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Shiurim on Shavuos
Shiurim on Shavuos
By Rabbi Moshe Weinberger
Aish Kodesh Institute - Woodmere, NY
Item # TS 018 - 4 audio cassettes
(Part of the Gevuros Yitzchok Hashkafah Series)
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - July 8, 2002
Rav Moshe Weinberger is an eloquent, educated, and inspiring speaker who has given numerous lectures on a wide variety of subjects ranging from Halacha (religious law) to Chessed (acts of kindness). The Shiurim on Shavuos collection of recorded lectures put out by the Aish Kodesh Institute, consists of four of Rav Weinberger's shiurim devoted to the holiday of Shavuos and to the study of the giving, and receiving, of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The four shiurim in this collection are entitled, The Emergence of Light - Ruth (Tape HA 95), With Reb Zushya (Tape HA 151), Big Little Steps (Tape HA 212), and Echo-less (Tape HA 297). This collection comes housed in a sturdy collector's case that is the size of a small hardcovered book. Each tape can also be purchased individually from the Aish Kodesh Institute.
These classes are taught in English, intersperse with passages that are read in Hebrew. In each case, each passage is translated into English, often with detail commentaries. Although 'beginners' can gain a deeper understanding about yiddishkeit (Judaism) and spirituality from these tapes, they are more suited for more advanced learners. This is because these four classes assume that the learner already has a basic understanding about the events and meanings surrounding Shavuos. Consequently, the classes are more about the spiritual, and esoteric side of Shavuos, rather than the ins and outs of the chag (holiday).
All four of these shiurim hold as central theme, the "Conflict between the light of Torah and the darkness of life." In other words, Rav Weinberger illustrates the various obstacles that can exist between man and G-d, and why it is necessary, even vital, for you to have to struggle to receive and retain the Torah in your life. This is necessary not only for your own good and the good of the world as a whole, but by doing so you will help bring the Moshiach (Messiah). To illustrate this point, Rav Weinberger points out the G-dliness of Ruth and the fact that she stands as a role model of those whose actions serve to bring Moshiach.
Other topics discussed in this series include:
The above list of topics covered just scratches the surface of all the information contained in this series. For example, I found that (for me) one of the most interesting aspects of these lectures, was Rav Weinberger's discussion about HaShem's relationship with the Jewish people. In the Tanach, HaShem refers to the Jewish people as being his intimate friend - but what does this mean? In brief, Rav Weinberger explains our relationship with HaShem as being akin to that between a husband and wife. The world is HaShem's house, and the Jewish people (as a whole) are the wife, and we are charged with taking care of it for him. Our energy and love strengthens the world, and by extension, HaShem's love and support enables use to bear any obstacles that are placed in our way, obstacles that might be keeping us from a deeper and more intimate relationship with HaShem, on both a physical and spiritual level.
- An explanation of why Shavuos is sometimes described as celebrating the Giving of the Torah, and at other times as the Receiving of the Torah.
- The connection between the Book of Ruth and Shavuos. In the process he shows that this connections serves to illustrate that the only way a person can truly receive the Torah is through suffering and poverty. However, Rav Weinberger is quick to point out that the terms suffering and poverty need not be taken literally. Rather the suffering and the poverty is a lack of G-dliness in your life. By turning from the physical to the spiritual side of life, you receive the Torah.
- A detailed overview of why the Book of Ruth was written and included in the Tanakh.
- Steps you can take to help bring the Moshiach.
- The rules governing the interaction of the Jewish people with other nations, and why these rules exist.
- How to free yourself from physical desires in order to obtain a high level of spiritually, and the pain that this can cause.
- The importance of paying attention to every detail associated with the receiving of the Torah, as even the most obscure detail can hold a wealth of information.
- Why there was no echo when HaShem spoke at Mount Sinai, and what this has meant for the world throughout time.
- The essential fact that life has a beginning, a purpose, and an end - and that the purpose of life is much more than our physical existence.
- The need to remain true to the Torah with every thought and action that you do. 'You need to strive for a yiddishkeit mind set' because you are always a Jew, even when you are alone, and you should always act as one.
- In short, Judaism should infuse every aspect of your being. This might not be easy, but it is through such an effort that your truly receive the Torah.
This is a wonderfully instructive series of shiurim that will benefit both men and women. Throughout, Rav Weinberger's discourses are clear and he provides substantial information to back up his assertions. His lectures are also laced with a variety of parables and stories that help to illustrate the points that he is making. In short, these shiurim are inspirational and informative, offering a wealth of insights that can be applied to your day-to-day life, and learning, both during Shavuos and throughout the year.
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- Inspired Parenting, by Rav Moshe Weinberger.
In this series of lectures, Rav Weinberger covers how to raise and educate your children in order to bring out their best qualities, and how to infuse them with more yiddishkeit. He offers advice on how to motivate and inspire your children, and points out that even the most difficult child has unlimited potential. He also touches on controversial issues, as what happens when someone cannot have children.
- Rosh Hashanah: Setting Attainable Goals, by Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz.
This lecture covers a range of topics, including a discussion on the Jewish calender and how it differs from other calenders. Rabbi Berkowitz also examines the spiritual force that underlies holy days, what it is that Rosh Hashanah commemorates, and how, each year, we are given a new opportunity to learn, grow, and to imbue our lives with meaning.
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