Researchers believe that some stress can help to fortify the immune system. For instance, stress can improve how your heart works and protect your body from infection. But on a deeper level, rising to challenges and overcoming them is the essence of life.
As a continuation of the class on "The Different Levels On Which G-d Runs the World", this class is on the different levels of sickness, whether ours or those around us. Just as fast-days are a self-induced weakness, which brings us to analyze our lives, priorities & actions, when God sends a sickness, it's not necessarily a punishment but rather a "wake-up call" to induce soul-searching. Life is comprised of such small incidents, some pleasant & others not, some direct & others less so, to keep us awake that we shouldn't live like robots, but rather utilize our Godly free-will to its utmost extent, keeping our lives meaningful & idealistic. Accordingly, even the "bad" messages are seen by Rav Kook as: The process of gradual good.
We find various rabbis in rabbinic literature who built their spirituality through fasting and depriving themselves of physical pleasure. Rav Kook explains that this is like "shock treatment" or bitter medicine, which healthy people don't need. In Torat Eretz Yisrael, the Living Torah most applicable to the modern world, the approach of unity is to reveal the harmony between the physical and spiritual worlds. In Israel, where even the physical is spiritual and the atmosphere is Jewish, it's much more conducive to living a life of modern orthodoxy without the dangers of losing our proportions, priorities or getting influenced by western society. Accordingly Rav Kook explains the machloket between Rava & Abaye in Masechet Shabbat.
We all know that if you don't have a goal, you can't score! We all have many goals, but is there one which encompasses and is the common denominator of them all? Such a definition will prevent us from feeling torn between the many goals and roles we have. One theory is that the goal of life is pleasure, which is the common denominator of all people. On the other hand, all those people also have an ideal for which they are willing to forego all of their pleasure, inferring that ideals supersede pleasure! The class suggests that these 2 theories are 1 and the same, for we all want pleasure, but ideals are not 3rd class (short-term) pleasure, nor 2nd class (long-term) pleasure, but rather 1st class, eternal pleasure.
Rav Kook divides life into 2 basic stages: First developing one's talents and spirituality, and only afterwards can one concentrate on giving and altruism, for only then does he have what to contribute.
Some believe that putting the intellect in charge means suffocating the emotions and limiting their flow. The opposite is true. The intellect's job is to allow emotions to flow freely, while at the same time directing them into the correct channels.
Look at the world through “eyes of sanctity,” with a point of view which strives to see the Divinity therein. Only the openness of a Torah point of view allows for true openness. Any other kind of openness will spell a divorce of man from himself.
Abraham used to establish a fixed place for prayer. A fixed place of prayer creates a firm bond between the worshiper and his prayer. It transforms the supplicant's worship into a firm foundation and unchanging element in the structure of his life.
It is forbidden to use arrogance in a contemptuous manner, placing oneself above others, yet there are certain situations in which one has to be bold, not reserved, and to know one's self-worth. Our sages teach that in the generation of the messiah chutzpah will abound.