All Content © 2013 Nachman Fahrner
4. Evil: A Talmudic, Midrashic and Kabbalistic Perspective
“I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I am the L-rd that does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7) Join Rabbi Gedaliah Fleer for this in-depth analysis pertaining to the creation, nature and function of evil. Of this five part lecture series, one part will be devoted to the Holocaust. (4 or 5 part series)

5. The Five Senses: A Kabbalistic and Chassidic Perspective "From my flesh I perceive G-d" (Job 19:26). One of the meanings of the Hebrew word for a human being, Adam means "in the likeness". A person is a microcosm of creation. In the words of the Talmud (Berachot 30a) "As the soul fills the body, so G-d fills the universe". By exploring our senses and how they are animated by our soul, we gain insights into the workings of creation and our relationship with the Creator. (5 part series)

6. Food and Jewish Spirituality Food keeps body and soul together and mediates the relationship between the two. Why is the first sin about food? How does food fit in with Jewish observance of Shabbat and the holidays? From the time of Adam to Noah people did not eat meat. From the time of Noah onward, the eating of meat was permitted. (What is the place of vegetarianism today?) What are the Kabbalistic insights about the laws of milk and meat? Are these laws outside of our understanding? At the time of the giving of the Torah, people ate and drank. What is the relationship of food to revelation? Why are Chassidic teachings of Torah given around a food table? (4-5 part series or one-time lecture 2 ½ hours min)

7. The Four Who Entered the Mystical Orchard
One of the most perplexing mystical narratives related in the Talmud (T.B. Chagigah 14) concerns four sages who "entered the Pardes (orchard)". These sages were: Ben Azzai, who died; Ben Zoma, who went mad; Elisha ben Abuya, who became a heretic; and Rabbi Akiva, who "entered in peace and left in peace". What were these great sages attempting to accomplish? Why were three of them affected so drastically? How do we understand the "peace" of Rabbi Akiva? What exactly is this mystical "orchard" they so desired to enter? And finally, why did the Rabbis of the Talmud consider this story so important to record? What did they see in this tale that might benefit any spiritual seeker? Join us as Rabbi Fleer, using Talmudic and Kabbalistic sources and his own original insights, attempts to unravel what is probably the most intriguing of all Talmudic mystical legends. (Individual lecture – 2 ½ hours min)
Lecture topics 4-7
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