What is mysticism? What is Jewish mysticism? How is mysticism different from our scientific ways oflooking at things? How is it similar to the scientific approach to understanding the world?
In an intriguing three-part series, titled “Jewish Mysticism & Its Surprising Impact on our Beliefs , Behaviors, and Our Prayer Book,” Rabbi Mark Biller, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Ahm in Verona, will delved into these topics and how Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah show up in in our lives in ways we have never realized. The series was held on Monday, May 9, at noon; Tuesday, May 17, at 1 p.m.; and Wednesday, May 25 at 2 p.m. at the Morris County Library, 30 E. Hanover Ave., in Whippany. The series was under the auspices of Our Jewish World, coordinated by Ellen Nesson and Melanie Levitan.
The rabbi examined specific Kabbalistic texts, and talked about how Jewish principles apply to them. “We will talk about how revolutionary Kabbalah in the Middle Ages was in the eyes of rabbinic Judaism, and where it differed from traditional approaches,” he pointed out. “We will go through portions of Kabbalistic texts, relating them back to the Torah and showing how they are connected and how they seem to vary from the Torah.” In addition, he noted, “We will reveal how Kabbalistic influences created parts of the prayer book (the Siddur) that we read weekly. Most readers are unaware of the Kabbalistic influence, origin or intent of these now familiar prayers.”
This engaging series presented a new view of Jewish sources and gave people lots to think about.
A master storyteller, Rabbi Biller thoroughly enjoys teaching these classes and brings a fresh, bright outlook to Judaism’s traditional texts.
The rabbi specializes in counseling Jews of all ritual levels looking to find meaning in both modern life and rich Jewish traditions. The spiritual leader of synagogues in his native Canada, as well as in Alabama, New York and New Jersey, the rabbi received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also studied BiblioDrama with Peter Pitzele at the Union Theological Seminary, and completed a two-year Spiritual Direction course at Elat Chayyim, designed to help participants teach others how to identify and follow their own spiritual paths.