Rabbi Nachum Meth's Classes

With a  dynamic and engaging ​flare, Rabbi Meth’s classes inspire by combining practical Torah insights with interesting stories and observations.  From business to relationships, personal growth to crisis and tragedy, the messages are relevant and applicable, and will help you live a more successful and spiritual life

Is Judaism correct? With so many religions out there, is there a way to determine which one is right? As a Jew, why should I assume that we have it right?
Depending on how you count, there are around a dozen major religions practiced today, with several hundred sub-sects and several thousand sub-sects of those sub-sects, as well as several hundred (if not thousand) smaller religions. And Judaism is practiced by less than a quarter of a percent of the world’s population. How do we know that Judaism is right? Can we know that any religion is right? Maybe all religions are right? Or maybe they are all wrong? In this Foundations Class we will search for—and hopefully find—answers.

Parsha: Yisro

Is Judaism Correct?

Paul Allen: 165
Garry Kasparov: 190
Stephen Hawking: 160
Albert Einstein: 160-190
IQ tests are generally regarded as reliable and valid ways of measuring broad elements of intelligence. 100 is the median score and each 15 IQ point shift represents a standard deviation, so those who score above 130 are in the the top 2.5 percentile of intelligence. Scoring over 145 means you are of the smartest people on Earth, as the list of the people above indicates. So scoring over 190 guarantees you to be one of the most influential intellectuals in society. Right?
This Foundations Class explores the multiple levels of intelligence, and looks for difference between intelligence and wisdom.

Parsha: Veshev

The Unwise Genius: Intelligence vs. Wisdom

Do you have some important goals in your life but you just can’t find the motivation to achieve them? Have you ever set out to accomplish something but got frustrated along the way and gave up? Maybe a failed diet, a great business idea that you gave up on, a practical religious goal that you no longer work towards, or a romantic or social relationship that you no longer put in the necessary effort for it to flourish?
Get motivated in this Foundations Class and learn a powerful lesson from the Temple Service that can re-energize and re-motivate us to work towards those important abandoned goals.

Parsha: Vayikra

Get Motivated!

Mr. A grew up in poverty. His mother died when he was 9, had a bad relationship with his father, and his girlfriend died at 22. He eventually married a woman he never really loved and had a really a bad marriage. He buried 2 of his 4 children. He was awkward in appearance and considered ugly by most. He was cluttered and messy. As an attorney, his colleagues unilaterally removed him from one of the most important case he would ever work on. He likely suffered from depression all his life.
Mr. B was incredibly influential. He was beloved by his friends, had an incredible sense of humor, was one of the best story-tellers of his time, and had an uncanny ability to bring out the best from others. He was absolutely brilliant yet totally relatable. He was a warm and affectionate father, and held deep and lasting relationships even with people who disagreed with him.
Mr. A and Mr. B seem to have very different lives. Can you identify who Mr. A and Mr. B are? What if I told you they are actually the same person, and you know who he is?
Life is mixture: full of ups and downs, peaks and valleys. Watch this Foundations Class where we will take a closer look at the life of Jacob, and learn lessons on how to cope with challenges as well as successes.

Parsha: Vayigash

Balancing Life’s Up’s And Down’s

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude and appreciation, especially for the freedoms that we enjoy in this great country. Jews thought the last two millennia could hardly have imagined a country with so many freedoms that we have today. We should never take those freedoms for granted. We should also never take for granted the unlikely path to how we got them. Watch this class for a pre-Thanksgiving Torah perspective on gratitude and appreciation, and to reflect on some of the incredible and unlikely stories behind the American Revolution and the Constitution that enabled us to have those freedoms.

Parsha: Vayeitzei

Thanksgiving, The American Revolution, And The Bill Of Rights

Itzhak Perlman is one of the most accomplished violinists of our lifetime. He has won 4 Emmys and 15 Grammys, performed for several presidents as well as the the Queen of England, and has honorary degrees from many distinguished school such as Juilliard's, Harvard, and Yale. In this Foundations Class we will discover a proven approach to success from this week’s Torah portion, and see how it has transformed Perlman’s career.

Parsha: Vayechi

Itzhak Perlman’s Path To Success

On November 26, 2008, Delta Airlines Flight 18 from Shanghai to Atlanta was flying at 39,000 feet when its right engine failed. The crew of the Boeing 777 analyzed their gauges and dials, diagnosed the situation, and applied a specific procedure that successfully restarted the engine. The crisis was averted so smoothly that none of the passengers on board knew there was ever a problem. Untold stories such as this one likely happen more often than we realize. This particular story is remarkable because had it happened a year earlier, the plane would have almost certainly been doomed. In this class we will learn powerful and practical lessons on improvement and success from the story of Flight 18.

Parsha: Vaeschanan

Learning From Mistakes: The Story Of Flight 18

In 2002, Jack Whittaker won $314 million dollars playing the Powerball lottery. At the time it was the largest single winning jackpot ever won in the United States. It was the worst thing that ever happened to him. “I wish that we had torn the ticket up,” he told Time last year. Since winning the lottery, his daughter and granddaughter have died from from drug overdoses, he was almost killed by conspirers attempting to rob him, and he has faced several fierce lawsuits. Today, he is broke.
Lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within five years than the average American. Additionally, studies have shown that winning the lottery does not necessarily make you happier or healthier. Why? In this Foundations Class we will learn a powerful insight from this week’s Torah portion on sustainability.

Parsha: Vaera

“Winning the Lottery Was The Worst Thing To Ever Happen To Me!”

Cape Town, South Africa, is on the verge of becoming the first major city to run out of water. The apocalyptic Day Zero—the day the city’s water supply fails and tap water is shut off—ranges from only a few weeks to a few months away. Meanwhile, residents have had to learn extreme water-saving rationing: practices like flushing the toilet only once a day, limiting showering durations to literally seconds, and avoiding washing dishes.
In this Foundations Class we will talk about Passover and this week’s Torah portion, and discover how the Cape Town water crisis is a cautionary tale that teaches us valuable lessons far beyond water conservation.

Parsha: Tzav

Cape Town's Water Crises

Cursing is on the rise in the United States.
Some accounts suggest that, on average, Americans use profanity a staggering one out of every 200 words. According to a study by Timothy Jay, a psychology professor who has been studying swearing trends since the 1970s, the average adolescent uses roughly 80 to 90 swear words a day. Another study indicates a 28 times increase in the use of swear words found in books published in 2005-2008 and books published in the early 1950s.
But should the rise in profanity really be something we should worry about? We have significant issues facing our society: sharp political divides, hostile foreign regimes, frightening domestic crime rates—is something as common and minor as swearing something that we should be concerned about?
We will discuss it in this Foundations Class!

Parsha: Toldos

Cursing

We all live busy and chaotic lives, and it can be very hard to see spirituality throughout the day. Carpools, meetings, uncooperative teenagers, uncooperative coworkers, traffic, grocery shopping, phone calls, difficult clients, difficult toddlers, going to the dentist, going to the mechanic, in-laws, homework, housework, the DMV: our days are mostly filled with the mundanely hectic drudgeries of life, and that can lead us to want to escape to a more peaceful and blissful spiritual place. But where is that place to be found? On a mountaintop in Tibet? At the Wall in Jerusalem? Where is spirituality located and how can we get there?

Parsha: Terumah

Where To Find Spirituality In Our Hectic Lives

Trust is one of the most critical elements in any relationship, be it with our spouse, our children, our friends, or our coworkers. And understanding the ingredients that make for trust in those relationships is essential for building trust in our relationship with God. In this Foundations Class, we identify the key components of trust within a relationship. We will look at great examples of trust (and mistrust) in a relationship from Malcolm Butler, an aviation crisis, the pharmaceutical industry, cell phones, a dating website, and the LA Dodgers. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!

Parsha: Shoftim

In God We Trust

Roger Clemens was one of the greatest pitchers in recent memory. He played for an incredible 24 years building up one of the greatest pitching resumes ever assembled: 4,672 strikeouts, a 3.12 ERA, 354 wins, 7 Cy Young Awards, and the list goes on. But he will be remembered most for his alleged steroid use—allegations that he has denied but have kept him out of baseball’s Hall of Fame. The Clemens saga is a powerful example of the challenges in honesty that to some degree we all face, and will be part of this Foundations Class.

Parsha: Shmini

Roger Clemens And Steroid Abuse

Optical illusions take advantage of the gap between our perceptions of reality and the actuality of what reality is. How our minds perceive the world around us is not always an accurate representation of that world. In this Foundations Class we discuss how that gap between reality and perception greatly impacts our lives, and how we can make sure our decisions are grounded in reality.

Parsha: Shemos

Optical Illusions

In 1936, Dr. Richard Cabot organized a program in Boston that placed hundreds of juvenile delinquents into a mentoring program. The idea was that these at-risk kids would have positive outcomes if they had good role models to connect with. For a few years, these boys were matched with wholesome role models who would counsel them, tutor them, and engage them in productive activities. How do you think these children turned out when they were 20? When they were 30? When they were 50? In this class, we will learn a powerful lesson from the prohibition of “Ba’al Tosef,” adding on to the Torah. And about that mentoring program - you might be a bit amazed by the results!

Parsha: Re’eh

Dr. Richard Cabot’s Program For Juvenile Delinquents

We tend to disproportionately worry about things that are, statistically speaking, highly unlikely. We fear dying in car crashes, airplane crashes, earthquakes, storms, terrorist acts, and shark attacks. However, the odds of those events occurring are extremely slim:
car accident: 1 in 18,585
act of nature: 1 in 225,107
airplane accident: 1 in 354,319
terrorist attack: 1 in 650,000

There is a higher probability of being eaten by a mountain lion in California (1 in 32 million) or being struck by aircraft parts falling randomly from the sky (1 in 10 million) than a shark attack (1 in 300 million). I know people who have altered their vacation plans after hearing reports of a shark attack on the news, yet never once met someone who doesn't go for walks under the flight paths of airplanes. On the other hand, we tend not to proportionally focus on far more prevalent issues: 
Stroke: 1 in 6
Breast cancer: 1 in 9
Getting the flu this year: 1 in 10
Depression: 1 in 10
Why do unlikely possibilities take up a disproportionate amount of our concerns?
Watch this Foundations Class for a Torah-based answer, and learn a powerful lesson from the last mitzvah in the Torah that is essential for growth.

Parsha: Nitzavim

Shark Attacks And Torah Scrolls

Ashley Madison, an online dating service specifically marketed to married people, has approximately 37 million users. Their slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” According to the Associated Press, 22 percent of married men and 14 percent of married women admit to infidelity. In this Foundation Class we will study a Torah insight examining why spouses cheat, and look for attitudes and approaches prescribed by the Torah to help ensure that we don’t end up cheating.

Parsha: Naso

Infidelity

Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration, or IMAGE for short, was a satellite launched by NASA in March, 2000 to learn more about the magnetosphere—the mysterious protective layer around Earth that shields us from the destructive forces of the solar winds. The satellite taught us a great deal about the magnetosphere; however, in 2005 NASA lost contact with IMAGE when its radio system failed, and 2006 NASA officially declared IMAGE’s mission over.
Or so they thought. A few weeks ago, an amateur radio tracker in Canada found IMAGE’s signal and NASA is now working to re-open IMAGE’s mission.
There are different kinds of mitzvahs. Some, called mishpatim, are rational: don’t kill, don’t steal, do kindness. Others, called chukim, can not be defined by rational principals: eating Kosher, shatnez, the Red Heifer.In this Foundations Class we will discuss how lessons from the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of IMAGE offer perspective on the mysterious laws of the Torah that, in turn, can help us deal with the mysterious parts of our lives.

Parsha: Mishpatim

The Rediscovery Of NASA’s Missing Satellite

Chemotherapy, although one of the most difficult forms of medical treatment, often saves lives. However, when traditional forms of chemotherapy have failed and patients are faced with a dire prognosis, they will often turn to extreme forms of chemotherapy. And sometimes these radical treatments produce positive results. Sadly, it often does not. In either event, the vulnerability of these patients can create the perfect storm for false hope and medical fraud. In this class we review this week’s Torah portion, talk about one of the most complicated and fascinating personalities in the entire Torah, and learn practical lessons for everyday life from an incredible story of one of the biggest and most scandalous examples of fraudulent medical research.

Parsha: Korach

Lessons From A Chemotherapy Research Scandal

Why do people like the taste of Coke better when it is consumed from a brand-named cup? Why do patients experience less pain when medication is administered openly by a doctor as opposed to being administered by a hidden machine? And why was it that, in the middle of an All-Star career, second baseman Chuck Knoblauch suddenly could not make the simple throw to first base? In this Foundations Class we will learn a lesson from an unusual mitzvah, and discuss how our sensations, experiences, and abilities are impacted by expectations.

Parsha: Ki Seitzei

Placebo Effect And State Of Mind

Steve Jobs changed the world. His genius, artistry, determination, and entrepreneurship revolutionized multiple industries. But there was a dark side to Jobs—he was often aggressive, mean spirited, and ruthless. Could he have achieved all of his accomplishments without that dark side? In this class we will discuss what it means to be G-d-like, and use lessons from the career and life of Steve Jobs to help us develop productive life goals.

Parsha: Ki Savo

The Dark Side Of Steve Jobs

The Apocalypse. The Rapture. Who will win this year’s Kentucky Derby? Is the real estate market going to go up or down? Who will win the next presidential election?
Humans are enamored by predictions and forecasts. However, despite what the pundits and experts may say, study after study confirm that we are lousy at predicting the future. Watch this class for a discussion on forecasting and prognosticating - my prediction is that you will have a great time!

Parsha: Kedoshim

Predictions And Forecasts

Harry Truman had the lowest presidential approval rating in the history of the Gallup poll.
Reggie Jackson struck out the most times in the history of baseball.
Steve Jobs was an awful father.
Brett Favre threw the most interceptions in the history of the NFL.
In this Foundations Class we will take a closer look at the lives of these people, and learn how their stories are our stories as well.

Parsha: Emor

Massively Successful People Often Have Massive Flaws

We live in a fast-paced world: we get annoyed when our fast food order is 30 seconds late, when our high speed internet isn’t blazing fast, or when our Amazon Now order arrives in three hours. A common casualty of this frenetic pace is patience. Yet, patience is a virtue. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.” In this class we will rediscover the art of patience and learn how patience is a powerful tool for spiritual growth. We will also discuss a recent study that shows how patience can improve your soccer skills, and learn how patience averted disaster during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Parsha: Chukas

A Guy Called Vasili Arkhipov Saved The World

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
– Muhammad Ali
In this Foundations Class, we explore the powerful relationship between kindness to others and kindness to self, as well as the destructive reverse relationship of cruelty to others and cruelty to self.

Parsha: Chayei Sarah

Kindness, Shame, And Loving Oneself

Global warming is a confusing issue. On the one hand, if the global warming alarmists are accurate, there is real reason for concern and to take action. On the other hand, if the global warming non-believers are correct, we are wasting a lot of resources on a fictional concern. The fact that most of the country has experienced a colder than usual winter (except in Vegas where this winter seems milder than usual) makes things even more confusing: are colder temperatures evidence against global warming, or is it evidence to climate change; a side effect of global warming? Or, perhaps, a slightly colder winter is just a normal one year downward variation in the much larger, decades-long general upward trend of rising temperatures and global warming. Who is right?
In this Foundations Class where we will take a closer look at this week’s Torah portion and uncover a classic human bias we all have interpreting new information.

Parsha: Bo

Global Warming

A wise rabbi once taught me that any two people who are in a long-term meaningful relationship will, as a rule, encounter significant conflict and turbulence at some point. A husband and wife. A parent and child. Employee and employer. Good friends. Coworkers. Relationships are complicated. If we want our meaningful relationships to be successful, we need to actively work on deepening, strengthening, and understanding them. In this Foundations Class we discuss three insights that can help us fortify our relationships so that they endure doing those times of conflict.

Parsha: Beshalach

Managing The Inevitable Conflicts In Our Relationships

Are you planning on buying a new or used car?
Have you purchased a new or used car recently?
If so, you probably spent some time considering fuel efficiency. With gas prices so unpredictable, fuel economy is a major factor in deciding what model car to buy. But are you sure that you are looking at fuel efficiency correctly?
This is a special pre-Yom Kippur Foundations Class. We will discuss a refreshingly new approach to the holiday as well as to our overall relationship with the Almighty. It will be fuel for your soul!

Holidays: Yom Kippur

Miles Per Gallon?

John Wooden was one of the greatest coaches in the history of American athletics. Between 1963—1975, Wooden’s UCLA Bruins won ten NCAA national championships, including a record stretch of 7 in a row. No other team has ever won more than 2 in a row. In this class we talk about Tisha B’Av and learn one of the first lessons that Coach Wooden would teach his players - a profoundly fundamental lesson that will help us become better people.

Holidays: Tisha B'Av

John Wooden’s Socks

John Wooden was one of the greatest coaches in the history of American athletics. Between 1963—1975, Wooden’s UCLA Bruins won ten NCAA national championships, including a record stretch of 7 in a row. No other team has ever won more than 2 in a row. In this class we talk about Tisha B’Av and learn one of the first lessons that Coach Wooden would teach his players - a profoundly fundamental lesson that will help us become better people.

Holidays: Tisha B'Av

John Wooden's Socks Part 2

928, 253, 402, 192, 642, 231, 287, 412, 263, 201
What do these numbers have in common?
476, 924, 183, 208, 649, 304, 612, 364, 921, 803
What do these numbers have in common? A little harder to figure out than the first series, right?
In this class we talk about Sukkot and discuss a powerful lesson from the mitzvah of Sukkah, and learn how some of the greatest blessings in our lives are from things we don’t see.

Holidays: Sukkos

What Do The Numbers 476, 924, 183, 208, 649, And 304 Have In Common?

The holiday of Shavuot celebrates the Jews receiving the Torah at Sinai. There is an ancient Jewish tradition of eating dairy on Shavuot—thus explaining why there are three high-caloric cheesecakes in my fridge mocking my attempts to eat healthy. Why do we eat dairy on Shavuot, and, perhaps more noteworthy, why do we celebrate Shavuot on the date that, as it turns out, was not even the actual day when the Jews received the Torah? Watch this Foundations Class for a delicious insight into the meaning of the holiday.

Holidays: Shavuot

Cheesecake And Toxic Relationships

A lesson from the Purim story could have saved the National Basketball Association almost one billion dollars.
In 1974, the Carolina Cougars, a basketball team in the now defunct American Basketball Association, relocated to St. Louis and renamed their team the St. Louis Spirits, in honor of the famous airplane. A journalist in his first year of broadcasting named Bob Costas was their broadcaster, and in 1976 the team signed second-year player and eventual Hall of Famer Moses Malone. But that was their last year. The more popular NBA acquired the struggling ABA and absorbed most of their teams; however the Spirits were bought out in the deal and disbanded. The unimaginable story of the ramifications of that buyout teaches us perhaps one of the most critical lessons in both business dealings and personal growth, and is a modern-day example of one of the deeper lessons from the Purim story. Watch this class for a basketball story, some business-deal advice, and a Purim lesson that can make you a better person and might just save you a billion dollars!

Holidays: Purim

The St. Louis Spirits

We are witnessing the generic-ization of Chanukah. Take, for example, the following two quotes, both taken from major media outlets:
“I hope that what people will take away from Chanukah this year is a greater commitment to connecting with people who are different from us and appreciating the value of pluralism and diversity in our world today.”
“We want to offer our community a different type of gift: an opportunity to celebrate what Chanukah is all about by engaging in service with neighbors, boosting joy and building relationships with others. We also offer a service geared to those burdened by grief, loneliness, sadness or pain. Readings, music, lighting of candles and a message of hope are planned.”
One of these quotes was originally about Christmas, but I changed it to Chanukah. Can you tell which one? What if I told you that one of the quotes was originally about Passover, or Thanksgiving, or Easter, and I switched it to Chanukah? Does the fact that all of these options are plausible highlight that we have stripped Chanukah into a generic holiday? If we can just insert any beautiful message about connection, family, hope, community, diversity, boosting joy, or any other important but generic value and still feel like we are talking about Chanukah—doesn’t that mean we are missing something?
In this Foundations Class where we will try to de-genericize Chanukah and re-focus its true message.

Holidays: Chanukah

The Generic-ization of Chanukah

The Dreyfus Affair was one of the most important events in modern Jewish history, and its repercussions and reverberations are still with us today. In this Foundations Class we will discuss the story of Alfred Dreyfus: how a French army captain was falsely accused of espionage, how antisemitism defined his trial, and how the Jewish and global responses shaped the major world events of the Twentieth Century and beyond. And how does God fit into the story?

History

The Dreyfus Affair

There is an old custom when visiting the Western Wall to write one's prayers on a piece of paper and insert it into the wall. A day after the IDF captured Jerusalem, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan inserted his prayer into the wall. Not surprisingly, after he left the media was sure to see what he wrote on that piece of paper. What Dayan wrote - a secular Israeli with little religious background - will surprise you, and it sums up the entire Six Day War. Watch this Foundations class for the story of a Miracle In Our Day.

A Torah Perspective On Yom Yerushalayim And The Six Day War

A Miracle In Our Day

How big of a concern are Christian missionaries to the Jewish Community?
Well, according to the 2013 Pew Research Center survey “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” one out of three Jews feel that believing that Jesus was the messiah is compatible with being Jewish.
Watch this Foundations Class to learn about this important topic

A Torah Perspective

Jews For Jesus?

Why do we make choices? Do we actually make choices? Are our decisions simply the mathematical sum of our nature and nurture? This Foundations class: A Torah Perspective On Free Will.

A Torah Perspective

Free Will

How old is the universe?
Does the Torah agree with Darwinian Evolution?
Does science contradict the Torah’s Genesis narrative?
Join us for a Torah-based discussion about these topics as well as other issues pertaining to Creation & Evolution.

A Torah Perspective

Creation And Evolution