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Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessing, is one of the most ancient formulas of blessing and protection that is found in our tradition. Layers and layers of meaning and use have accumulated through the ages, connecting it to warding off evil, priestly secrets, the relationships between parents and children, and different unifications of the Divine name.
We will explore the many dimensions of this prayer, and also the Angels’ (four directions) prayer, Psalm 91 - the psalm against evil spirits, and more. This journey will take us through archaeology, Tanach (Hebrew Bible), Talmud, Zohar and other mystical sources, through singing and chanting and other spiritual practices.
THE INNER PATH
Rabbi Ami Silver
Prayer (Tefillah) is the core spiritual practice of the Jewish tradition.
It is Jewish meditation par excellence. However, many people experience it as dry recitation of prayers, whose words and forms feel foreign and hard to connect to.
This course offers an entryway into Tefillah as it is meant to be - an embodied meditative practice of relating to the Divine.
Drawing from the full range of Biblical, Rabbinic, Kabbalistic and Chassidic sources, this course provides an in-depth exploration of Kavanah - the states of mind, heart and body that form the basis for Tefillah - and offers practical guidance for engaging in Tefillah as a meditative practice.
From the Bible through the Talmud, Midrash, Zohar and other mystical texts, the amazing smell of the ketoret (incense) and its symbolic and mythical powers have never ceased to fascinate our ancestors.
Our ancestors have already explored and understood this ancient, earth-based ritual on every level of our being: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.
In addition, the ketoret was connected to battling plagues since Biblical times, which adds a timely dimension.
In each session, we will explore a specific aspect of the ketoret, which we will seek to experience on each of the four levels mentioned above.
What is Jewish Meditation, and how to learn to practice it in an authentic way?
In this course we will encounter Jewish meditation intellectually and experientially, with foundational practices based on textual sources from the Jewish tradition.
The course weaves together text study and practice, to empower participants to integrate the practices into their daily lives, incorporating our whole selves – intellectual, emotional, embodied, ethical and spiritual.
Each class will include reading and discussion of a key text, followed by meditation instructions based on the text, meditation practice, and time for questions and sharing at the end.
The Shemoneh Esrei or Amidah is the central Jewish prayer, recited three times daily and even more on Shabbat and holidays. This course unpacks the language and structure of this prayer to uncover its contemplative, experiential core. The Shemoneh Esrei was composed by Sages and Prophets to provide a pathway to the Divine that could be accessed throughout the generations. It is a visionary journey and devotional practice of turning to God in a personal and intimate way.
Together we will excavate the text of the Shemoneh Esrei to encounter its multiple layers of meaning - the choice of words, hidden Biblical references and underpinnings of this prayer, as well as its Kabbalistic interpretations. These layers of understanding offer access points for engaging with the Shemoneh Esrei as a dynamic, experiential practice.
Ana B'Khoach is an ancient mystical chant, used by many great Kabbalists, that encodes the mysterious 42-letter name of God.
In this online course, taught by Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan, we will explore the power of this chant like spiritual detectives, discovering a new layer of meaning in each class.
As we study and chant Ana B’Khoach together, we will encounter deep insights into the nature of reality and a wealth of mystical and kabbalistic practices, ranging from simple ones for everyday use, to advanced ones for those who are further on along the mystical path.
This is the second instalment in a course that empowers us to engage experientially with foundational contemplative practices from the Jewish tradition, from text to practice.
The meditations studied and practiced in this course focus on how the body is considered as a vessel (a keli) not only for a life of holiness (kedusha) but also for spiritual experiences.
The aim of learning various Jewish Meditation practices involving the body is threefold: first, to invite us to expand our understanding of what Jewish spirituality and meditation is; second, to relate to our bodies not as separate but as an integral part of our spiritual lives; and third, to be able to integrate these practices into our daily lives.