New feature: All registrants to AJS courses which have already taken place are now entitled to a free one-on-one meeting with the course teacher.
Teshuva is returning to our highest self and our Divine potential. It is a central idea and practice in Judaism, and our sages teach that when motivated by love (ahava), it is a deeply powerful, transformative process.
In this online course, taught by Rabbi Daniel Silverstein, we will study and discuss key texts from throughout Judaism on the process of Teshuva. We will assist each other as we integrate practices into our lives that help make our transformation loving and sustainable.
Our calendar invites us to focus on Teshuva with particular attention during the Fall, as we prepare for the key festivals of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. These High Holidays are crucial opportunities to engage with Teshuva, to choose who we want to be and how to live going forward.
Together, we will explore how to open ourselves to lasting changes in our lives that Teshuva M'Ahava can bring, from the wisdom of the Torah, ancient sages, Kabbalists, Chasidic Masters and contemporary teachers.
We will also learn and implement practices based on these teachings, and support one another in the daily work of deepening our vision, resolve and agency in every area of our lives.
All texts are provided with clear line-by-line translations, and no prior knowledge or experience with the subject matter is necessary.
How does it work?
Returning with Love: Teshuva M'Ahava e is a 6-class journey.
The classes are recorded (audio and video) and participants can watch or listen to the recordings of the classes at any time they like.
Each class includes:
1) Instruction and Practice with Rabbi Daniel. The sessions last for 1.25 hours and consist of two components:
a) A close reading of key texts about Teshuva M'Ahava, clearly translated and explained, together with relevant background information and discussion about how to apply the ideas in our daily lives;
b) A guided meditative practice based on the texts studied in that session.
The sessions are recorded (audio and video) and participants can listen to or watch at your convenience.
2) A printable handout of relevant texts from Biblical, Rabbinic, Kabbalistic and Chassidic sources, provided in full translation with introductory comments and guiding questions.
3) Clear and down-to-earth practice instructions for continuing to work with the themes of each session at home.
4) An open channel to the teacher, including one meeting during the course, to process the journey through the teachings and practices of each class.
The Six Sessions
1) Teshuva, Creation and Us.
What is the unique power of Teshuva that is motivated by love? How fundamental is Teshuva to our human condition? What can we learn from the stories of Eden that can impact our own process of transformation?
2) Reuben Returns.
How did Reuben upset his father, the patriarch Jacob, and then do Teshuva for his misdeed? Why is his process of Teshuva seen as a key example by our sages and Kabbalists? What can we learn about our own habits and practices from his journey?
3) Maimonides on Teshuva, Part I.
What does Teshuva look like in our behavior, and in our inner life? What is the profound relationship between Teshuva, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? How can these special days help us to connect with our ultimate potential and embrace lasting change?
4) Maimonides on Teshuva, Part II.
How free are we to create our own reality? How does Teshuva heal our character traits, our past misdeeds, our inner narrative and our identity? How does it connect us to our infinite potential and increase our capacity for loving relationship with ourselves, others and the Divine?
5) Rosh Hashana: Self-Conception.
Our New Year festival offers us a precious opportunity to step outside the usual flow of our lives, and to look with clarity at who and how we are. Who would we like to be? How would we like to live? What can we do this year to move closer to our goals with joy and love?
6) Yom Kippur: Death and Rebirth.
The Day of At-One-Ment is the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of Jewish time. Its 25 hours of are an opening to let go of whatever is holding us back. How can we forgive ourselves and others for our failures and hurts, and let a new self emerge, with a greater capacity for creativity, love and intimacy?
"These classes on Teshuva and the High Holidays were excellent. Daniel combined engaging and deep text study with both a real time practice session and good practice instructions for the weeks leading up to the chagim. Highly recommended to deepen your inner preparation for this crucial time of the year."
- Alan Bernstein
"How do we hold ourselves to account with love and compassion rather than self-beration? Thorough, thoughtful, tender and inspiring, 'Returning With Love' explored this question offering an alternative pathway to traditional pathways many of us may be used to. Rabbi Daniel's Torah is always resonant and relevant, each text carefully and lovingly presented, a gift to be unwrapped again and again. Particularly powerful was how R. Daniel wove these texts, the deep teachings of our ancestors with contemporary spiritual practice which allowed the textual wisdom to take deeper root in the psyche and heart and really helped me bring this Torah to life over Elul, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I whole-heartedly recommend these classes to anyone with a thirsty soul and eagerness for life-integrated deep Torah wisdom!"
- Sara Moon
"Returning with Love is grounded in ancient and modern Jewish texts about Teshuva. This material is made personally relevant by the questions posed, the guidance given, and the practices offered by Rabbi Daniel. His combination of deep Jewish learning
with psychological insight and emotional intelligence makes studying with him a joy and an inspiration. We usually think of Teshuva most around Yom Kippur. But, as Rabbi Daniel says, is there ever a time we don’t need help to return to the Source and to our best selves?"
- Susan Kaplow