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Never Satisfied
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Distinctions between desires for wealth and honor, versus those for the fulfillment of bodily appetites. Putting self-improvement on the agenda.   Discussion of serving Hashem with both the yetzer hatov and yetzer hara. Citations: In addition to the commentaries on Mishlei, this shiur also references Aruch LaNer, Makkos 24a, Gemara Shabbos 114a, and Shulchan Aruch Choshen […]
Overview of the End of Mishlei Chapter 6
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Review of the end of Mishlei chapter 6.  Discussion of the multiple intentions and mindsets of people pursuing their lust.  Camouflaging ta’avah through polish and sophistication.  Historical obscuration of the animal nature of lust, contrasted with contemporary culture’s movement in the opposite direction, such that the gross is now the ambience. CITATIONS: This shiur references […]
Do Tsitsis Protect Us?
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Mitzvas tsitsis demands that we use our imagination. Mitzvah structure is always meant to carry the heart along, not to substitute for it.  Uniquely Jewish clothing is supposed to reflect our connection to Hashem, but it can deteriorate into a social matter.  Observing the structure of a mitzvah without any emotional investment can itself be […]
Finite Mitzvos, Infinite Torah
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Some comments about learning Kabbalah in general, and how it relates to nigleh.  The world as a dwelling place for Shechinah, and the effects of people’s sins.  Shechinah identified as the sefirah of Malchus.  A discussion of Tikkun Olam.   Individuality and creativity within mitzvah-observance and Torah learning.  The unbounded nature of Torah. Citations: This shiur […]
The Purview of a Dayan
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Discussion of two types of arvus – that of Torah teachers, in the abstract, and that of Dayanim, in the sphere of the practical and immediately applicable. Dayanim must be expert not just in Torah, but in world matters too, in order to apply the Torah correctly.   A Dayan must be savvy. Aside from the […]
The Downfall of the Lazy Learner
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There are disastrous consequences of thinking that one is a “player” in explaining and ruling in Torah, if one is not qualified. Explains the insidiousness of thinking that modern perceptions and values are inherently better than classical Jewish ones.   The root of laziness in avodas Hashem is the desire to be one’s own master and […]
Inertia, Yetzer and Freedom
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The “external” yetzer hara aims to both entice us to violate transgressions and prevent us from fulfilling positive mitzvos. The tendency of mankind to inertia is the work of the most ingrained yetzer hara possible. The irony that the self-perception of one pursuing sensual gratification is of freedom, while in reality he is totally enslaved […]
The Role of Torah in the Struggle to Avoid Arayos
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Mishlei 5:19-20 The drive for forbidden conjugal relationships is rooted in fantasy and delusion. Clarity of perception is critical to reducing the pull of ta’avah. A person who observes the laws of yichud and who takes careful precautions to avoid ordeals in arayos appears to the outsider as very much pre-occupied in this area, but […]
Just a Minor Sin?
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You cannot experiment with sinning. Being tainted with “some sin” is actually an undermining of the whole relationship’s purity. A person’s tremendous potential is often only seen at moments of great distress and trial. Why aren’t these characteristics present and felt every day? Because our sins have resulted in our greatness being shackled. In moments […]