• December 3, 2020
  • 17 5781, Kislev
  • פרשת וישלח

Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God

Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God

Join Rabbi Jeffrey Saks as he explores Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik‘s essay “Uvikkashtem miSham” (in English: And From There You Shall Seek). How can the individual seek out God? What is the mystery of Devekut (cleaving to Him)? How does engagement with the natural and spiritual worlds aid us and fail us in our quest? How does God ultimately find us instead? — These questions stand at the center of this important sequel and companion text to Rabbi Soloveitchik‘s monumental Halakhic Man.

NOTE: It is highly recommended but not obligatory, to purchase “Uvikkashtem miSham.” It can be found on Amazon HERE.

January 2, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 1
Class description

Introduction-In this series we will undertake a careful read of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s essay וביקשתם משם in its English translation And from There You Shall Seek (MeOtzar HaRav, 2009) – available HERE on Amazon. While we will make sections of the work available online, it is highly recommended that you purchase the book.

This work, which explores the religious quest, is very much a follow-up to his monumental Halakhic Man (visit our series on that earlier work HERE.) For an introduction to the Rav’s life and thought, listen HERE.

January 9, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 2
Class description

The Yearning Heart-We will proceed to chapter 2 in “Seek” — get the book HERE. Read the famous Note 4 to Halakhic Man at the attached scan.

January 16, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 3
Class description

The Disappointed Heart -Proceeding to chapter 3 in which we are “faint with love.” For more on the “proof” of God put forth by Anselm of Canterbury in chapter 2 (the “proof” Kierkegaard dismantles with the image of a father’s hug) see THIS video.

February 6, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 4
Class description

The Surprised Heart –  If searching for God through nature will always be insufficient, how can we find Him? What happens when He seeks us out through revelation?

February 13, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 5
Class description

Yearning Yet Fearful Heart-Continuing with chapter 5 (pp. 39-45). Consider the verse at Exodus 33:20 — what is it saying about the God encounter? — and let us touch on The Rav, Stephen Hawking, Black Holes and Fear of the Dark From the March 14, 2018 NY Times obituary of Stephen Hawking: Having spent the best part of his life grappling with black holes and cosmic doom, Dr. Hawking had no fear of the dark. “They’re named black holes because they are related to human fears of being destroyed or gobbled up,” he once told an interviewer. “I don’t have fears of being thrown into them. I understand them. I feel in a sense that I am their master.” The implications for our discussion of knowledge leading to awe and away from fear should be clear.

February 20, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 6
Class description

The Divided Heart-Chapter 6 – Balancing the Breishit vs Sinai Experiences (pp. 47-50).

February 27, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 7
Class description

The Heart That Runs & Flees- The esoteric and exoteric directions in religion (Chapter 7, pp. 51-60).

March 8, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 8
Class description

The Comforted Heart- For chapter 8 please read pp. 61-68.

March 13, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 9
Class description

Love/Awe Dialectic- For our next session, chapter 9 – pp. 69-73.

March 20, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 10
Class description

Imitatio Dei- How does the love/awe dialectic impact our need to imitate Him and walk in His ways? Chapter 10 on pp. 75-79.

April 24, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 11
Class description

Imitatio to Devekiut- We will review chapter 1-10 (if you’re just joining the course now, no worries, we’ll catch you up). Then it’s on to Chapter 11 (pp. 81-85) on the move from imitating God (or His attributes) to “cleaving” to Him.

May 1, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 12
Class description

The Cleaving Heart- Continuing the exploration of Dveitkut (cleaving), with chapter 12 (pp. 87-90).

May 15, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 13
Class description

Left Hand and Right Arm Chapter 13 – Continuing the conversation about how Dveikut word? How can we connect to God? (pp. 91-99). How does our intellect allow us to make the connection? (With side discussion of Maimonides, Guide I:68 attached).

May 22, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Soloveitchik Searches for God: Lesson 14
Class description

Dveikut via Halakhah – How does thinking about God via the prism of Halakhah differ from thinking about Him through the created world? Does it reach a different result? Chapter 14 (pp. 101-106)

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks is the founding director of ATID – The Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions in Jewish Education, in Jerusalem, and its WebYeshiva.org program. He is the Editor of the journal Tradition, Series Editor of The S.Y. Agnon Library at The Toby Press, and Director of Research at the Agnon House in Jerusalem. A three-time graduate of Yeshiva University (BA, MA, Semicha), Rabbi Saks has published widely on Jewish thought, education, and literature (see www.webyeshiva.org/rabbisaks).