Lectures by Rabbi Dr. Asher Wade

  1. A Pastor’s Conversion to Judaism (A `must’ for all first-time audiences.)  (75mins.)

–  This lecture begins with several divergent lines of introduction, weaving them together to build a “given” basis by which to quickly draw the audience into a familiar understanding and background of where Asher Wade is coming from. Next, it pin-points an unusual set of circumstances on a particular date together with a newspaper section dedicated to the 40th Anniversary of the German Kristalnacht.  Thereafter, he and his wife investigate a series of incriminating questions which shake the two pillars upon which they had built their lives; namely, Christianity in the Church and academics at university.  Following this soul-searching appraisal, Rabbi Wade relates over the more up-beat questions facing he and his wife regarding the Jews, Judaism and “just what it is that G-d wants human beings to do on planet earth”.  Rabbi Wade ties things up with some quite saber-like insights into Judaism for Jews who may never have seen things from the “outside looking in”.

  1.  From Pastor to Frum Jew –Judaism & Christianity: A Path of Discovery.  (55mins.)

–  This lecture features a brief historical overview of the main theological developments and doctrines of Christianity, four or five fundamental contradictions in the [so-called] “Gospel Truth”, and a concise explanation of how Torah Judaism is not only true, but plausibly provable.

  1.  G-d didn’t Die in Auschwitz – Answering the question: Where was G-d in the Holocaust?  (55mins.)

–  This lecture begins, firstly, with a brief introduction separating and explaining the “emotional” from the “intellectual” approaches on the Holocaust.  Next, there is a brief introduction as to several fundamental Torah principles regarding the structure of Creation which G-d has established for humans to perceive His providence. Thereafter, there is presented a brief history and build-up of anti-Semitism in Europe, followed by an analysis of the classic question, “Where was G-d in the Holocaust?”  After this, there is an examination of the traditional answers to this question by, first, the “secular humanist”, and thereafter, the “revisionist historian”.  Following this, we return to take an uncomfortable look at the way we, religious Jews, generally answer this question vis-à-vis the emotive anguish versus the cognitive facts and figures of the Holocaust, and then, finally, coming to a more plausible and therapeutic answer to the question: Where was G-d in the Holocaust?”

  1. What’s the Point? – Ethical Monotheism: The Purpose of Judaism  (55mins.)

–  This lecture came about after many years of being invited to speak at F.F.B. yeshivas (that is, “Frum From Birth”) and realizing that many bocherim knew all the ends-&-outs of Gemorra, Mishna Brura and Chumash-Rashi, but to pull back and see “the forest for the trees” (to try and answer the question: What IS the purpose of Judaism?) was quite novel.  Over all, this lecture first analyses the two words “Monotheism” and “Ethical”.  It begins with a philosophical presentation  regarding the “sufficient evidence” argument for the existence of G-d, comparing the inane secular attempts vis-à-vis the Torah perspective to this issue as presented by Rav Dessler.  The middle part of the lecture sets the stage for the answer to the main question (What is the purpose of Judaism?) by giving a very brief but concise overview of the history of Adam & Chava through Noach, through to Avraham & Sarah, up to Moshe and Mt. Sinai.  The conclusion of the lecture (i.e. attempting to answer the main question) is achieved by positing, of course, a very novel and intriguing – new – question which, in turn, produces the answer!

  1.  Prayer & Davening – The Personal Connection (flexible: 20mins. to 55mins.)

–  This has been one of my more popular lectures for two reasons: firstly, it addresses an issue in which we all need chizuk and guidance; secondly, the time-frame for this lecture is very flexible in making an essential and clarifying point; thus, this lecture is not only good for a usual 55mins. lecture, but can be fit properly in a 20mins. Shabbos morning drusha slot.  There are seven (7) major points made in the full 55mins. lecture.  There is the historical background of where davening came from; there is the word analysis of the terms we commonly use to refer to a “prayer service”; it deals with the subject of “fixed” prayers (using a prayer book; siddur) versus “free-form” prayers; it uses a lot of parables and stories to illustrate not only the structure, Halacha but also Mussar, and it even analyses why we use and need mussar-related stories.  The conclusion ties all these points together to answer the questions: Isn’t “prayer” and “davening” the same?, as well as to how to make that “personal connection”.

  1.  The Blessing: “…for not having made me as a woman.”        –Women’s Issues & Judaism: A `plagiarized’ lecture from my wife!   (55mins.)

–  This lecture came about through years of doing a weekly 3hr-shiur at Heritage House in the Old City of Jerusalem where I did a Tuesday evening, “Questions & Answers on Judaism” program (1991 to 1998).  The main point of this lecture is quite adequately answering the question regarding that sadly misunderstood brocha in the Siddur, “Blessed art Thou, … for not having made me as a woman.”  Once this has been answered (and de-fused!), all the other issues in Torah Law (which have been maligned and, therefore, misunderstood) regarding women’s obligations, rights and privileges are dealt with historically, halachically as well as psychologically.

  1.  Shabbos: The Day of the “Queen” – Where Work is not Work, & Do’s are not Don’t’s!   (55mins.)

–  As the ol`adage goes, “Shabbos has kept more Jews, than Jews have kept the Shabbos!”  This lecture clarifies why Saturday is Shabbos, but also explains why and how Shabbos has “kept” more Jews Jewish over the centuries.  The main point of this lecture is to present the master-formula for understanding, not only all the “do’s & don’ts” of Shabbos observance, but also just what the main objective of the Shabbos is at all!  The lecture is filled with intellectually sharp mussar illustrations which uplift as well as explain the clear message of “the greatest day of the week”, the day of the King.

  1.  E=MC?: Creation, Relativity & Metaphysics –Some Parallel Insights on Kaballah & Cosmology.  (this lecture has been known to easily go a full 2hrs. or more !!!,  … and, yes, without the audience complaining)

–  This is my all-time favorite lecture.  I was chastised by many of my former students that while I always told them to go back, after they had become baale tschuvahs, and m’kadesh [sanctify] their past studies and activities, I found that I had not done this in my own life.  This lecture allowed me to go back and m`kadesh my first doctoral dissertation (to a certain extent).  It primarily focuses on the kabbalistic adage that “everything can be learned out from the first pasuk (verse) in the Torah (Gen. 1:1), everything can be learned out from the first word (Bereshis), and everything can be learned out from the first letter (Bais).”  Does this lecture “prove” anything?  Nope, …not in the least; however, every audience which has survived my presentation has certainly understood “very deeply”  why that kabbalistic adage (above) is true.

  1.  “Parents-at-Risk” – Psycho-Social Reasons for Jewish Teen Dropouts  (55mins.)

– Though this is a very painful issue, it is, however, a necessary topic facing the Orthodox Jewish world.  A no-nonsense discussion as to the presuppositions which have caused this issue to rank as “THE number one priority”.  It presents solutions which can be acted upon “as soon as you go home”.  Novel approaches which have been gleaned over several decades of counseling.

  1. The ABC’s of Kiruv: A Kiruv Training Seminar  – Ten Major Points in Bringing Jews Back to Judaism  (55mins. to 90mins.)

–  Lists and discusses the 10 essential elements which have to be properly understood, practiced and lived-by in order to do kiruv effectively.

  1. Holocaust Seminar (The Highlights of my former Yad VaShem Tour)

– Due to my “forced retirement” from giving my Yad VaShem tour, I have already begun giving private family seminars as a pre-Yad VaShem discussion, or in the evenings after a visit to Yad VaShem as a wrap-up question-&-answer session, from a Torah perspective. These seminars are often held in the hotels where parents and adults are staying, or even in family apartments. Yeshivas and post-Bais Yaakov Seminaries should arrange with me to deliver this seminar at their institutes (as they often do for my other lectures throughout the school year). Visiting adults and parents should continue to contact me directly to make arrangements at their hotels to set up one of these sessions.