MyLife: Chassidus Applied Episode 84, with Rabbi Simon Jacobson
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Yom Kippur and the days leading up to it require that we actively call to mind those whom we have hurt and those who have hurt us – and that we actually and actively ask for and give forgiveness. How can we forgive in an instance when a person who hurt us refuses to apologize? Or conversely, what do we do when a person whom we have hurt will not accept our sincere apology?
In this week’s pre-Yom Kippur program of MyLife: Chassidus Applied, Rabbi Jacobson will address the issue of forgiveness as well as other timely issues, including healthy and unhealthy attitudes to these Days of Awe: The guilt many people experience during this time; the difference between awe and fear of G-d; distinguishing between childish superstition and mature faith; how to experience the holidays when you are uninspired.
“Appreciating how you bluntly address questions that others are afraid to discuss, I’d like to ask you an irreverent question about this time of year, which touches upon our general attitude towards Judaism and G-d. I find myself – and others – approaching Yom Kippur and this holiday season as a deal-making time with G-d. I pray to You, G-d, and make a few commitments in order that in return You bless me with a good year. Many have superstitious attitudes, and go through certain annual rituals in fear that if they don’t G-d will “get even” and strike them. Isn’t this a childish approach? It’s similar to the deal-making between parent and child: If I clean my room, you’ll give me candy. How can we distinguish true avodah and faith from superstitious, childish attitudes?“
“How much of a role should guilt play on Yom Kippur? Does guilt altogether have a place in Judaism, and if not why do people “feel guilty”?
Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in the MyLife: Chassidus Applied contest: “Chassidic Conflict Resolution”, by Chaim Heber. “Tackling Personal Bereavement”, by Yaakov Shallman, “The Challenge of Modern Freedom”, Menachem Danishefsky. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/mylife/contest/.
And finally, the Chassidus question of the week: Citing the Tikkunei Zohar, Chassidus explains that Yom HaKipurim is similar to Purim, but only Ki-Purim, like Purim, but not quite, because Purim is greater than Yom HaKipurim. The same thing that Yom Kippur accomplishes through fasting we accomplish on Purim through the festive meal and celebration. But practically speaking, how can the two even be compared? Yom Kippur is the holiest day of year and is a direct mitzvah in the Torah, while Purim is a rabbinic ordinance and even a workday?! Secondly, if we can access the Yom Kippur power through eating and celebrating on Purim, why then isn’t Yom Kippur a day of festive eating and celebration rather than a day of fasting?
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 www.appliedchassidus.com.
The topics in this Sunday’s hour-long broadcast will include:
Chassidus Applied to Yom Kippur and Sukkos
Lessons on forgiveness
Superstition vs. faith
Uninspired holiday season
How can Yom Kippur be compared to Purim?
MyLife Essays: Conflict resolution, Personal bereavement, Challenge of modern freedom
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, 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. 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 MP3’s for listening on the go.
Questions may be submitted anonymously at www.appliedchassidus.com.