The Maharal, Rav Kook and others teach of the central theme on Purim of "Overturning"= V'Nahafoch Hu", but the question is: why is this so important? The class suggests 8 reasons why this concept is what convinced Yitro to convert to Judaism, and why this "boomerang" shows not only the irony and humor of God's history, but is so basic to understanding Judaism, justice, philosophy and more.
Every moral & thinking Jew has asked questions about certain mitzvot which don't seem to "jive" with the morality of God & the Torah itself! Rav Kook, as usual, bravely deals with these issues, & explains that "eternity" means that the Torah also had to be relevant to the primitive world in which it was given 3,300 yrs. ago. He differentiates between some actions, like slavery & bigamy, that had to be "allowed" temporarily in the ancient reality, but were never obligated. Nevertheless, 2 obligations (!) which seem "immoral" are regarding Amalek (killing & remembering-Zachor), & conquering the Land of Israel. But upon a closer look, they aren't immoral at all! When we lack prophets & Sanhedrin, the God Who runs History solves many problems!
All religious (or potentially religious) Jews have difficulty with mitzvot which seem to be outdated. How can a thinking Jew understand & identify with a Torah which allows slavery, bigamy or taking enemy women during war? This class also deals with many questions raised by women or feminists regarding the role of women in Judaism, laws of Aguna, divorce, the brachot of "Shelo Asani Isha" or "SheAsani KiRtzono", etc. Rav Kook, one of the most innovative & brave Gedolei HaDor, writes a lot on this issue of "updating", explaining & identifying with the Torah in a totally Orthodox way (on which no one can disagree), to bring the Torah closer to all. [It is the 1st part of the class on "Mitzvot Which Seem Immoral", also highly recommended!].
ome righteous people, like R. Shimon bar Yochai, already live as if they were in the world-to-come, with just minimal physical pleasure. Their priorities are so clear that they even have difficulty tolerating those who work & live in the "regular" world. The carob tree that miraculously grew for them in the cave, represents selflessness, where even one's planting is for their descendants, not for themselves. Similar to God, Who created this world out of altruism, for us, so too when one plants in Eretz Yisrael he's doing so for generations to come for Israel is our eternal home, as fruit-trees benefit coming generations. In Israel, when in Jewish hands, there's no ideal to separate from this physical world, for even the physical is holy.
We all know that Judaism stresses and even obligates us to marry and the importance of having a family life, but the question is, why was Moshe, the ideal Jew, davka told to separate from his wife? Rav Kook deals with the issue as he deals with R. Shimon Bar Yochai's similar separation from his wife and from his regular life. In addition to several other explanations, he compares Moshe Rabbenu with Adam and Mashiach..
The Noam Elimelech, Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk refers his top esteemed student Reb Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz to his brother Reb Zusha; to learn the one area left for him to learn, how to help & advise someone who is sinning.