Kabbalah and Hassidut for Litvaks – online course for rabbis and rabbinical students




Rabbi Herzl Hefter

Modern Orthodoxy is facing unprecedented challenges today in terms of its commitment to tradition on the one hand and its authentic openness to modernity on the other. With growing discussions in our ranks about gender, sexual identity, and the question of spiritual passion versus rote observance, we find ourselves at a crucial crossroads.  I believe that we need to marshal resources of our tradition which until now have remained largely untapped.  Kabbalah and Hassidut are rooted in Hazal; there we will find a refreshing and authentically traditional path of grappling with the thorniest issues which face us today.

This series will outline the basic assumptions of Kabbalah and Hassidut so that they make that path comprehensible to those who are unfamiliar with its teachings and way of thought.  We will translate the ideas into modern terminology in order to make it meaningful for us today.  We will delve into the primary and  foundational texts of the Zohar, the Ari z”l and the great Hassidic masters including the Ba’al Shem Tov, the Maggid of Mezritch, the Mei Hashiloach, Sfat Emet and R. Zadok Hakohen of Lublin.

8 one hour sessions starting January 5, 2015,  12:30 PM EST

These are the topics we will discuss:

  • A biography of God: Tanakh, Rambam, Medieval Kabbalah, Hassidut
  • Symbolic language as opposed to metaphor – Shaarei Orah vs. Rambam
  • Tzelem Elokim
  • The Name of God and Sefirot
  • The Torah – What is it talking about?
  • Reality : yesh and ayin; Being and Non-Being
  • God in the heart and the nature of divine revelation
  • Tzimtzum: Relationships
  • The “Meaning of Life”
  • Mysticism of Letters: Communication, human and Divine
  • Dvekut

This series is being offered at no charge as a service to the rabbinic community because we believe that this Torah is vital for our personal and communal lives today.

The sessions were recorded. If you missed the webinar, please contact us and we will email the link to you.