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The Yetzer Hara’s Calls
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Cultures create and define “ambience” to finesse the ta’avah they wish to express.  Reb Elazar Dordaya’s teshuvah came only when the ambience of the transgression was destroyed.   Definition of kedusha and its contrast with ambience.  Discussion of ‘acquiring Olom HaBa in one moment.’ The yetzer hara can absurdly seduce a person to act as he pleases, with thepromise that when he eventually repents, all the sins will be […]
Using Torah as a Medication or Segulah
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Shiur #9 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Using scientific versus non-scientific natural medicines. Using divrei Torah as a means to attaining refuah. Discussion of darkei ha-emori. Chillul Shabbos and other transgressions violated by using (effective) non-scientific segulahs, in order to attain refuah. Brief discussion of some of the halachos of using kamayos. Citations: Teshuvos Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim 5th chelek, siman 43, found in the source packet on page 1, and Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchim (3rd chelek, 37th chapter), found in the source packet on page 1, and Mishnah Shabbos 67a, found in the source packet on pages 1-2 , and Teshuvos Tsits Eliezer (4th chelek, siman 4, 17), found in the source packet on pages 2-3, and Aruch HaShulchan (Orach Chaim, siman 301, #75-80), found in the source packet on pages 3-5.
All Men are Created Equal? Creating Chiddushim and Learning Kabbalah
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The importance of learning lots of Torah data in one’s childhood, before binah develops.  Caveats on the imperative to plumb the depths of mitzvos to understand their intent.  Danger of learning kabbalah when not properly prepared to do so. The strategy of the yetzer hara to seek out situations which have a spectrum of both good and bad potential, and to co-opt them […]
Religion Leading To No Religion
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Insights into how the Yetzer HaRa tries to use religious values to doom a person.  Discussions of self-doubt and the yetzer hara, forgiveness and yiras shomayim. In transgressions involving physical pleasure, one’s whole ability to discern and choose properly is slowly corrupted – that is “aveirah goreres aveirah.” Insight into the nature of the pain of judgment in Olam Haba. Citations: This shiur references the Biur […]
Insight into Tranquility
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Why was Torah given in the mid bar, in an atmosphere of brinksmanship, and with feelings of being harassed, and not in a calm environment?  A new definition of repose and tranquility.  Discussion of how “machovaso bi-olamo” is the path to true tranquility.  Misguided psychological definitions of tranquility can condemn one to never achieve it.  Two interpretations of “Kach he […]
When Evil is Camouflaged as Good
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Discussion of the meaning of making a siyum.  Each achievement is a launching pad for new striving in controlling the yetzer hara, and in critical self-review and improvement.  Strategies of the yetzer hara to use good for evil and the elevated dangers involved. Vilna Gaon’s understanding of the episode of Naomi trying to convince Rus to return to Mo’av.  The conflicting and hard-to-identify […]
The Yetzer Hara, Yosef HaTzaddik, and Us
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Rashi’s explanation of Potiphar’s wife’s advances towards Yosef.  The ordeal of Yosef.   The limitless drive for power and the limited drive for satiation.The nature of the pursuit of money.  The yetzer hara’s manipulation even of middos that have positive and necessary qualities.  Mitzvah performance concretizes spirituality, but requires physicality which entails risk. Citations: Aside from the commentaries on Mishlei, this shiur […]
Are the External Trappings of Yiddishkeit Helpful?
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Unlimited Torah contrasted with mitzvos.   The mother’srole: enabling aspirations. The real world is in Heaven where Hashem and His Torah and Chochmah are most easily discerned.   Mitzvos anchor a person to Hashem.  Discussion of the trappings of Judaism and the innards of a Jew.  The intended impact upon seeing a mezuzah.  The kedushah of Tefillin and the consequences of wearing them. Citations: Aside from the […]
Normalcy and Family Sacrifices for Torah
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When a person is dedicated to learning Torah constantly,every normal thing that needs his time is by definition an interruption.Discussion of what comprises “l’sheym shomayim?” Discussion of incremental growth.  Temporal and fleeting nature of feelings and the danger associated with acting based up on them.  Importance of maintaining the communal vision of the ideal of full time Torah learning. […]
Erasing Stains from the Souls of the Departed
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A child’s tzedakah which is the result of the parent’s successful chinuch and contrasted with strangers dedicating the reward of their tzedakah towards any deceased person. Various interpretations of the two “tzedakah tatzil” verses. Redeeming a deceased person from having to stand in judgment for sins, or for a lack of positive mitzvos, by giving […]