Ask The Rabbi

Ask The Rabbi


What guidelines can we use to choose subject matter for our shiur?

The Rav Name:

When creating a new series of shiurs for a new audience, people often struggle with the question of which subjects should be discussed and taught, or used to create a connection with people.

Experience teaches us that topics about chassidus that relate to people’s everyday life and help them with their personal issues will always be interesting and relevant, and will encourage people to come back for more. These subjects include things like faith in Hashem, positive thinking, happiness, coping with disturbing thoughts, or struggling with making ends meet. These are issues that most people struggle with every day, each in his or her own way, so any study of these concepts will undoubtedly penetrate and speak to them. People are also interested in other subjects, such as the purpose of a soul’s descent, personal calling in life, relationships and education, human relations and friendships, and they feel that studying them would be a relevant activity.

So, any time you are unclear about which subject would best suit your audience, especially if the audience is new and unfamiliar as of yet, if no decision has been made about which direction the shiur will take, and if you don’t know what the appropriate level is for the shiur or who the gradually coalescing group of people will be, choosing one of these topics and conveying them clearly and in depth would be well advised.

Again, this is because every group or type of people needs to cope with these issues, so they will always be relevant and significant for them.