Rabbi Jeff Roth
Talks & Articles
Jeff offers a Mincha teaching.
The most profound spiritual practice is our paying loving attention to what’s arising moment by moment. This is a relationship practice that leads us to engaging in the world in a totally different way. Through Jewish mystical practice, we can re-conceptualize the Torah: both the received Torah and the unfolding torah of our lives. The thinking mind makes up models that are based on a momentary noticing, rather than an awakening to the fullness of the reality that is. As new concepts allow us to see clearly the nature of reality, our connections to each other become more alive, more vivid and more real.
Jeff offers a Maariv teaching.
Jeff leads us in a warm, inclusive havdallah service, using chant and developing meaning.
Jeff gives instructions related to paying attention to the Third Foundation of mindfulness: moods and mind states. He expresses the importance of the awareness both is sitting practice and in everyday life. A focus is on whether a particular mood is currently present or, just as importantly, whether it is absent. This helps us know how each mind state arises, how they are manifesting in the present moment, and how to work with them skillfully.
Jeff begins by addressing the question: what is the binary nature of conceptual thinking. This is an important frame for finding the solution to the problem of defining the task of a human life: alignment with loving attention/connection to the truth of what’s arising, allowing the unfolding of wisdom, all of which is being known in awareness. Jeff talks about the purpose of human life, which is to further the divine unfolding, allowing consciousness and love to be fully expressed and realized in all transitory corporeal existence. Jeff brings new meaning to the stories of the exile from Eden and of Moses at the burning bush – opening these stories more deeply to our human experience of separation from the Devine Presence.
Jeff leads us in a morning service with only chants. No kavanot, or instructions, or other words.
Jeff presents a brief introduction to the theology of Jewish contemplative practice. He discusses what is needed to support our practice, and focuses on the Jewish concept of mochin de katnut, or small mind. Jeff details how the experience of self-identity is a process of small mind. He discusses the make-up of small mind through the lens of the five aggregates: body; feeling tone; perception; volitional fabrications; and consciousness.
What does it mean to say You to God? Our relationship with God forms though listening without language, developing a loving relationship – not with it, which is the idea of God, but with You, the felt presence of God. This place where we address God as You includes the lover and the beloved, raising the question of dualism – what is the me; what is the other. This is the relational aspect of the divine. This is the place where we are known and loved.
Also titled, The Metaphysical Musings of a Megalomaniacal Mixed Up Mystic, in this talk Rabbi Jeff Roth discusses the laws of cause and effect and how they apply to suffering and to happiness.