MyLife: Chassidus Applied Episode 78, with Rabbi Simon Jacobson
MyLife is now available as a podcast and can be streamed or downloaded from iTunes.
The terms “frum” and “not frum” are thrown around very freely. But what do they mean? Who is frum? Is it someone who keeps Shabbos? Eats kosher? Wears a sheitel? What about people who outwardly appear religious but don’t practice ahavas yisroel? People who wear a beard and all “shemoneh levushim” but then cheat in business? Are they considered frum? Or conversely, someone who may not look or dress the part, but is a mentch, honest, refined and meticulously treats people with kindness? In this week’s episode of MyLife, Rabbi Jacobson will get to the bottom of how Torah/Chassidus defines “frumkeit” and whether we can even say who is really “frum” today.
“Though I grew up in a strictly observant home, I did not truly discover G-d until I left my tradition on my own spiritual journey. I then came to realize that perhaps my upbringing was basically a culture of “religion” and its rituals as opposed to a developed relationship with G-d and one’s soul. Rabbi Jacobson, seeing that you are open to all types of questions, as opposed to the closed-minded environment that I grew up in that ostracized me for independent thinking and asking questions, I hope it would not be sacrilegious to ask you to address this controversial but vital issue of whether Judaism is a cultural experience — focusing on externals, or whether is it something more? And if so, why do so many in the orthodox world not get it?”
“Why do spiritual people tend to not be that religious and religious people not that spiritual? Are the two mutually exclusive?”
“I grew up in very chareidishe home. Today I am no longer observant and a big cause of it was not Yiddishkeit per se, but my parents. When I began to explore and seek, they were far more (if not entirely) concerned with their image and what others would think, than my welfare and being there for me. All I would hear is about their rigidity and how I am a huge source of embarrassment to them. Today they treat me like a pariah and prefer that I stay away, especially when they have friends or community members around. It makes me sick to my stomach that my parents care more about their reputation then me. What type of Judaism is it that ignores the cries of a child? Please speak about this – not just for me, but for many who struggle with this painful issue.”
Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in the MyLife: Chassidus Applied contest: “Rescuing an Addict” by Matityahu Eilon, “A Choice of Many Colors” by Chana Rahmani, “When The End Is Not Even The Beginning” by Shlomo Chaim Cohen. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/mylife/contest/.
And finally, here is the Chassidus question of the week (our new feature): How can we explain the four worlds – Atzilus, Beiryah, Yetzirah, Asiyah – in personally relevant terms?
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.meaningfullife.com/mylife.
The topics in this Sunday’s hour-long broadcast will include:
Chassidus Applied to Chof Av and Parshas Eikev
Is your reputation more important than your children?
What defines a ‘frum’ Jew?
Is Yiddishkeit more than culture?
Laziness and homeschooling (follow-up)
How to understand the “four worlds” in personally relevant terms
MyLife Essays: rescuing an addict, a choice of many colors, the end is not the beginning
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.meaningfullife.com/mylifelive.