Jewish Meditation Podcasts

Rabbi Jeff Roth Havdallah

Jeff leads us in a warm, inclusive havdallah service, using chant and developing meaning.

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg Ana B’koach: Moving into Shabbat

Sheila discusses the meaning, the value, and the importance of Ana B’koach a prayer often said as we move into Shabbat. It is especially resonate during the counting of the Omer. She wrote an English version, which she shares with us. In the chanting of Ana B’koach, we ask for deep acceptance and the support that allows us to be with whatever is arising in our lives. Shabbat is the practice of: this is like this.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Morning Service – Chants Only

Jeff leads us in a morning service with only chants. No kavanot, or instructions, or other words.

Rabbis Jeff Roth, Joanna Katz, Sheila Weinberg & Jordan Bendat-Appell Morning Service

This is a full morning service. It begins with Jeff presenting an introduction to this style of davvening. Many of the prayers/chants are introduced with kavanot. A valuable recording.

Rabbi Jeff Roth My Soul Yearns for Love

Every human act is either an expression or a request for love. This line from Yedid Nefesh, which Jeff Roth translates as my soul yearns for your love, please God, heal her is introduced with the kavanah (intention) that we may really feel both the yearning to give and express love as well as the longing to receive love. Read more…

Rabbi Jeff Roth Complete Contemplative Morning Prayer Service

Accompanied by acoustic guitar, introductory kavahnot (intentions) and pauses for meditation, this 47 minute recording provides a full experience of contemplative Jewish chanting. The service, led by Sylvia Boorstein and Rabbi Jeff Roth at the March 2006, Discovering the Divine retreat includes Modeh Ani, Ma Tovu, Elohai Neshama, Kol HaNeshama, Or Chadash and the Shema.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Introduction to Contemplative Jewish Prayer

A thirteen minute introduction to contemplative Jewish prayer. This talk by Rabbi Jeff Roth includes practice instructions on how to work with the interface of mindfulness, concentration and prayer.

Rabbi Joanna Katz Sitting Meditation Instruction (2)

Joanna offers instruction on how to settle in the body with wholesome intention, and allow yourself to rest in the space that you are in.  She suggests bringing curiosity to the experience that is occurring in each moment of practice – opening up to who and what we are.

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg Walking Meditation Instructions

Sheila teaches about the importance of a focused attention during walking practice.  She gives detailed instructions, reflecting on the connection to Jewish contemplative practice.

Rabbi Joanna Katz Sitting Meditation Instructions

Joanna teaches us the practice of sitting meditation.  She weaves the practice of developing gratitude into our sitting practice.  She discusses the development of intention, or kavanah, for practice.

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg Meditation Instructions

Sheila teaches the practice of meditation, focusing on awareness of the body, and bringing in the widen concepts of Jewish meditation.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Meditation Instructions: Paying Attention to Moods and Mind States

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.

Rabbi Alan Lew z Softening the Breath

This 14 minute talk is rich with instructions about bringing mindfulness to each part of the breath, the sensations arising in the body and the sounds arising in your awareness. Recorded at the Elat Chayyim Advanced Meditation Program during the summer of 2007, these instructions are a wonderful way to re-energize your mindfulness or meditation practice. Read more…

Rabbi Jeff Roth Introduction to Contemplative Jewish Prayer

A thirteen minute introduction to contemplative Jewish prayer. This talk by Rabbi Jeff Roth includes practice instructions on how to work with the interface of mindfulness, concentration and prayer.

Sylvia Boorstein Understanding the Practice

In this talk given in March of 2006 at Discovering the Divine: a week-long Jewish meditation retreat, Sylvia Boorestein speaks of the merits of a meditation practice and the ways that this practice improves the quality of our relationships and our lives.

Sylvia Boorstein Why Are We Here

Sylvia explains that she comes on retreat in order to open her heart, be free of judgement, and develop happiness.  Our motivation is to discover that it’s possible in this life – inevitably challenged – to live with delight, to be part of life, to be appreciative of life and grateful for life.

Sylvia Boorstein Not to be so Startled in our Lives

Sylvia points out that we find events in our life to be either pleasant or unpleasant, and suggests that our work is to not be startled by them.  Our practice allows us to act in response to events with a clear mind, not a mind filled with startle or negativity.

Sylvia Boorstein It Could Have Been Otherwise

Sylvia talks about being thankful for the grace that sustains us though difficult times, and about gratitude for both the simple things in life, and for life itself.

Sylvia Boorstein How to Integrate the Practice

Sylvia teaches us to pay attention to the climate of the heart.  This attention allows us to notice how the unfolding events of our lives are affecting us.  This is my understanding of practice – that everything is porous and everything has moments.  And moment to moment, we make a decision.  We are captive to a mind state, a thought process, but you can get out, you can stop, you can end the turmoil.

Rabbi Joanna Katz Hindrances and Trust

Joanna begins with a discussion of thoughts, and the five mind states that hinder our ability to see clearly in the world.  She talks about the arising of judgement, and how to bring the light of awareness to that judgement.  She delves deeply into the experiences of these hindrances, how to work with them, and how to develop trust in our awareness.

Rabbi Joanna Katz Presence and Care

Joanna talks about how to recognize when we are present, when we are in the presence of the Divine.  And how presence itself, is the foundation of how we can care for others, and for ourselves.

Rabbi Joanna Katz Accepting the Truth of this World

Joanna talks of needing the quiet of our practice as a path to seeing the truth of our lives.  And that when we open to the truth, loving-kindness arises.

Rabbi Joanna Katz Love and Tshuva

As Elul approaches, Joanna talks about Love and Tshuva.  She notes that the Zohar equates Tsuuva with life itself.  She discusses forgiveness, and how that connects to being effective in our lives.

Rabbi Joanna Katz Avodah

Joanna talks about Avodah as a contemplative practice.  She introduces us to the wisdom regarding avodah that can be found in Pirkei Avot, and relates that wisdom to the work of our lives.

Rabbi Joanna Katz What is Precious

Joanna begins with the preciousness of both the teachings and the teacher. She encourages all of us to be teachers. To become what we are, we have to go through a birth process. To birth ourselves, we have to be open. We have to let go.

Joanna introduces five things we should take to heart: we should not give up; we are not alone – others have walked this path; wee must know where to look, to whom; God is everywhere, even in the anguish; friend ship and hope are what helps us grow.

Rabbi Joanna Katz Our Commitment to Peace and Kindness

Where do I focus my practice, if my commitment is to peace and kindness. One can work with the five hindrances: sensual desire; aversion; sleepiness; restlessness and doubt. This allows us to become very aware and attuned, and to choose wisely in respond to life’s ups and downs. Mindfulness – without judgment – allows us to see clearly and to act skillfully when dealing with the hindrances. We can choose an inner freedom that is accompanied by peace, clarity, openness, joy, ease and wisdom.

Rabbi Joanna Katz There Is No Where To Go

Joanna talks about how important it is to be diligent in our practice, and to be fully engaged in our lives.

Rabbi Joanna Katz The Elul Practice of Turning and Connecting

Elul: the month where we are turning back to a place in us that can connect to something larger; to our own truth; that can connect to the sense that we are part of the Devine Unfolding. That the process of turning and connecting is really this love dance between ourselves and God.

Norman Fischer Nothing is the Most Important Thing of All

Our purpose is to immerse ourselves in nothing, to do nothing, and to be nothing. But nothing is the most important thing of all.
What God is, is not our concepts of God. We understand that which is useful in life. We don’t understand the ultimate importance of the useless function of God; the nothing function of God. It’s our connection to God, to this endlessness, this nothingness, to this which we cannot understand, we cannot grasp, we do not know. Our connection to this which is characterized by love, and complete and profound acceptance.

Sylvia Boorstein How to Feel That We Have Enough

The premise of an awakened mind is creating the kind of peace that people can have when they are content, regardless of circumstances. We cultivate a mind that focuses on the fact that life itself is happening, rather then on the myriad complex details that arise. This is taking the larger view: that everything is lawful, the unfolding of natural causes.

Rabbi Jeff Roth The Tree of Life and the Fundamental Problem of Human Existence

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.

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg Teaching Torah through the Lens of Mindfulness: Teaching Mindfulness through the Lens of Torah

Sheila begins with the connection of mindfulness to the cycle of Jewish holy days, being immersed in the embodied experience of the intentions arising in the practice of each holy day. Sheila teaches that Torah has a sense of being a path of well-being and peace, leading to an understanding that creates transformation. The Torah teaches us to let go – let go of that which impedes our ease, our mindfulness, our connection to the Devine.

Rabbi Joanna Katz This Very Life is Your Practice

Joanna talks about how each of us has something precious and unique that is only ours to unfold in this practice. That a spiritual practice is a practice that allows the heart and mind to settle. Joanna teaches that spirituality, which is an essential part of Judaism, is always striving for the presence of God, and the fashioning of a life of holiness appropriate to that striving. Joanna asks: how we able to be open to the presence of God in a state of great adversity. Being open to the presence of God is directly related to the state of one’s own heart.

Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell Engaging in Judaism as a Mindfulness Practice

Jordan discusses how normative Jewish practice is a spiritual practice resonant with mindfulness of the moment-to-moment experience of the normal course of events. He tells the Torah story of the spies returning from Canaan, focusing on how it illustrates the reality of human experience and the importance of remembering (mindfulness), and that our actions should be based on investigation and wisdom, not on our fears and delusions. This allows us to remember who we are: remembrance as the sharp focus of attention, embracing concern and involvement, active, not passive.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Loving Attention, Small Mind and the Aggregates

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.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Where Can I Not Find You: Opening the Emotional Channel to Divine

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.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Karma, Suffering and Sacred Intention

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.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Motivation and Effort

In this talk Rabbi Jeff Roth discusses the benefits of letting the attention be pulled rather than pushed. Through these teachings awareness and experience opens up. “Just by paying attention there are amazing new things that you’ve never experienced before.”

Rabbi Jeff Roth I Think, Therefore I Am In Tsuris

In this talk Rabbi Jeff Roth explains how what the midrash says about the nature of our suffering and the relationship between thinking, desiring, awareness reveals a path to resolving tremendous suffering.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Obstacles to Awareness of the Divine Presence

In contemporary Jewish meditation the Divine is a reference to the interconnected unity of all being. This talk unfolds this metaphor and points out obstacles that occur in “small mind” that aggrandizes the self and cuts one off from unity, compassion and loving-kindness. A set of practice instructions proposes processes to turn the obstacles into compost for spiritual growth.

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg Mindfulness Practice and the Jewish Year

Reflection on what we seek to remember in practice, developing the capacity to see which stories serve to develop wholesome qualities and reduce suffering. The center of the talk is a tour through the Jewish year, interpreting each holiday as a form of retreat practice and the opportunity to awaken and develop heart qualities.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Truth

Rabbi Jeff Roth explores Truth; awakened attention to what is happening in the moment.

Rabbi Jeff Roth Effortless Effort

Rabbi Jeff Roth discusses how to relax into both your meditation practice and your daily life, and what gets in the way.

Norman Fischer How We Read Torah

In this talk from the 2005 winter ECAMP retreat, Norman provides an overview for a profound reading of the Torah and of our lives. Read more…

Norman Fischer Examining the Unknowable

In this talk from the 2005 winter ECAMP retreat, Norman uncovers the complementary relationship between faith and experience. This 12 minute clip will nourish and ground your curiosity… What is this life?

Rabbi Jeff Roth Ignorance: Ways We Miss the Divine

In this Jewish meditation talk given at the Elat Chayyim Advanced Meditation Program, Rabbi Jeff Roth talks about ignorance and the patterns of mind which prevent us from truly meeting the Divine in our lives. Read more…

Rabbi Joanna Katz Obstacles to peace

Another opportunity to wake up. In this talk, Rabbi Joanna Katz names and gives real-life examples of the obstacles that prevent one from being truly present and consciously with G-d.

Rabbi Alan Lew z Five Steps for Spiritual Transformation

In this Jewish meditation talk given at the Elat Chayyim Advanced Meditation Program, Rabbi Alan Lew speaks of patterns observed in the Torah that reveal the essential experienced ingredients for spiritual transformation. Read more…

Norman Fischer Far Beyond What We Can See

The beginning part of a talk given at the 2005 winter Elat Chayyim Advanced Meditation Program retreat, Norman aids the listener in delving deeper into seeing the true meaning and opportunity of life.

Rabbi Joanna Katz The Things that God Gave You

In the second part (click here to listen to the first part) of a Jewish meditation talk given at a 2005 ECAMP retreat, Rabbi Joanna Katz opens with a quote from the Dalai Lama suggesting that the very purpose of our life is to seek and to move towards happiness. Using a verse from Deuteronomy and stories from her own meditation retreat experiences Joanna describes the merit of being with what is arising.

Rabbi Joanna Katz What Keeps Us From Happiness?

The beginning of a talk (click here to listen to the next part) given at a 2005 ECAMP retreat, Joanna reflects on the isolation, attachment and judgment that prohibits us from experiencing a truly free and peaceful happiness. Joanna uses the Shevah Brachot (seven blessings traditionally said at weddings) as a way of encountering the true happiness that God (and we) wish for ourselves.

Rabbi Joanna Katz Patience & Self Acceptance

In this talk from the 2008 winter ECAMP retreat, Joanna offers teachings about patience and self acceptance. Read more…