Chassidus Applied Episode 135, with Rabbi Simon Jacobson
MyLife MP3s are available to download from the Meaningful Life Center Shop. Become a free member today and receive unlimited Mylife MP3 downloads.
How do we deal with the post-holiday blues?
Does Chassidus provide all the answers to our psychological issues? If yes, why is it so difficult to derive these answers from the teachings of Chassidus?
Is underage drinking at Farbrengens acceptable?
If Chassidus is supposed to refine people, why is it that some chassidishe bochurim are obnoxious and insensitive? Some don’t know how to be a true friend, and how to keep secrets. Often the not chassidishe bochurim are the nicer ones. Shouldn’t it be the opposite?
Is Chassidishe hashkafah compatible with Halacha?
Rabbi Jacobson will address these relevant issues in this week’s 135th episode of MyLife: Chassidus Applied.
“I commend you for your MyLife: Chassidus Applied series, which demonstrates how Chassidus provides the answers to our deepest struggles and life questions. However many still find it hard to apply the teachings of Chassidus to their every day issues and experiences. How can it be that after all the teachings gifted to us by our Rebbeim we are still struggling with how Chassidus applies to “my life”?
“If Torah and specifically Chassidus is the ultimate truth, the blueprint of everything in the world, then why is it that for many areas in our life we need to come on to secular thought. For example, psychological issues like anger management, having inappropriate thoughts, or for people that need a job, a GED, or to build a preschool. Certainly, when it comes to conditions like bipolar disorder, Chassidus is not enough. Bochurim have many struggles that many mashpiyim simply don’t have answers to. For example, how do we distinguish between healthy and unhealthy friendship? How do you know when one is too dependent on another? There are many other issues, but I am citing psychological issues were I feel that we don’t have clear direction from Chassidus. What does it mean when the Alter Rebbe says that all issues are addressed in the book of Tanya? I don’t see it. How can we really see how everything is in Torah and all issues can be dealt with by learning Chassidus? Or maybe Chassidus doesn’t deal with day to day issues. I am very confused and would appreciate to hear your thoughts on this matter.”
“I am the mother of eight children, with my oldest 15 year old in the 10th grade of a Lubavitch yeshiva high school. At the farbrengens, the adult in charge is pouring lchaims of alcohol for each of the underage students. As a mother, I find this outrageous and unacceptable. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble but I’m tempted to call the police (after alerting the Yeshivah that I will need to do so if nothing changes). I wanted to first ask for your opinion on lchaims/mashke at Farbrengens for high school boys. Is there any reason to condone or tolerate it? Is it okay to take an active role in putting an end to it?”
“It seems that practical halacha and Chassidishe hashkafa don’t always match up. For example, we know Hashem is everywhere yet halacha permits laxity in tznius rules during certain activities. Shouldn’t the halacha match the hashkafa, allowing only only bathing suits which are 100% tznius? Why are we allowed to be less tznius at the pool if Hashem is before us always?
On another level, medicines with nonkosher ingredients or eating nonkosher during famine or wartime. I understand that the halacha is that we must save our lives (pikuach nefesh), yet I learned in Tanya that the nonkosher still affects the body negatively even when consumed solely for pikuach nefesh. Here again it seems halacha and hashkafa don’t match up. If halacha permits it, why would it cause spiritual damage? I was reading a holocaust story of a young chassid who refused to eat nonkosher and he passed away. He was praised for his midas hachassidus. Wouldn’t the better thing to do according to halacha to save his life? This is also tied in to a similar question on a separate topic. Back in the early 1900s when most Jews in America went to work on shabbos, they cited pikuach nefesh as their heter. Yet chassidim and other very frum people preferred not to keep a job that demanded they work in shabbos and many of them had terrible physical hardships because of it. So which is the correct approach and why again does the halacha and hashkafa seem incongruent?”
In addition to these topics, Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in this year’s MyLife: Chassidus Applied essay contest: “Two Shades of Black” by Yisrael Kugel, “The Power Struggle: Fear, Inhibitions and Low Self-Esteem” by Levi Diskin, and “Training Your Inner Beast” by by Offir Kalifa. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/essays.
And finally, the Chassidus question of the week: The maamorim explain that all potential and actual measurement in the cosmic order is created by the Kav, referred to as the Kav HaMidah, as it combines with the reshimah after the tzimtum to define the parameters of existence.
How do we recoincile that with the different forms of measurement that seem to exist in the Ohr Ein Sof (infinite light) before the Tzimtzum, which are not only in a concealed state (kolul – encompassed – in Ohr Ein Sof), with potential distinctions and measurements, but ones with “practical” consequences?
Some of these levels include:
· The three dimensions in Ohr Ein Sof (yichud, echad, kadmon): etzem ha’ohr (the core energy) , ohr ein sof l’galos l’atzmo (the energy as it is revealed to itself), ohr ha’shayach l’olamos (the energy that relates to existence).
· The koach ha’gvul (the power to create the finite) does not exist in the ohr ein sof l’atzmo (later to be the iggul hagodol). The (hidden) sefiros ha’genuzos are only in the ohr ha’shayach l’olamos.
· Is not HaSharah B’Koach a form of measure (midah), with real consequences: The 10 (hidden) sefirot ha’genuzos?
Measurement (middah) appears to be a fundamental requirement for making any distinctions either in quality, “quantity” or any form of characterization (e.g. to make a distinction between chesed and gevurah in atzilus). How is this possible before (conceptually) the emergence of the kav?
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 the post-holiday season, Cheshvan and Parshas Noach
Does Chassidus have all the answers to our psychological issues?
How can a Chassid be mean?
Are Chassidic standards compatible with Halacha?
Is underage drinking at Farbrengens acceptable?
Writing to the Rebbe – follow-up
Chassidus Question: What creates measurement before the kav ha’midah?
MyLife Essays: Two Shades of Black, The Power Struggle: Fear, Inhibitions and Low Self-Esteem, Training Your Inner Beast
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
If you value MyLife: Chassidus Applied, please subscribe to our youtube channel of the same name, to help keep these videos coming and to share them with others!