Love is one of the central qualities taught by our tradition. We are commanded in the Torah to love God and to love our fellow human being. We are told over and over again that we are held in profound divine love. Our rabbinic tradition teaches that love was the very purpose for which the world was created. In traditional prayer practice, we are reminded of our belovedness and we commit to love at least three times a day.
Yet too often we can walk around the world feeling alienated from this love. We do not fully recognize that we are held in profound and abiding love at every moment. We are disconnected from our genuine love for others, God, the world and ourselves. We get lost in other states of heart and mind whether powerful emotions such as hatred, resentment or anger or milder expression of disconnection such as apathy, annoyance, or judgment that are the opposite of our loving nature.
In this course, through study and practice, we will explore teachings from the Jewish tradition about the nature of love: how the tradition understands love and our relationship to it, what it means to be commanded to love, how we recognize our own belovedness, how we cultivate love for ourselves and others, the common barriers to love and how to work with them and other related topics. Each week we will combine an exploration of texts and a specific love practice to deepen our understanding and embodiment of love in our lives.
Rav James directs the vision of Or HaLev & is a devotee of mindfulness practice. Ordained by Rav Daniel Landes, with a doctorate in Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago, Rav James lectures internationally on Jewish Spiritual practices. He also teaches at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Haifa University & Yeshivat Hadar. He strives to integrate his study with his practice, & to help teach & live Judaism as a spiritual discipline.