What is this course?
The teachings of R' Kalonymous Kalman Shapira (1889-1943) have brought much needed soul nourishment to Jews around the world for decades, and are currently becoming increasingly popular. As we encounter heightened uncertainty and insecurity, his voice resonates ever more deeply with us.
R' Shapira is often known as the Piaseczna Rebbe, and also the Aish Kodesh (Holy Fire), after the title of his seminal work of Torah lessons he gave over while interned in the Warsaw Ghetto between the years 1939-1942. The Rebbe buried the work beneath the ghetto, and after the war it was discovered and brought to light.
The Rebbe was a passionate educator and spiritual innovator. The scion of prominent Chasidic lineages in Poland, the Piaseczna’s teachings are devoted to a profoundly holistic approach to the spiritual life and a Jew’s avodat Hashem, or service of the Divine.
In the work Aish Kodesh, the Piaseczna addresses the situation of his fellow Jews with humility, authenticity and faith. Unafraid to encounter human suffering in all of its rawness, the Rebbe offers profound teachings and meditations on spiritually moving through times of profound despair and uncertainty. His teachings hold enduring relevance for us today.
In this six-session course, we will explore a number of the teachings found in Aish Kodesh. These will include his teaching on Chayei Sarah from 1939, Ki Teitzei from September 1940, the teaching for Shabbat Chazon in August 1942 and others.
Each session will be anchored in the Aish Kodesh’s teaching. We may occasionally bring additional sources to enhance our practice and study. Each session will include time for meditative practice and reflection.
All texts will be provided with clear translations, and no prior knowledge or experience with the subject matter is necessary.
This course is welcoming of advanced students and novices alike.
How does it work?
The course consists of six interactive online sessions, of approximately 1.25 hours each.
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 two essential components:
1) A close and interactive text-based study of the Aish Kodesh's teachings that address that week’s theme.
2) A guided meditative practice focusing on the particular theme studied that week, followed by sharing.
Prior to each class, each participant will receive a printable source sheet in the original Hebrew with English translation.
After each class, the YouTube audio/video recording will be sent to all participants.
There is an open channel to the teacher for every participant, to process the journey through the teachings and practices of each class.
A WhatsApp discussion group will be established, enabling participants to share thoughts and experiences, ask questions and receive support in their ongoing practice.
The course begins on Tuesdays beginning January 26, 2021 and continues through March 2, 2021.
Live sessions will be held over Zoom on Tuesdays at 9am Pacific / 12pm Eastern / 5pm UK / 7pm Israel time.
Sessions can be joined live and/or listened to or watched at your convenience.
Audio and video recordings will be shared each week for participants to use at their own convenience.
"Engaging with the Torah of Rabbi Tuchman is an absolute gift. She brings insight and profound perspective to our texts and traditions -- and her teaching style is warm and inclusive and encouraging. If there's an opportunity to learn with or from Rabbi Tuchman -- take it."
- Ariele Mortkowitz, Founding Director, SVIVAH
"Rabbi Lauren Tuchman is the rare soul who combines fierce determination with deep spirituality. She mixes integrity and dignity with a sense of fun and joy. Rabbi Tuchman wears God’s grace with panache."
- Dr. Burton L. Visotzky, Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
"Rabbi Tuchman is the whole package. She is smart and learned, kind and justice-oriented, and is always conscientious of the fullness of the people she interacts with. Her teachings are relevant and grounded, and always meet the moment and the participants, bringing them closer to the sources that she has profoundly mastered and deeply loves. She is a model of bringing our ancient texts into our current context, and teaches with an honesty and vulnerability that we as her students can only strive to emulate."
- Rabbi Sarah Krinsky
"Rabbi Lauren Tuchman's teaching is of the highest caliber. She is organized, speaks clearly, and is well sourced. She encourages her students to cultivate creative thinking and does not shy away from respectful "push back." Actually she welcomes this and encourages her students to think for themselves. Her passion to share her Torah combined with her sense of this being her inner calling sets her apart as distinguishable and unique possessing a true magnetic personality. However, what I have come to appreciate and value mostly about this rare gem educator is her consistent and unapologetic emphasis of always reminding us that Torah texts are sacred in our Jewish tradition and are one way or another a manifestation of the Divine's wisdom, will and presence."
- Yiscah Smith, Faculty Member, AJS and Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies