the land of Moriah, for Avrohom this is up and for Yitzchok this is down, 3) And raise up an Olah, for Avrohom this means going higher still and for Yitzchok this means going back up after the correction, 4) Avrohom (sometimes) refers to the very essence of the Neshama (Yechida) that is called froward to affect the corrections that Akaida needs to achieve.
Wednesday 18 Kislev 5775/ December 10 2014.
The Preparations for the Akeida, Avrohom takes the animal, the servants and then Yitzchok in that order, from the lowest to the highest, as would be the normal order of a Korban, first sacrifice the animal then elevate the man.
But that is where the similarity ends: in this case Avrohom and Yitzchik go alone, as the animal is not being sacrificed to help the man emerge, but the man is being sacrificed (or so they think) to reveal the essence.
Wednesday 25 Kislev 5775/ December 17 2014.
The actual Akaida takes place,
Yitzchok is tied up, drawn into a point (not a man tha'ts opened into three (kavim) columns, but a point, like the fetal position)
Avrohom tries to 'Shecht' him, raise him up from man to essence, and Hashem interferes through a Malach,
A real change in form takes place at this point rather than Hashem being called 'Elokim' which (in this story) alludes to His highest essence (Helem Haatzmi) above all he suddenly is Havaya, Godliness in a revealed way.
Hashem reveals to Avrohom that now that Yitzchok achieved Mesiras Nefesh he must live, bring Godliness down.
The ram that replaces Yitzchok is as if Yitzchok himself were sacrificed.
Wednesday 9 Teves 5775/ December 31 2014.
The end of the Akaida,
Avrohom names the place, calling out the idea of God being seen and feared. (Chesed with Gevurah shines as opposed to Chessed alone).
The Angel calls again and blesses, what is in this blessing 1) the Jews are forever, 2) the power to do T'shuva and more.
They return to the Donkey, and bring along what the Akaida gave them into their regular life.
This class introduces this prayer which is based (to a great degree) on the Rosh Hashana Musaf Davening.
We are following up a prayer and meditation of Mesiras Nefesh (the Akaida) with a series of requests from trhe Creator
we go through our past present and future:
1) the Avos, 2) Galus in Egypt, 3) the Exodus, 4) subsequent Galus and 5) Moshiach
we also explore other things culminating on the Beis HaMikdash being a house of prayer for all mankind.
The introductory part of the prayer is explored in depth here, (until the Pesukim).
The basic point is that we ask for judgement, because we need vessels to receive any divine blessings, but we want them to be sweetened, as Avrohom squeezed himself, so should Godliness squeeze goodness for us.
The first of the Pesukim:
1) The Avos, saw and valued the face of God.
The idea of the nose as positive (and potentially negative.
2) The Golus Mitzrayim, the very sane face the Avos saw was to the children and mask and concealment,
but even in Golus, there is (some) revelation, which in the end brings about our redemption.
Continuing the Pesukim:
3) The redemption from Egypt, by Godly light (which is lower than 'the face') being revealed.
"to the eyes of the 'Goyim'".
4) The second Geula (which we are associating with Bayis Shaini, (although it really doesn't match):
three things are redeemed: A. The souls that were exiled, B. The Gilgulim, which are bi-products of the Golus, C. converts, once Moshiach come all these are discontinued (even as possibilities).
Wednesday 29 Shvat 5775/ February 18 2015.
Continuing the Pesukim:
5) Surviving Galus, we ask for undeserved kindness, for which we make a vessel.
He plants seeds (of our Mesiras Nefesh) during galus which will sprout later.
In Galus we survive 'on His face'.
The Tza'ar itself is the source of the salvation.
He suffers with us in Golus, when Moshiach comes there will be light to redeem us and higher than light as well.
Wednesday 6 Adar 5775/ February 25 2015.
6) The thirteen attributes of Mercy, measure and Ain Sof.
7) Moshiach, the idea that the 'face' is revealed in light as well.
Wednesday 13 Adar 5775/ March 4 2015.
This prayer actually is found in the oldest Sidurim we have.
It is from the תנא דבי' אלי'.
The prayer has various ideas: 1) To say שמע before coming to Shul in times of crises, 2) submission to Hashem and asking for unconditional gifts, 3) Sacrifice to Him. 4) To say שמע in time we must on occasion say it before Davening.
In this class we explored the reasons for the prayer and we read all of it inside.
It is a prayer that flanks קריאת שמע and encourages worshiping Him.
Wednesday 20 Adar 5775/ March 11 2015.
In this class we began a series of comparative Nusachs.
Since this prayer is so old, and (at the same time) based on a Midrash, it combines great uniformity with very significant (large and small) variances.
We explore the first four lines and will continue doing so until we complete this IYH.
1) Should the first two lines be said altogether.
2) בסתר, בספר ובגלוי, בסתר כבגלוי. These small differences matter allot.
3) the oldest version demands complete Yirah, this was changed and why.
4) Emes, emes in one's heart.
5) The machzor Vitri adds a second level to why Hashem will help us beyond His great mercies.
מה אנו... seven 'מה',
The מה ישענו that some say
The רמב"ם adds מה מעשינו.
We explore the end of רבון העולמים and we read אבל.
The suggestion is that the RaMbaM has the philosophical approach where 1) Yiddishkeit is only for man and 2) We don't have a special Soul.
The Alter Rebbe (the מקובלים) see that 1) we have a special נשמה, and 2) what we do as affecting on high as well and accordingly man of the difference of נוסח can be explained.
This Part of the prayer has three parts: 1) לפיכך אנחנו חייבים it speaks to out obligations to out creator in three aspects 1) to Him, 2) to His world, 3) to His Name, and revealing it
2) אשרינו מה טוב חלקינו celebrating our gifts from Him: , גורל, ירושה, חלק
3) אשרינו that we can do something for Him!
We explore just a few lines and analyze the different versions.
We are praising God on a level of Truth not on a level that relates to us.
Wednesday 24 Iyar 5775/ May 13 2015.
The second half of the first אתה הוא.
here to reveal his name (light) in the world.
He makes a Kidush Hashem and we also do.
The discussion involves if His name rests on the world or also Yidden,
and which comes first the world or the Jew
and what it all means: Chakira, Kabalah and Chassidus.
Wednesday 2 Sivan 5775/ May 20 2015.
This second אתה הוא is clearly lower than the first one.
It discusses Hashem in the world rather than He is by Himself.
It discusses the need to have Yidden lifted from the Galus.
The RaMbaM completely deletes this part of the Prayer and we attempted to explain why.
We explore the various anomalies in this prayer based on the assumption that the darker Galus gets the more involved the prayer for the exit from it becomes.
Wednesday 9 Sivan 5775/ May 27 2015.
This class is based entirely on the Arizal, who explains that the recitation of קריאת שמע sets up the יחודים of זו"נ achieved each morning and night.
Though שמע is מן התורה and שמונה עשרה is מדרבנן, never the less, יחוד או"א דק"ש sets up the יחוד זו"נ דשמונה עשרה.
There are four קריאת שמע two connected to מעריב and two connected to שחרית.
The morning is about subtlety and nuance and the night about faith and simple strength.
This class is an attempt a strictly Kabbalistic idea in Chassidic language.
Wednesday 16 Sivan 5775/ June 3 2015.
This class starts over from the beginning and explores the first two paragraphs of this prayer based on 1) The רמ"ק, and 2) סדר היום, and the 3) של"ה, and 4) חסידות.
This class is based on the mystical idea of אדם and that behind the order and balance of אדם lies ירא שמים בסתר etc.
We ask for רחמים רבים rather than His צדקה.
What is מה, אין, תהו, הבל are further ideas explored as we learn these paragraphs of Davening.
Wednesday 23 Sivan 5775/ June 10 2015.
Our ancestors each had the אדם quality, each holding the מדה opposite his nature, in addition to his nature.
From them we inherit the obligation to engage in יחודים- bringing down (or up) the ten Sefiros.
However we have something in addition which we did not inherit but that we have from Sinai and that is our אשרינו on two levels:
1) To live like a Jew doing actions of מצות on three levels: limited (חלקינו) unlimited (גרלינו) and the strength of the value of the גוף itself (ירושתינו) without doing anything.
2) The idea of מסירת נפש על קידוש השם as represented by the recitation of שמע.