IG23-46. Aryeh Ben David says Love is what Judaism is all about. 

Ignite Your Heart and Soul with Sara Troy and her guest Areyh Ben David, on air form November 14th

The Secret of Love: A Glimpse into the Mystical Wisdom of Rav Kook  It’s obviously intended for a Jewish audience, but the principles and wisdom of Rav Kook really applies to everyone. It’s about how to become a more loving human being. 

This is a book about love, about how to become a more loving human being. It has been inspired by the writings of the contemporary mystic, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook (1865-1935). Author Aryeh Ben David says, “Though this may not be what we learned in school or synagogue, becoming a more loving human being is really what Judaism is all about. 

And even more than becoming more loving human beings in our personal relationships—don’t we sense that the larger world today is in desperate need of more love? The brokenness and anger present in Jewish life seems irreparable. Jews from different religious denominations and ideological views cannot sit together, much less respect each other’s positions and love each other. Our political arena has become toxic and awash with animosity.”

In our interview, Areyh Ben David can talk about some of the more surprising and insightful things he has learned:

  • Why Aryeh says that loving does not come to him naturally; the ways his life has changed since embracing Rav Kook’s approach to living a Jewish life
  • Why love as a purely emotional experience is restrictive. It is limited to the people we want to be with and can sometimes be selfish and self-serving
  • Our pleasure almost always derives from the achievement of a goal, and rarely on the process necessary to achieve that goal. What would our daily to-do list look like if we loved not only the product but also the process? Maybe it would look like this: Find God’s light while getting dressed; while preparing food; while waiting in line; while driving to work; while cleaning up. Find God’s light now
  • Loving all of humanity — how we can shift our perspective, to come from a place of humility with regard to other people’s opinions and ideologies
  • Obstacles to loving: Is there such a thing as “too much love?” Isn’t that contradictory to everything we’re talking about?
  • Why too much love cannot sustain a relationship for a long period of time – for relationships to stand the test of time, we need to periodically put boundaries in place 

“All of the Torah — ethics, mitzvot, learning, and practice — come to remove the obstacles that prevent an all-encompassing love from expanding and spreading to every corner of life, everywhere.” —Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  A world-renowned educator, Aryeh Ben David is committed to “plucking the soul strings” of teachers and students alike in order to transform how we learn and grow. He is the founder of Ayeka: Center for Soulful Education, which trains educators of all denominations, including campus professionals, and staff of middle and high schools, on how to teach Jewish subjects with more soulfulness, personal meaning and impact on life. Aryeh has taught at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem since 1987, where he was a member of the Senior Faculty and Director of Spiritual Education. He also served as the Rabbinical Educational Consultant for Hillel International from 2004 to 2007, and spearheaded their spiritual initiative throughout the United States. Previously Aryeh served as the Educational Director of Livnot U’Lehibanot from 1991- 96.He has been involved in the training of staff of countless organizations and lectures internationally. He is the author of 

Around the Shabbat Table, a Guide to Meaningful Shabbat Conversations (2000) and 

The Godfile, Ten Approaches To Personalizing Prayer (2007), 

Becoming a Soulful Educator: How to Bring Jewish Learning from Our Minds, to Our Hearts, to Our Souls and Into Our Lives (2016), and 

Hearing Your Own Voice: A Family Haggadah (2017) . Aryeh grew up outside of NYC and studied psychology at Vassar College. He came to Israel in 1978, studied at the Meretz yeshiva in Mevasseret Zion and received Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. He served in the Israeli army and now lives in Efrat, Gush Etzion, with his wife Sandra and their six children.  





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