Torah Study: Peak Experiences in the Bible

Torah Study: Peak Experiences in the Bible

The Bible has many references to important experiences associated with mountains: Moriah, Sinai, Nebo, Carmel, Tabor, and so on (most of them on the scale of hills). Here are four biblical themes associated with mountains and ascent:

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Going Up and Coming Down the Mountain

Going Up and Coming Down the Mountain

While most people have peak experiences at one time or another, there are two challenges: their rarity and their evanescence. Peak experiences may be rare and fleeting “highs” lost in the rush of events and the passage of time. But if we can integrate them as part of a spiritual practice, we can harness their power to inspire inner growth and outer change.

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A Peak Experience on a Peak in Jerusalem

A Peak Experience on a Peak in Jerusalem

During one of my first visits to Jerusalem, on Tu Bishvat, the early spring New Year of Trees, my then fiance Avraham and I climbed the stairs to a rooftop on a building in Mount Zion, in the Old City.

Tzedakah for Spiritual Ascent

Tzedakah for Spiritual Ascent

There is a Jewish mystical concept that by the merit of giving tzedakah (or learning Torah or doing a good deed) in memory of a loved one, we can help their soul ascend on its journey (aliyat ha-neshamah) in the next world.

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Musar: Ethical Development as an Ascent

Musar: Ethical Development as an Ascent

Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair says, “Heedfulness leads to cleanliness, cleanliness leads to purity, purity leads to separation, separation leads to holiness, holiness leads to modesty, modesty leads to fear of sin, fear of sin leads to piety, piety leads to the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit leads to the resurrection of the dead, and the resurrection of the dead comes from Elijah, blessed be his memory, Amen

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Sharing Circle: Mountains

Sharing Circle: Mountains

Peak Experiences

Have you had an experience of trial, vision, spirituality or exaltation in a mountain environment?

Have you had a “peak” experiences (at any altitude)? What was it like?

Do you have any practice or do anything to nurture peak experiences? If you have one, how do you bring it “down the mountain” into your everyday life?

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“Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve; they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.”
― Anatoli Boukreev, Mountaineer

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