Why We (Jews) Do What We Do
Rabbi Tom will be teaching a
three-part series beginning on
Tuesday, January 17 at 7:00
pm and continuing on the two
following Tuesday evenings
(the 24th and 31st). Picking up
where the recent well-attended Tuesday-night series, Devekut,
ended, the course will explore responses to questions,
big and small, about why and how we engage in prayer
and other Jewish practices the way we do at BAJC.
will consider various perspectives on prayer, Torah
study, and community service. While Jewish religious
practices have evolved, so too have the reasons
behind those practices. Many Jews are satisfied to
engage in them simply "because God said so," but
others have a more nuanced understanding that
informs and animates their spiritual lives.
Understanding why we do the things we do will help us
build on the dynamic synergy within our congregation.
The class is free for BAJC members. The cost for non-members
is $24 for the series or $10 per class.
Contact Rabbi Heyn (email@example.com) to RSVP by Jan 13th so that you
can receive the preliminary study materials before the
What is Devekut?
A four-part series at BAJC on Tuesday nights (11/15, 22, 29 and 12/6) from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Taught by Rabbi Tom Heyn
Gershom Scholem, the great 20th-century scholar of Jewish mysticism, identifies the Jewish word devekut (attachment, devoutness) as a foundational element of Hasidism and as the highest ideal in the history and practice of Kabbalah. Since the thirteenth century, he explains, the word has been used by the mystics in the sense of “close and most intimate communion with God.” But whereas in the Kabbalah, devekut was regarded as “the last grade of ascent to God,” in Hasidism, it is “no longer the last rung in the ladder of ascent...but the first. Everything begins with man's decision to cleave to God. Devekut is a starting point and not the end.”
Explore what the concept, practice and experience of devekut is all about. This four-part series, based on research Rabbi Heyn conducted for his rabbinical thesis, will provide an historical overview and the study of biblical, rabbinic and mystical texts. It will also include some discussion and some actual practice. The course outline is as follows:
- Nov 15: Introduction: Is devekut the goal or the beginning of Jewish spiritual practice?
- Nov 22: Devekut in Jewish mystical literature, from the Torah to the present.
- Nov 29: The experience of devekut. Are there points of reference and corollaries within and outside of our tradition?
- Dec 06: The practice of devekut and its role in personal and spiritual transformation.