MMM – Approaches to Torah Learning
What I’d like to share now are my present and past unique approaches to Torah learning. I’m going to start with the present and bring some of the past into it, from the last few months. These are my approaches to Torah learning:
1) MMM – This is my personal approach to Torah. It’s an approach which involves music, and self-actualization, and expression, art, emotion, meditation, poetry, and everything that has to do with the human spirit, experience and consciousness. It is directed towards a certain Torah theme. This is one thing I’d definitely like to be remembered by when all is said and done regarding my Torah learning and teaching using MMM.
2) Go inside of Torah as completely as possible – This is how I describe the practice of reframing everything as Torah, and only caring about that. I once heard a teaching that said the people who are truly free are the ones who are Torah learners. I delved deep into the essence of what that means, and I realized it’s this – whenever all we care about in life is Torah, other stuff that happens doesn’t affect us so much, like money, etc. That’s a free person, someone who’s so deep into Torah.
3) Another direction to Torah is to jump right into the water, to immerse yourself into the topic you’re focusing on in Torah. And to see with the lenses of that Torah topic in sharp focus. This is what I try to do every week with my MMM, whatever topic I choose, such as Shabbos, or the Land or a Mystic’s Eyes… nothing else exists except that topic at that time. I immerse myself deeply into it.
4) Another unique approach, not only mine, but it’s one I’m trying out, is to look at life through the Parsha of the week. I like to see what’s going on inside the Parsha, and ask questions, and see if the Parsha will supply answers to whatever’s going on. I’ve always noticed that whenever there are issues to deal with in life, somehow, some way, in some obscure commentary, there can be answers to my questions. The Torah can provide answers to our daily, contemporary issues, when we need guidance.
5) When you’re learning Torah you’re in a sacred space, and answers will come to you, even if they are not directly related to what you’re learning. But if you ask questions when you’re in that elevated space you will received answers. The answers WILL come and you’ll get clarity on other things going on in your life.
6) Another thing is to go deeply into Torah. There is a methodology of learning that’s brought through the Talmud. It says, ok, let’s say it over, and focus on the simple meaning of it. And after that, let’s go as deep inside as we possibly can. We can see the connections to life, to other things that are going on and we’ll see how other things are answered up. You’ll get a lot of associative ideas, but also, if you specifically ask, “What does this mean for me in my life?” or perhaps, “Why did this Sage say what he said?” and other primal questions, you’ll discover there’s something very deep going on here. That’s how you can get credible answers.
7) Another Torah-engaging tool is poetry. I’ve noticed that, rather than teach Torah in a linear, left-brain kind of way I try to reach out and teach it in a poetic kind of way, preferably with music. It’s not necessary, and sometimes it can be with a photograph or a picture instead. That helps the Torah get into a different part of our human “being,” and not just our left brain. I see it comes into an experiential kind of place. This is another approach to learning Torah that’s very unique, and it helps people get into Torah and understand Torah because they are naturally attracted to the art, it’s a way to speak to them as well.
8) Learn the part of Torah to which you’re naturally attracted. If you listen to your inner resonance, and go with what you’re normally attracted to, you’ll find the Torah you should be learning, and you’ll make a lot more headway in Torah as well.
9) Torah is a battleground. We are presented with questions, and we have to be warriors for getting answers and clarity. If we’re ok with that and can embrace that, meaning this is a discipline which is not dictatorial, but instead it’s a questioning discipline, and we question and question until there’s no doubt left. We fight like a warrior to get to the answers. This is a whole different type of Torah learning.
10) We are supposed to be learning Torah 24/7. There is no time we are not supposed to be learning Torah. I’ve seen people do thing, and I’ve tried to live this way on and off during my own life. I’ve seen people who simply won’t leave their Torah learning, and they’ll be walking down the street, talking to themselves in Torah. They are wrestling through the issues, the ideas. I’ve seen people like this give a class on two lines of what’s written in Torah, and it could go on for 4 – 5 hours. They are completely immersed in Torah, so they have the depth and breadth of connection to that piece of Torah.
When you go deep into G-d’s word, you’re going deeply into a type of wisdom which goes on forever. It expands out forever. There’s so much more to talk about here, and so many more approaches, but I just wanted to get things started with a few of them.
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