Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson, one of the most sought after speakers in the Jewish world today and spiritual leader of Congregation Bais Shmuel in Crown Heights, led a virtual Farbrengen Motzoei Shabbos.
It was broadcast on TheYeshiva.net and on COLLive.com in honor of Yud Shvat, the Frierdiker Rebbe’s yahrzeit of the day the Rebbe assumed leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch.
The topic of the Farbrengen will be “The Rebbe’s War on Apathy and His New Language to Transform Pain.”
Program for the evening:
There is an intriguing verse about one of King David’s greatest warriors, Benayu ben Yehoyada, telling how “he went down and slew a lion in the pit on the day of snow.” The Talmud gives too vastly differing interpretations of this verse: either he broke ice to immerse in a mikvah, or he studied Talmudic teachings about the Temple sacrifices in the heart of winter. What is the significance of these accomplishments? Upon deeper reflection, these capture the two major challenges and successes of the two generations of the sixth and seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe’s.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, who led the Chabad movement from 1920 till 1950, had to confront the tyranny of Joseph Stalin and the Communist Party. Ice had to be broken, literally and conceptually, to use a mikvah. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson faced a very different challenge: the apathy that comes with comfort, the assimilation born from prosperity and freedom. The Rebbe declared war on complacency and even in the heart of a cold snow did not stop talk about the urgency to bring redemption to the world, to remember the Holy Temple and work toward its rebuilding.
What was the Lubavitcher Rebbe doing in the final hours before he officially accepted the mantle of Chabad leadership? Two moving stories about the
sixth and seventh Lubavitcher Rebbes expressing love and concern toward a Jew in pain.
Why are judges compared in the Talmud to a bright monochromatic light while teachers are compared to stars? Because justice is the same for everyone. Stars have different colors, shapes, and sizes. One cannot use the same methods of illumination for every child. The sensitivity we need as parents and educators to the individual soul of each child. The double sensitivity needed to sense the agony of youth who endured pain and struggle. The talk explores the meaning behind the shofar, and its crude, raw, unsophisticated sound, describing the scene of the Lubavitcher Rebbe blowing the shofar.
The difference between a great book and a poorly written book is not in the letters used, but in their configuration. The difference between a healthy life and a dysfunctional one is the configuration of the same experiences into different words and messages. The computer revolution allows us, among other things, to salvage words and sentences through “cut and paste.” This process mirrors the spiritual evolution of history, toward a place where the work of “editing” the macrocosm and microcosm is far easier.
G-d built the world with words. We can destroy it with words. How the words we use to our children can build or destroy them. A story about Rabbi Avraham Pam, and what the Lubavitcher Rebbe told a father who was spanking his children out of anger. What every potential abuser must know before heshe lays a hand on a child.
Bitter people inhabit a bitter world. Everything they taste is bitter. Happy people live in a happy world. How to develop a positive attitude in life, by accepting that sometimes the problem itself constitutes the very solutions.
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