Avodat Hashem – Foundations of Divine Service (3)
Teacher Title Abstract
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #01: Keriat Shema (I): The Fundamental Obligation and its Source In this introductory lecture, we will study the obligation of Keriat Shema. We will analyze the gemarot that discuss the source of this obligation and attempt to understand the reason behind the differences of opinion on the matter. We will further analyze the passage's reference to "these words," which must constantly be remembered. What are "these words" and why are they so important?
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #02: Keriat Shema (II): The Fundamental Obligation and its Source In this shiur, we continue our discussion of keriat Shema, focusing on the instruction to recite "these words" when "you lie down and when you get up." How should the latter phrase be interpreted according to the different views regarding the status of the mitzva ofkeriat Shema? What are "these words" that one is supposed to constantly remember?
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #03: Keriat Shema (III): “And What Does One Recite?” The Sections of the Shema That One Must Recite and Their Connection to the Biblical Texts In our previous shiurim, we have discussed the status of the mitzva of keriat shema. The mitzva of keriat Shema is, in the most basic sense, an obligation to recite verses from the Torah twice daily. The Sages were given the freedom to establish which particular passages should be recited, based on various considerations. We will discuss some of the options mentioned in the Talmud.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #04: Keriat Shema (IV): “And What Does One Recite?” Rambam's Position In this shiur, we will analyze the Rambam's position regarding the status of the obligation to recite the different component passages of kriat Shema. We will discover that there are many possible interpretations of the Rambam's position, and we will examine the varying opinions on the matter.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #05: Keriat Shema (V): Accepting the Yoke of God’s Kingship and the Third Passage of the Shema In this shiur, we continue our study of the keriat Shema by focusing on the role and place of the third passage, which focuses on the mitzva of tzitzit. We will analyze Rambam's view in this regard, and we will discuss the additional component that is present in this passage - the remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt. How do the themes of tzitzit and remembering the Exodus relate the goal of keriat Shema, the acceptance of the yoke of God's kingship?
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Keriat Shema (VI): The Aspect of Torah Study Within Keriat Shema In our previous shiur, we noted that R. Shimon bar Yochai viewed the keriat Shema as a fulfillment of the mitzva of Torah study. In this shiur, we will study a number of halakhot that reflect this position. We will discover that the main purpose of the mitzva of Torah study is to help forge an intimate connection between man and his Creator, and the keriat Shema serves to prepare the ordinary man for that encounter.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #07: Keriat Shema (VII): The Structure of Keriat Shema and the Mitzva of Recognizing the Oneness of God In this shiur, we will study the opening and closing verses of the keriat Shema. These verses are statements of faith, respectively, in God as Creator and in divine providence. As we will see, these beliefs are intrinsically connected to one another. The purpose of the morning and evening keriat Shema is to create a framework of faith around a person's day.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #08: Recognizing the Oneness of God: The Parameters of the Mitzva In this shiur, we will shift our focus away from keriat Shema and toward the mitzva of recognizing the oneness of God. We will address the relationship between that mitzva and the injunction to accept upon ourselves the yoke of God’s kingship. In particular, we will analyze the views of theRishonim regarding these two commandments.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #09: Blessed Be the Name of His Glorious Kingdom Forever and Ever In this shiur, we will study the additional line that we insert into keriat Shema after the first verse: "Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever." Why do we insert this verse, and why is it recited quietly most of the year? What is its meaning and implication?
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #10: Blessed Be the Name of His Glorious Kingdom For Ever and Ever (II): The Higher and Lower Oneness of God In this shiur, we continue our discussion of the quiet recitation of the phrase "Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever." We will study the sources for this recitation and focus on the explanation that there is a "higher" and "lower" oneness that we declare in our recitation of the Shema.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #11: Loving God (I): How Can There Be a Command to Love? In this shiur, we will discuss the command to "love God," which appears in the first paragraph of the Shema. How are we to understand a commandment to have a particular emotion? We will study various commentaries and how they approached this and similar commandments.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #12: Loving God (II): What Is the Path to Loving Him? In this shiur, we will continue our discussion of the commandment to love God by studying Rambam's explanations of how that love can be attained. Rambam writes that love of God is achieved by contemplating His creations, but elsewhere he writes that it is attained by studying His Torah and mitzvot. We will see that Rambam is essentially describing to levels in the love of God, and that these paths are also described in Sefer Tehillim.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #13: Loving God (III): Contemplating Creation and Contemplating the Torah In this shiur, we continue our discussion of the two paths to achieve love of God - reflection on His creations and study of the Torah. We will contrast these methods and specifically study how Avraham Avinu exemplified the first.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi ​Shiur #14: Loving God (IV): From Love to Redemption In this shiur, we will discuss the birkot kriat Shema. We will discover that the two blessings that precede keriat Shema prepare one for loving God, using the two paths that we presented in the previous shiurim (based on Tehillim 19 and Rambam’s explanation): contemplation of the universe and contemplation of Torah and the mitzvot. We will also see that the berakha that follows the shema is similarly reflected in Tehillim 19.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #15: Loving God (V): Love Will Follow Automatically In this shiur, we will explore the mitzva to love God. We will focus on two approaches to this mitzva - one that views it as being reflected in fulfillment of the Torah and mitzvot, and one that views it as the result of appreciation of God's power.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #16: Loving God (VI): Levels of Loving God In this shiur, we will study how the two routes towards attaining the love of God - contemplation of the world and contemplation of His mitzvot - lead to the conclusion that "there is none beside Him."
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #17: Loving God (VII): I Was Asleep, But My Heart Was Awake (Part 1) In this shiur, we will begin our study of Shir Ha-Shirim as a parable to the love of God. We will examine the different approaches to the meaning of this parable, and we will begin to study the development of the relationship described in the sefer.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #18: Loving God (VIII): I Was Asleep, But My Heart Was Awake (Part 2) In this shiur, we continue our study of Shir Ha-Shirim as a parable for the love of God. We will focus on the image of "I am asleep, but my heart is awake," analyzing how this reflects the souls longing for God.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #19: Loving God (IX): The Paths to a Complete Love of God In this shiur, we will study Rambam's practical guidance as to how to achieve the love of God, as recorded in Moreh Nevukhim and Mishneh Torah. Rambam notes the need to employ supreme concentration and focus all one’s energy on standing before God in order to reach this love.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #20: Loving God (X): With All Your Soul In this shiur, we will compare the interpretations of the Tanna'im of the phrase "with all your soul." We will see that while one view maintains that one must be willing to give up his life rather than cease loving God, another view maintains that one must love God even at the moment that He takes away his life.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #21: Loving God (XI): Two Types of Self-Sacrifice In this shiur, we will focus on two types of self-sacrifice demanded of a person who wishes to serve God with "all his heart" - physical and spiritual self-sacrifice.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #22: Loving God (XII): Cause Him to Be Beloved In this shiur, we will study Chazal's comment that love of God is defined as the attempt to "make Him beloved" by others. This is accomplished in two ways - by actively leading others to serve God and by acting in a manner that others will wish to emulate.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #23: Loving God (XIII): Loving Israel and Loving God (part 1) In this shiur, we will analyze how viewing one's soul as a part of God - and therefore as a vehicle to achieve the love of God - also aids one in attaining the ability to love his neighbor as he loves himself, as the Torah demands. We will study the implications of this point in the context of the concept of arevut and the commandment not to take revenge.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #24: Loving God (XIV): Loving Israel and Loving God (part 2) In this shiur, we will continue our discussion of how the connection between people leads to connection with God. We will focus in particular on Hillel's famous statement regarding the central principle of the Torah.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #25: Loving God (XV): Loving Israel and Loving God (part 3) In this shiur, we will consider the unity of the Jewish People as a reflection of the unity of God. Just as God is One despite the various "faces" that He shows us, the Jewish People is one despite the fact that it is made up of different individuals.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #26: Loving God (XVI): You Shall Not Hate Your Brother In this shiur, we will discuss the prohibition of hating another Jew, as well as the related obligation to rebuke a sinner. We will discuss when this commandment does not apply and how it is to be implemented.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #27: Torah Study (1) Torah study allows us to know God. But before exploring this topic, we must examine the general mitzva of serving God, and especially the need to serve God with intention in every action.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #28: Torah Study (2) This shiur examines the parallels between Torah study and prayer. Both place man before God, both are referred to as "service," and both are substitutes for the Temple service.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #29: Torah Study (3) The mitzva of Torah study includes learning Torah and teaching it to one's sons/students. Anyone who studies Torah is part of an uninterrupted chain of tradition. This is why the blessings recited over the Torah focus on the relationship between the people of Israel and God.
שיעורי טקסט Harav Baruch Gigi Shiur #30: Torah Study (4) Moshe and the Development of the Oral Law Continuing last class, we will discuss the sequence of the Oral Tradition. What is the relationship between the Torah as Moshe received it, and the Oral Torah founded by Rabbi Akiva and his students? We will discuss these questions in light of the study of the Midrash about Moshe's visit to the Bet Midrash of Rabbi Akiva.

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