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5 Lessons from Week 2 of Yeshiva

Continuing on last week’s issue, this past Friday concluded 2 weeks at the Yeshiva (Jewish learning program) in Jerusalem.

Below are 5 new lessons and experiences from week 2 that intrigued me and/or resonated with me:

  1. We visited the the tomb of our matriarchs in Hebron - Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, & Leah - and our patriarchs - Avraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was a rich emotional experience to be at a physical location for the founding personalities of the Jewish nation. Praying by their graves led me to shed tears because of their model behavior I strive to continue.

  2. In the morning we have continued to learn Basi Legani (1951). In the last newsletter, I mentioned how a person brings G-dliness into the world by transforming his/her state of being. This past week we took this a step further by discussing one of the modes of service in the Temple, which was the offering of korbanot (sacrifices). When the word sacrifice, especially of animals, is mentioned, it’s common to view it negatively. However, we can understand what it really means by looking at the verse to describe man’s service, “A man who shall bring from you an offering to G-d… shall you bring your offering” (Vayikra1:2). The previous Rebbe points out the problem of the phrase from you, which gives insight into man’s personal service. The verb used for “bringing an offering” is yakriv which shares root with the verb karev “to draw near.” The function of the korban is to draw us closer to G-d. In our personal lives, when we aim to improve an area of our life, we sacrifice the old ways of being. The body, related to the animal, often wants to do what is familiar and habitual, so by praying and meditating we sacrifice the urges of the body to eat, get distracted, etc and build presence. This challenging process builds presence and a way of being calm, which draws us closer to G-d.

  3. In a deb