Resource Room

For Steve Kobrin's Jewish Meditation Class

“Meditation, Judaism, and Self-Mastery” Let’s reclaim our spiritual heritage!

01-10-2021

We will continue learning from Rabbi Kaplan about using the Amidah as a meditation, focusing on the idea of “our God.”

We will also discuss tips on improving your sitting and standing meditation.

Check out our new website!

http://resource-room-for-jewish-meditation.com

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Student questions

1- I did the meditation standing up for the 2nd week (tried it last week). Without knowing the suggested points to practice last week, I closed my eyes, was steady, & felt good & focused. Now you say it’s recommended to keep eyes open. I imagine that’s so we are in a ready state, but I tried to open my eyes & it was distracting to see the room. I’m probably too accustomed to keeping my eyes closed from years of previous meditation. What are your thoughts?

2- I realized that I may have made slight internal movements during meditation but they wouldn’t be noticeable to an outside observer. What are your thoughts on whether this is movement or not.

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The Amidah as meditation:”Our God”
Rabbi Kaplan – “Jewish Meditation” pp 111 – 113

God “belongs” to us
God of our fathers – Baal Shem Tov
God we have heard of
God we experience
A tradition of experiencing God

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How can we match the closeness to God experienced by the Patriarchs?

Rabbi Kaplan – “The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology, Vol I: The Infinite Light,” pp 108 – 109 (intro by Baruch Taub)

The awareness of God requires relentless study and questioning, and purposeful living.

The first human being to recognize the existence of God through his own observation was Abraham.

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How did Abraham recognize the existence of God through his own observation?

Rambam Mishneh Torah, Touger translation. Hilchot Avodat Kochavim, pp 14 – 30

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/682956/jewish/Mishneh-Torah.htm

Background, from Wiki
The Mishneh Torah (Hebrew: מִשְׁנֵה תּוֹרָה, “Repetition of the Torah”), subtitled Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka (ספר יד החזקה “Book of the Strong Hand”), is a codeof Jewish religious law (Halakha) authored by Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon). The Mishneh Torah was compiled between 1170 and 1180 CE (4930 and 4940 AM), while Maimonides was living in Egypt, and is regarded as Maimonides’ magnum opus. Accordingly, later sources simply refer to the work as “Maimon”, “Maimonides”, or “RaMBaM”, although Maimonides composed other works.
Mishneh Torah consists of fourteen books, subdivided into sections, chapters, and paragraphs. It is the only Medieval-era work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws that are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in existence, and remains an important work in Judaism.
Its title is an appellation originally used for the Biblical book of Deuteronomy, and its subtitle, “Book of the Strong Hand”, derives from its subdivision into fourteen books: the numerical value fourteen, when represented as the Hebrew letters Yod (10) Dalet (4), forms the word yad (“hand”).[1]
Maimonides intended to provide a complete statement of the Oral Law, so that a person who mastered first the Written Torah and then the Mishneh Torahwould be in no need of any other book. Contemporary reaction was mixed, with a strong and immediate opposition which focused on the absence of sources and the belief that the work appeared to be intended to supersede study of the Talmud. Maimonides responded to these criticisms, and the Mishneh Torahendures as an influential work in Jewish religious thought. According to several authorities,[2] a decision may not be rendered in opposition to a view of Maimonides, even where he apparently militated against the sense of a Talmudic passage, for in such cases the presumption was that the words of the Talmud were incorrectly interpreted. Likewise: “One must follow Maimonides, even when the latter opposed his teachers, since he surely knew their views, and if he decided against them, he must have disapproved their interpretation.”[2] The Mishneh Torah was later adapted for an Ashkenazi audience by Meir HaKohen in the form of the Haggahot Maimuniyyot. The work consists of supplemental notes to the Mishneh Torah with the objective of implanting contemporary Sephardic thought to Germanyand France, while juxtaposing it to contemporary Ashkenazi halakhic costumes.[3]
Maimonides sought brevity and clarity in his Mishneh Torah and, as in his Commentary on the Mishnah, he refrained from detailing his sources, considering it sufficient to name his sources in the preface. He drew upon the Torah and the rest of Tanakh, both Talmuds, Tosefta, and the halachic Midrashim, principally Sifra and Sifre.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishneh_Torah
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From Touger:
Enosh
Mistake
Temples
Worship
Jeremiah
False prophets
Images
People gather
Deceivers
Practices spread
Abraham
Thinking
Understanding
Age 40
Broke idols
Charan
People gather
Teaching Isaac and Jacob
Jacob teaches
Command sons
Egypt
Moses

Mitzvot

Modern perspective: “The Great Ones are Critical Thinkers”

Steve Siebold, “177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class,” p 236

Student questions

1- I did the meditation standing up for the 2nd week (tried it last week). Without knowing the suggested points to practice last week, I closed my eyes, was steady, & felt good & focused. Now you say it’s recommended to keep eyes open. I imagine that’s so we are in a ready state, but I tried to open my eyes & it was distracting to see the room. I’m probably too accustomed to keeping my eyes closed from years of previous meditation. What are your thoughts?

2- I realized that I may have made slight internal movements during meditation but they wouldn’t be noticeable to an outside observer. What are your thoughts on whether this is movement or not.

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How I was trained in sitting and standing meditation

Bhante Gunaratana, “Mindlfulness in Plain English”
Practice, pp 44 – 45
General rules, pp 57 – 58
Physical pain, pp 94 – 95