Resource Room

For Steve Kobrin's Jewish Meditation Class

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

We will continue our study of Musar meditation, and learn how it helps us rearrange our lives, as part of becoming enlightened. We will focus on meditating on a Biblical verse.

We will also discuss how to understand distractions, to improve your meditative practice, Part VIII: Agitation.

Jewish meditation techniques we have covered so far:

Amidah: achieving consciousness of God through prayer.

Hitbodedut: becoming mindful through internal and external isolation.

Ruach Hakodesh (Enlightenment:) transcending the physical, through work on yourself.


Unification: experiencing Oneness with God by reciting the Shema.

Blessing power: meditations to bring you closer to God through mundane acts.


The Traditions: Enlightenment
Rabbi Kaplan – “Meditation and the Bible”



What sins are evil?
How does the pursuit of Ruach Hakodesh help us avoid them?

Ruach Hakodesh (Enlightenment:) transcending the physical, through work on yourself.

These are the steps leading to Ruach Hakodesh outlined in the Talmud: Study; Carefulness; Diligence; Cleanliness; Abstention; Purity; Piety; Humility; Fear of Sin; Holiness.


The Musar movement and how it promotes work on yourself.

Rabbi Kaplan – “Jewish Meditation,” pp 161 – 165
Musar – self-perfection
Interpersonal relationships
You can’t grow spiritually vicariously
Individual responsibility
Daily habit
Contemplation as meditation
Extraneous thoughts
Becoming a more effective human being
Mantra repetition
Absorbing the message
Speak to the body
Stop gossiping
Lose weight
Pace the changes

Quit smoking

Musar and rearranging your life
Rabbi Kaplan – “Jewish Meditation,” p 162

The first part of the Musar program was to make a daily habit of reading a lesson from a classical Musar work. After reading the lesson, one was to spend a short period of time contemplating it and relating it to one’s own life.
As the individual began to advance, this contemplation became a meditation. One would read from a classical Musar text on how to improve the ethical, moral, and religious quality of one’s life, then meditate on this lesson for twenty to thirty minutes. This is a simple type of meditation, similar to the one described in Chapter 3, where I discussed meditating on how to rearrange your life.
Meditation Techniques: Rearranging your life
Rabbi Kaplan – “Jewish Meditation,” pp 15 – 24

Meditation techniques
Three categories
Meditation categories


Controlled thinking
Rearranging your furniture
Rearranging your life
Multiple sessions
New threshold
Two ways
Extraneous thoughts
Oral conversation
Biblical verse, P. 20
Entire verse
Visual contemplation
Externally directed
Any subject
Other faculties
Action meditation
Direct control of thoughts

Next class:

Best practices for meditation

Bhante Gunaratana, “Mindfulness in Plain English,”
Dealing with Distractions Part II, pp 115 – 130
Understanding distractions, Lesson VIII – Agitation, p 122

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