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We learn many lofty ideas about the holiest day of the year and its power to wipe our slates clean. But, practically speaking, how can this day and the ten days that build up to it actually help us overcome and deal with our human vices? How can Yom Kippur atone for and alleviate us of jealousy, pettiness, anger, greed and the whole slew of ugly human traits?
“Yom Kippur used to be my favorite Yom Tov, a day of getting beyond myself, forgiving myself, truly meditating and working through the traumas of the previous year – and doing deeper tshuva for the years prior…to the best of my abilities. Fasting and repenting can be very therapeutic. Baruch Hashem, I am now in a different phase in my life – a mother of beautiful souls gifted to me by Hashem. I know that it changes everything. Every year I hear the story in the lead-up to Yom Kippur about the king’s nanny coming to the party instead of tending to his children. But I still can’t help but feel that I am missing out on the opportunity to tap into Yom Kippur – daven in a way that corresponds to all the levels of my soul. Instead I am at home, playing board games and plowing my children with string cheese. Any words of advice or chizuk? Thank you. Gmar Chasima Tova.”
“I have to say Yizkor for my father and mother, and I have a hard time on Yom Tov. We are commanded to be b’simcha on Yomim Tovim. However, every time I have to recite Yizkor, I get very sad, anxious and even cry. I know there is something that I am missing (really a lot of learning I’m sure). It is a special time, the neshamos have an aliya when we “promise” to give tzedaka in their merit. But what about Simchas Yom Tov?”
“If Yom Kippur is the Shabbos of Shabbosim, why is intimacy not permitted?”
What’s with all the drinking on Simchas Torah? I understand that the concept of “saying L’chaim” and “drinking L’chaim” feature prominently in the teachings, customs and niggunim of Chabad. But it seems like the matter has gotten out of hand. Perhaps this is just me, but I think we have lost the plot. Sometimes Simchas Torah just seems like one big booze-fest, and no-one even knows why we are celebrating. It’s almost as though the fact that we have reached the zenith of Zman Simchaseinu and the completion and restart of reading the Torah is completely incidental, and masked by the obsession with alcohol. I personally do not enjoy alcohol. It makes me sick, and I understand the dangers that it entails. I do not enjoy being harassed and insulted for wishing to make Kiddush on wine or grape juice on Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, nor do I appreciate being told that I look depressed and must have not had enough L’chaim. I am depressed because it is disgusting to see Chassidim vomiting on the floor on one of the holiest days of the year. I’m not even going to bring up the discussion of underage drinking, and the terrible example adults are setting for children. It is sad that people in our community automatically associate Simchas Torah with alcohol, rather than actual Torah. Why should Hatzolah have to tend to so many cases of Simchas Torah alcohol overdose in the name of Chassidus? How on earth can this be considered the joy of the Torah?”
In addition to these topics, Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in this year’s MyLife: Chassidus Applied essay contest: “Manage Your Chaos to Manage Your Time” by Mushka Silberberg, “Overcoming Life’s Challenges” by Mendel Gordon, “You Count. And it Matters” by Chana Bloy. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/essays.
And finally, the Chassidus question of the week: Can you explain in simple English, what Yechida of the soul means and how it relates to Yom Yippur and our lives?
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 Yom Kippur
· Can Yom Kippur help us fight our vices?
· What is a home-bound mother’s avoda on Yom Kippur?
· Why is intimacy prohibited on “Shabbos Shabboson”?
· What is the deeper meaning of Yizkor?
· What to do about the drinking problem on Simchas Torah?
· How does joy nourish our souls?
· Chassidus Question: What is Yechida of the soul?
· MyLife Essays: Manage Your Chaos to Manage Your Time; Overcoming Life’s Challenges; You Count. And it Matters
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
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