Jewish Theology and Mysticism

Chabad at Oxford

What is the Basic Mitzvah of Chanukah?
A study of a manuscript of the Talmud at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
The Lowest Possible Place - Uncovering the Unlimited
The perpetual quest for unlimited knowledge and the acknowledgment of deficiency.
The 18th Century Jewish Mystical Work 'Tanya' in Manuscript
An analysis of the manuscript of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi's Tanya early edition, held at the British Library, London.
When Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaKohen Kook and Professor Abraham Joshua Heschel Met
The importance of joy and meaning in the service of G-d.
Dogma and Accidental Heresy in Medieval Jewish Philosophy
What must a Jew believe?
Fundamental Ideas Lost from Mainstream Judaism
Oftentimes, taking on more religious actions and worrying about reward and punishment fill the contemporary Jewish rhetoric. But there are fundamentals that run deeper and embolden our unique personal value, self-development, and loving bond with G-d. In this talk, we will explore some fundamental Jewish ideas upon which all of Judaism is built.
The Image of King David In Maimonides' Mishneh Torah
How Maimonides draws on King David in describing love and fear of G-d and the concept of Moshiach.
The Timing of Shabbat—Individual, Communal, and Universal
How do we know that the day we observe as Shabbat is in fact Shabbat? Is it possible to observe Shabbat on a different day?
Rosh Hashanah, the Land of Israel, and the World in Chabad Chassidic Thought
How the vitality of the world is dependent on the blowing of the shofar.
The Power of Self Development
How to harness the power of teshuva during the month of Elul.
Two Faces of Man and Their Integration
A synopsis of a discourse of the Lubavitcher Rebbe titled "Atem Nissavim" delivered on the 24th of Elul 5734 (1974).
How to Leave Egypt Today
Attaining Spiritual Freedom through Daily Prayer
Three Modes of Leadership
Moses, Mordechai, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe—leadership under different circumstances.
Why Purim Will Last Forever
Will the festivals be nullified in the times of Moshiach? What about the festival of Purim?
Purim and Reaching for the Infinite
Perspectives on Purim from the Second Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Dovber.
Individuality and Oneness
How can we as individuals forge a relationship with G-d in His all encompassing reality? An adapted discourse of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Going out of Egypt in All Circumstances
We have the innate ability to transcend our current struggles, however burdensome they seem to be, and leave Egypt in a real way. Based on a Discourse of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Bati L'Gani Unpacked
A concise synopsis of the major themes dealt with in the discourse series known as 'Bati LeGani' by the last two Lubavitcher Rebbes—'a literary edifice of the 20th Century'.
Mystical Transactions and the Chabad Chassidic Discourse
How the chasidut said by a Rebbe relates to each individual listener, creating a mystical transaction.
Why Sing? Virtues of Music in Early Chasidic Sources
A study on the importance of melody in the Chasidic tradition.
Controlled Ecstasy
Audio | 40:13
Controlled Ecstasy
Incrementalism and the absolute in the inner life
Negotiating the Tension Between Thought and Action in Jewish Thought
Is action really the focus? What is action without thought? Are we to be Hamlet or Ophelia?
What Does
A word widely used, but what does it actually mean? Various translations are given, including, "holy", "sanctified" and "separate". Which is most accurate?
From Zohar to Hasidic Teachings
Tracing the evolution of Kabbalistic and Chassidic thought, how Zoharic thought is incorporated into Chassidic philosophy.
Between the Sacred and Profane
Monosim: Is there anything apart from G-d. Do we exist? How can we actualize monism?
Hasidism in the 18th Century – Bridging the Divide
What is the distinction between Hasidism and Mitnagdim? What caused the emergence of these groups? And where in the general Hasidic movement, does Chabad-Lubavitch stand?
Why Rabbi Schneur Zalman Picked an Atypical Version of Elokai Nishamah
Comparing variant versions of the morning prayer Elokai Nishamah found in some of the earliest manuscripts of the Talmud. Examining how Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi applies one particular version in his Tanya.
The Talmud and the Mystical Tradition
What can mysticism tell us about halacha?
To what extent is Jewish mysticism rooted in the Talmud? Examining the interplay between the mystical dimension of the Torah and the Halachic corpus.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe on Evolution
How the Lubavitcher Rebbe approached the perceived conflict between Torah and evolutionary science.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe on the 'Great Shofar'
What happens when we sound the shofar on Rosh Hashanah? A comparison between the shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah and the shofar of the Messiah. The Lubavitcher Rebbe's interpretation of an enigmatic passage from Isaiah.
Understanding the Chabad Movement in the Twentieth Century
Yitzhak Kraus describes the journey that led to his discovering the explanation for the energetic motivation Chabad has for its mission of spreading Judaism.
Is Technology Changing How We Engage with Religion?
The fascinating convergence of technology and religion, from yeshivas in Brooklyn to the traditional family Seder.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe's Valorization of the Feminine
The masculine and the feminine in Chabad thought, based on two discourses given by the seventh Chabad Rebbe in the winter of 1965.
Rosh Hashanah and the Beginning of Chassidic History
The Baal Shem Tov's mystical ascent and encounter with Moshiach in 1746
Fascinating analysis of an account by the Baal Shem Tov of his ascent on-high, into the chamber of Moshiach.
The Democratization of Knowledge in the Jewish Tradition
An open culture of learning does not automatically lead to relativism
In the Jewish tradition study and knowledge has always been seen as open to all, regardless of socioeconomic status or lineage. But where is the line between intellectual openness and anarchy, between interpretive licence and relativism?
The Single Reality of G-d
Monism in the thought of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Divine monism and creation: the paradox of otherness, human existence, and freedom of choice.
A Chassidic Tract for Non-Jews
A chink in the wall of the Ghetto
The Lubavitcher Rebbe's curious choice to print an obscure manuscript in the dark days following the Second World War.
Saadia Gaon, Maimonides and their Islamic Interlocutors
Five philosophers on G-d, creation, and the health of the soul
Al-Kindi, Al-Razi and Ibn-Tufal were three influential Muslim thinkers who participated in a great intellectual endeavor alongside the most famous Jewish philosophers of the medieval era.
Nurturing Your Divine Spark
Two processes of personal worship that integrates G-d in the lowly world
G-d has an inner longing to be made at home in the lowest levels of existence. It is the mission of man to achieve this through two complementary processes of personal worship, first drawing inspiration from above, and secondly raising the world up from below.
The Power of Charity
Charity as a redemptive and theurgic process
Tracing the history and significance of charity as a channel to influence a heavenly decree, examining Scriptural, Rabbinic, and Chassidic sources.
Does Being Spiritual Mean Rejecting Our Bodies?
Jewish approaches to asceticism from the Mishnah to Chassidic teachings
Some Jewish commentators saw the conflict between body and soul as insurmountable, others saw it as non-existent, yet others saw it as an opportunity for a step by step process of mystical synthesis