MyLife: Chassidus Applied Episode 143 with Rabbi Simon Jacobson
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How does Chassidus explain the relevance of Chanukah to our personal lives? What is Chanukah’s message for us today?
The recent discussion of challenges facing our community leads to another question: With many challenges prevalent in community life, is it always best to stay in one’s existing community? If life will be easier, more affordable and perhaps of better quality somewhere else, is it ever enough of a reason to leave a community?
Here’s the situation: I’m a Brooklynite in an arranged marriage with another Brooklynite from a very young age. I’m now 30 years old and have 7 children. We’re the type of family that has the educated professional husband, the stay-at-home mom and an $80,000 annual wage. How can a family like this pay the rent and tuition and living expenses? The community effect makes it very hard for a couple to get up and move to a more affordable area, if such a thing even exists. To sum it up there aren’t many options for kids growing up in a tight knit community and it leaves me wondering if the community effect is worth all the hassle.
For people employed in non-religious workplaces, figuring out how to infuse the place with Yiddishkeit is a delicate matter. On the one hand, things must be kept professional which usually silences religious discussion. On the other hand, a certain comradery is formed between co-workers and this friendship can lead to having a positive influence. How can one effectively and appropriately be a Shliach in his/her workplace?
As Chassidim, we are supposed to spread awareness of Hashem wherever we go, and promote observance of mitzvos. I work in a professional setting, in which most of my co-workers are not Jewish, and where it would be considered quite inappropriate to talk about religious topics in the workplace. In such a setting, what could I or should I do to have a good influence on my co-workers? Also, is it appropriate to go to work-related social activities with them, e.g. a department picnic, or a goodbye luncheon for an employee who is leaving?
With so many horrific events going on around the world, people feel compelled to do something. Does Torah instruct us to remain silent and passive in face of injustice, or should we protest and raise our voices about these issues?
Is silence in face of what’s going on in Syria a crime? Should we be condemning, helping the people in need, or protesting the killings. What is the moral, Chasidic and Torah standpoint regarding our responsibility? It is my understanding that the Rebbe was against public protests on behalf of the Jews in the former Soviet Union. Is this a policy across the board, or is there room for public protests in other situations? Even if we have an important job to do, which takes priority over all else, does that mean that we should ignore injustices that we are aware of?
Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in last year’s MyLife: Chassidus Applied essay contest: “Bitachon: A Life-Altering Tool” by Yisrael Best, “Hedonism and the Jewish Soul” by Chaya Sara Gurewicz, and “The Chassidic secret to Emotional Health” by Akiva Greenbaum. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/essays.
And finally, the Chassidus question of the week: Iggeres Hakodesh Chapter 11 begins with a statement: One should have no personal desires from material things like children, health and parnoso. What I can’t understand is why children are considered a material thing to want. What does Tanya mean by including children in the list of material things we should have no desire for?
This hour-long dose of insights is meant to inform, inspire and empower us by applying the teachings of Chassidus to help us face practical and emotional challenges and difficulties in our personal lives and relationships. To have your question addressed, please submit it at meaningfullife.com/mylife.
The topics in this Sunday’s hour-long broadcast will include:
· Chassidus Applied to Chanukah and Miketz
· The greatest challenges facing our community today Part II
· Do the benefits of community life outweigh the struggles?
· How to be a shliach in a secular workplace?
· Challenges in a non-religious workplace
· Is public protesting ever acceptable?
· What is meant by the word ‘proof’ in Torah? Is it different than a scientific proof?
· Political differences in marriage: follow-up
· Chassidus Question: What does Tanya (Iggeret HaKodesh 11) mean by including children in the list of material things we should have no desire for?
· MyLife Essays: Bitachon: A Life-Altering Tool, Hedonism and the Jewish Soul, The Chassidic Secret to Emotional Health
In what has now become a staple in so many people’s lives, MyLife: Chassidus Applied addresses questions that many people are afraid to ask and others are afraid to answer. When asked about the sensitive topics he has been addressing, Rabbi Simon Jacobson commented, “I understand that the stakes are high and great care has to be taken when speaking openly, but the silence and lack of clarity on matters plaguing the community can no longer go unaddressed. The stakes of not providing answers are even higher.”
The on-going series has provoked a significant reaction from the community, with thousands of people viewing each live broadcast and hundreds of questions pouring in week after week. At the root of every question and personal challenge tackled by the series is the overarching question: Does Judaism have the answers to my personal dilemmas?
In inimitable “Jacobson-fashion”, the broadcast answers people’s questions in simple, clear language while being heavily sourced. Each episode is jam-packed with eye-opening advice from the Rebbeim, gleaned from uncovering surprising gems in their letters, sichos and maamorim that address our personal issues with disarming relevance. Simultaneously, Rabbi Jacobson is able to crystallize a concept quickly, succinctly, and poignantly for any level of listener.
All episodes are immediately available for viewing in the MLC’s archive and can be downloaded as MP3s for listening on the go.
Questions may be submitted anonymously at meaningfullife.com/mylife