Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Where Do You Find Spirituality in Judaism?

imageA friend of ours was doing some research in current Jewish topics and noted to me…

Interestingly, my research revealed that a lot of modern orthodox seek or experience 'spirituality' through the outside world, rather than in the beis hamidrosh (synagogue and/or place of Torah study). That would seem to imply that the 'neshomoh' (soul) is missing in the beis hamidrosh”?

My thought... the beis medresh is focused solely on the intellect, and with the exception of the works of chassidus, remains in the realm of the legal and rarely invokes G-d or our relationship with Him.  The beis knesset (just synagogue) focuses on the fulfilling of the obligations of prayer (and engages social relationships simply because that's what happens when a number of people are together on a regular basis).  And while there are places in the prayer material where it’s appropriate to "stop and meditate on this concept" or "insert personal prayer here", we have so much obligatory material to get through that I think few spare the moment to do so – losing some of the possible connection with G-d.

Some tracts of Breslev teaches hisbodedus (personal speaking to G-d) to all as an important focus.  Chabad teaches hisbonenus (contemplative meditation on G-dly concepts to reach Awe of G-d), though it sometimes gets lost in the intellectual focus of Chabad chassidus.

Clearly connecting with G-d can be a part of traditional Judaism, and there are several clear traditional paths to doing so.  BUT I don’t see many involved in such or aware of such.

What about you?


  1. Judaism, a candle with a basket over it.

  2. Hisbodedus and Hisbonenus- Jewish Meditation

  3. Why would this be even a question? The essence of Judaism is its spirituality (connection to H') in all things. We know that G-D is everything and everywhere. Whether the person is really concentrating totally in shul while praying is secondary because he is still fulfilling the obligation to pray and therein his connection to H'.(ours is not a religion - it is the ULTIMATE TRUTH) Emunah and Bitachon in H' is primary.

  4. Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson says like this:

    "There is no truth about G-d.
    Truth is G-d.

    There is no one who learns Truth.
    You become Truth.

    There is no need to search for Truth.
    You have inherited it and it is within you.

    You need only learn quietness
    to listen to that inheritance."

    For the Muslim, this notion is shirk. For the Xtian, this notion is heresy, because ONLY the man that they've foolishly deified is divine. For the Jew, this notion should be a given.

  5. I guess it depends on how one defines "spirituality."

    The Hebrew word for "spirit" is ruach, which means "wind." One of the functions of wind is aeolian erosion wherein loose material is blown from the surface and thereby reveals what's beneath. Personally, I define "spirituality" as "that which goes beneath the superficial in order to reveal what has hitherto been obscured." For me, spirituality is all about seeking a deeper level of meaning.

    So, if you ask me, "Where do you find spirituality in Judaism?"

    I'd have to reply, where don't I find spirituality in Judaism!?

  6. @Shiloh - The Baal Shem Tov says like this, "Your fellow is your mirror. If your own face is clean, so will be the image you perceive. But should you look upon your fellow and see a blemish, it is your own imperfection that you are encountering - you are being shown what it is that you must correct within yourself."

    Judaism is also one's mirror.

  7. Smade, who are you anyways. The lies are so deep but since you follow the 7 laws of Noach who where penned by James the brother of Jesus, then you quote another who promotes the lies, basically you are nothing. Keep on learning, maybe you will eventually figure it out.

  8. What is Shilo saying. He speaks as if he is surely not a Jew.
    BTW, The seven laws of Noach are part of our Torah (Written & Oral = Torah).

  9. @Shiloh - Who am I? Who cares!? I'm a worm.... At best, I'm a student of comparative religions, who feels an affinity with the Jewish people in general and the Hasidim (both ancient and modern) in particular. I've stated many times that I'm not a Jew and, like the rest of humanity, I'm obligated to observe the sixty-six mitzvot, which fall under the seven categories of the Noahide Laws, that serve as moral absolutes in a world wherein so many opt to reject the notion of moral absolutes. For a very short time, I was an Xtian and a Messianic. B"H, I educated myself out of their shtuyot. Unfortunately, I wasted thirty plus years of my life trying to point out their errors.

    BTW, I seriously doubt that "James" penned the Book of Jubilees (7:20–28) nor was he the first to speak about avoiding the Three Cardinal Sins. I see no lies in the Oral Torah as espoused by the House of Hillel the Elder or the Hasidism of the Baal Shem Tov. Their teachings are a light to the Nations!

    If Judaism doesn't shine as brightly as you'd like, then it's probably because the Jewish people aren't in a position of power or safety, in as much as they constantly have to defend themselves against the attacks of the Amalakites (et al).

    Rabbi Harvey Falk says like this, "A careful reading of the Talmud (Sanhedrin 57a-b) and Maimonides (Melakhim, Ch. 8) would indicate that Moses obligated the Jews to spread knowledge of the Noahide Commandments to the Gentiles only from a position of strength, the potential dangers inherent toward the Jews ... being only too apparent now after Crusades, inquisitions, pogroms and the Holocaust."

    Like other readers, I find your comments and criticisms to be less than helpful and more than a little confusing, especially when you couch them in what seem to be Xtain/Messianic attacks on Judaism and/or Klal Yisrael.

    Who am I? Who are you!?


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