I tease out a teaching that Harold Kushner does using Erikson to focus us on how to use Tefilliah (introspective prayer) to guide us forward onto a path with God (teshuvah) rather than get hung up on the wrong thoughts. Then Sharna sings a gorgeous "Adon Selichot."
Feeling it All as The Sheep and the Flock: Entering the High Holidays moment of individual judgment within a religion of collective judgment
The ten days of awe, of Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, characterize a special annual spirituality of healing relationships in one's life [making amends "between human beings"] culminating in a 25 hour introspective period [making amends "between the individual and God"] of intense prayer on Yom Kippur whereby we face God collectively as a flock and individually as a soul. What's the difference between this and all prayer? If we are a religion of collective judgment --whether as a People or as a Species-- as our Prophets stress, how do we relate to L'Eil Orech Din, the great prayer that says this is our annual moment of being singled out, each sheep from among the flock, for individual inspection by God? How does the ego trick us into avoiding the point of that individual moment of confession so that we cling to "I did the best I could, the rest is others' issues"? Through Teshuvah (getting back to the path ahead on which I walk with God), Tsedakah (acts of righteousness), and Tefillah (intense prayer/introspection) we re-energize ourselves, alter our consciousness, and "avert the severity of the divine decree that we are always unpredictably mortal." (L'eil Orech Din)
What is Biblical Prophecy Really? Could Moses have been hanging with aliens or hallucinating? What does Carl Sagan have to do with it?
In this extended class, I discuss the origins of Biblical prophesy, historically and contextually, and we ask ourselves about the very nature of Revelation. Was it dictation from the sky? Was it ancient aliens? Was it hallucination? Why were light beams shooting out of Moses' head? And I also mention the relevance of the Carl Sagan book (and best movie about religion of all time) "Contact." To quote Matthew Mcconaughey in that movie, "Hey hey hey... it was God!"
While Judaism may not have much doctrine, one statement that operates doctrinally is the Rabbinic statement that prophecy ended after the Biblical prophets. Since then, we have the Jewish legal system producing "halakhah" (laws) to guide us instead of revelation producing halakhah. Legalism replacing inspired revelation? How is that supposed to work? I discuss the notion of halakhah and the important principle of halakhic pluralism.
The entire month of Elul is a time of daily preparation for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. In this brief podcast, we look at how we can begin spiritual preparation for Yom Kippur, which begins with "Kol Nidrei," which means "All Vows" -- vows that are absolved by the Heavenly Court. What are these vows? Is it something ancient? What does this have to do with my spirituality? Actually, this ancient idea, which was a core of Torah and Temple spirituality, is EXTREMELY relevant to how all human beings operate spiritually, and our awareness of what we do already helps us focus on how to raise ourselves spiritually so we can arrive fully prepared for the Heavenly Court.