Musar - Ethics of the Sages | Torah Discussions by The Sages #2 | Reishit Chokhma | Gate of Love - Vital Transformation

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Musar – Ethics of the Sages | Torah Discussions by The Sages #2 | Reishit Chokhma | Gate of Love

November 18, 2021

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Episode Description:

To follow along with the text of this study, visit: https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/363585?lang=bi.

Eliyahu takes us through ‘Sugiyot’ (discussions) on the Torah from Rabbi Eliyahu de Vidas in ‘Resheit Chochmah’ to help us understand the importance of our consciousness when we enter the study of Torah.

In this enlightening session, Rabbi Eliyahu Jian delves into the profound teachings of the Reishit Chokhma, focusing on the “Gate of Love.” This discussion is not about mundane affections but explores the deeper, spiritual dimensions of love, particularly how it connects us to the Divine and elevates the Shekhina (Divine Presence).

Rabbi Jian begins by exploring the concept of love from a Kabbalistic perspective, emphasizing the necessity of righteous actions and Torah study as means to attract the Shekhina. He explains that the Shekhina seeks out righteousness in individuals, desiring to dwell upon those who embody tikkun (rectification) and transform their habits for the better. The essence of attracting the Shekhina lies not just in being a kind person but in engaging deeply with Torah study and living out its teachings.

The session underscores the importance of studying Torah with the correct intention. Rabbi Jian highlights that merely acquiring knowledge or performing mitzvot (commandments) for self-gain does not elevate the Shekhina. Instead, it is the selfless dedication to study, teach, and live by the Torah for the sake of connecting the Shekhina with the Divine that truly matters. This selfless approach is what made King David special; his constant focus was on reuniting the Shekhina with the Divine, embodying joy and certainty in his faith.

A critical point Rabbi Jian makes is the distinction between studying for personal gain and studying to elevate the Shekhina. He cautions against the selfish approach to spiritual practices, which ultimately distances the Shekhina from the Divine. True spiritual practice should be joyful and selfless, aiming to bring the Shekhina closer to the Divine.

Rabbi Jian also touches on the importance of prayer and how it should be approached not as a means to request personal gains but as an opportunity to express joy and gratitude for the ability to connect with the Divine and assist in the elevation of the Shekhina. He suggests that true happiness in spiritual practice comes from this selfless approach, which in turn brings about the true fulfillment of one’s needs.

In summary, Rabbi Eliyahu Jian’s discussion offers a transformative perspective on the concept of love in Jewish spirituality. It calls for a shift in focus from self-centered practices to selfless devotion to Torah study, prayer, and righteous living, all aimed at elevating the Shekhina. This approach not only brings us closer to the Divine but also infuses our lives with genuine joy and fulfillment, embodying the true essence of love as taught in the Reishit Chokhma.

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