4. Insights on Aveilut from the Talmud (Mo’ed Katan)
6. Pain Is a Reality, Suffering Is a Choice – Why Painful Things Happen to Good People
Extensive presentation on difficulties and challenges in life, including – Three essential prerequisites, and how Judaism says we should emotionally relate to difficulties.
Why would we make a blessing on painful yissurim with simcha, and how could we do this? What does this tell us about how we should view painful yissurim? What does this tell us about the meaning of simcha? And why is da’agah (worry) the opposite of simcha? How does one access simcha in painful times?
8. The Meaning of a Life Tragically Cut Short
Eichut (quality) vs. kamut (quantity). One that passes away young can still achieve shleimut (completion). Achieving Olam Haba without a lifetime of mitzvot. Inspiring medrashim about those that pass away young, Even a miscarriage can merit Olam Haba. Misfortune should cause teshuva, not depression or guilt.
9. Dealing with Painful Emotions and Anger at G-d
Understanding anger. Torah makes allowances for pain. We have some control of our perspective. Rav Soloveitchik on emotions.
10. Understanding Messages within our Difficulties and Challenges
How much can we understand hashgacha pratit (personal Divine Supervision) in our lives? Misconceptions with bitachon (trust in G-d). Some sources say we can understand messages within our challenges, while other sources limit how much we can understand them. Practical Guidelines for understanding messages. Inspiring insights about understanding messages.
11. Helping and Maintaining Our Relationship with the Deceased
Understanding the incredible opportunity of illuy neshama (what can be done for the elevation of the soul of the deceased) – for relatives and even for non-relatives. Six levels of what we can practically do. Maintaining our relationship with the deceased?
12. Appreciating the Benefits of Yissurim (Difficulties and Challenges)
Yissurim are the ultimate expression of G-d’s love which benefits us, both physically and spiritually, in so many different ways.
13. Bitachon (Trust in G-d)
Part 1 – Should We Always Expect the Best?
Part 2 – Bitachon and Tefillah with Severe Difficulties
Should we always expect that things will improve, or should we sometimes just accept that they won’t get better? Can we pray for a goseis (one on the verge of death)? What are the two different aspects of bitachon?
14. Yefashpeish b’Ma’asav (Examining our Actions)
Examining our actions will help us:
To rectify our mistakes from the past, Improve ourselves for the future, Accustom us to view even our mild yissurim (difficulties and challenges) positively, and make thinking and learning a fixed part of our lives.
Before we begin examining our actions, however, the first step in all personal growth is understanding ourselves and recognizing our greatness (“positive mussar”).
15. Understanding and Accepting Nechama (Consolation)
Definition of Nechama. Death is separation not loss. Minimize expectations with Olam Ha’zeh (this world). Feel the closeness of G-d within our challenges. Grief and mourning – necessary but not excessive. Simcha with pain. All will be clear in the end. Returning our deposit intact. There is a blessing within every curse. Every moment of a short life is precious. What to say, and what not to say, to the mourners at a shiva house. Only G-d can give true nechama. How we relate to difficulties is a choice. Move past negative thoughts to continue to live.
Klal Yissurim – Understanding Communal Difficulties and Challenges
Why do klal yissurim happen? The purpose of yissurim is to teach us to do teshuva. Principles of the Holocaust and klal yissurim from Rav Avigdor Miller. Rambam on the mitzvah of tza’akah (crying out to G-d). Viewing klal yissurim as random is called cruel. Respond to klal yissurim by strengthening our connectionto the klal. The striking difference between prat yissurim (individual challenges) and klal yissurim.
17. Segulot – (Utilizing Spiritual Realities)
Understanding spiritual realities, Soothsaying, Propitious Signs and Omens, Ayin hara (Evil eye) and Mazel. What are the best segulot of all? Sometimes, however, segulot don’t work. Alternatives to segulot.
18. Understanding Olam Haba (World to Come)
How much can we understand Olam Haba (the world to come)? Differences between Olam Haba and Olam Ha’zeh (this world). How great is Olam Haba? Ultimate benefit and loss are only there. How do we prepare ourselves for it? What is the minimum for one to get to Olam Haba?
a) Part 1
b) Part 2
19. Gilgulim – Principles of Reincarnation
Why should we learn about gilgul (reincarnation)? Is gilgul an accepted Torah concept? Reasons for gilgul and how to avoid it. Types of gilgulim and tikunim (spiritual repairs). How does gilgul help to address the issue of the righteous who seem to suffer and the wicked who appear to prosper?
20. Understanding & Dealing with Nisyonot (Tests)
Insights from the Akeidah (Avraham’s test with Yitzchak). Understanding tests & their purposes. Tests for the righteous vs. regular people. Tests are essential for growth. How do we pass our tests? What does it mean to pass our tests?