Introduction to Talmud Eser HaSefirot by Michael Jian | Class 3 - Vital Transformation

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Introduction to Talmud Eser HaSefirot by Michael Jian | Class 3

January 22, 2024

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Episode Description:

In this profound class, Michael Jian delves into the spiritual journey of faith (*emuna*) and transformation through the lens of Kabbalistic teachings, particularly focusing on the Talmud Eser HaSefirot. The class reveals how one’s level of faith directly influences their perception of life’s circumstances, highlighting the divine provision of a good life that is often obscured by our lack of faith.

Michael Jian explains that the Creator, being a force of perpetual giving, has already laid out a path for a good life for everyone. The disconnect between this divine provision and our experience arises from our insufficient faith in the Creator’s intentions. This lack of faith dims our ability to perceive life’s goodness, making it seem as though we’re deprived of it. Jian emphasizes that the Torah, with its inherent luminescence, can guide us back to the right path, transforming our lives into a reflection of the divine will, provided we engage with it with genuine faith.

Furthermore, Jian discusses how the Torah serves as a spiritual beacon for those who might not yet possess full faith. The Torah’s light, he notes, can lead them towards righteousness, sparing them from the hardships depicted in certain Mishnaic teachings about asceticism. This transformative power of the Torah hinges on one’s level of faith and their approach to Torah study.

The discussion progresses to the categorization of faith and how it manifests in the dedication of time to Torah study and *mitzvot* (commandments). Jian draws an analogy between lending money and the allocation of time for spiritual endeavors, suggesting that just as trust varies in monetary transactions, so does faith in spiritual practice. True faith, he argues, is analogous to entrusting one’s entire wealth to a friend without hesitation, reflecting an absolute trust in the Creator’s providence.

Moreover, Jian touches on the concept of learning Torah for its own sake (*lishma*) versus for ulterior motives. He clarifies that even learning not initially *lishma* can eventually lead to the highest form of Torah engagement, marked by learning and doing *mitzvot* solely to delight the Creator. This journey towards *lishma* is facilitated by the individual’s unwavering faith in the divine.

In a poignant moment, Jian challenges the notion of hopelessness among those who struggle with faith. He reassures that the path to strengthening faith and achieving spiritual enlightenment is always accessible through the consistent study and observance of Torah and *mitzvot*. He advises that before engaging in any spiritual act, one should set the intention to strengthen their faith, thus purifying their engagement with the divine teachings.

Concluding the class, Michael Jian emphasizes that the Torah is an antidote to the *yetzer hara* (evil inclination), promising transformation and enlightenment for those who engage with it earnestly. He insists on self-reflection regarding one’s approach to Torah study, encouraging a balance between the quantity and quality of study to truly harness its transformative power.

Through insightful interpretations and practical advice, Class 3 of Michael Jian’s series on Talmud Eser HaSefirot serves as a beacon of hope and guidance for individuals seeking to deepen their faith and live a life aligned with divine will, showcasing the profound impact of Kabbalistic wisdom on personal growth and spiritual fulfillment.

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