8:00pm: Individuality Vs. Conformity

This week’s edition of MyLife: Chassidus Applied with Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Episode 109, will air tonight, Sunday, here on CrownHeights.info, beginning at 8:00pm. This week Rabbi Jacobson will address the topics: Individuality vs Conformity; Why is Joy So Vital and How Do We Achieve It? My Family Feels Threatened by My Increased Torah Observance! What Exactly Are Kelipat Nogeh and Shalosh Kelipot Ha’tmayot?

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“My spouse and I have recently become more Torah observant. And it is causing serious tensions with our siblings and families. Family gatherings are becoming a nightmare. What would you advise?”

As it is with all dramatic shifts, inspiring Jews to be more connected can bring on family disagreements, or exacerbate existing rifts. This is especially true with parents of young Jews, who may feel threatened by their children’s changes. Recognizing the importance of fostering strong relationships between children and parents, what is the proper attitude to approaching this issue?

“You often speak about the pitfalls of conformity and the importance of cultivating one’s individuality in Judaism, which imbues the experience with personal vitality and ensures that we not be “mechanical” Jews. I find this very refreshing and understand how “owning” your faith and commitment through individual expression is vital to a dynamic Torah life.  At the same time, isn’t there concern for rebellion against structure not in the name of leadership and individuality, but as an end in itself, or for other ulterior or even unhealthy reasons, due to personal grievances and the like? What is the yardstick for expressing individuality safely and wholesomely? Where is the line between a non-conformist and a renegade? At times I find people adamantly arguing for individuality, while ironically not tolerating other opinions.”

“I wish you would talk about the role of a parent in the lives of his/her married children. Can you please advise some practical examples? On the one hand, I know I can pray that they always have Yiras Shomayim and find happiness in their lives, but what is my practical role in our relationship?”

Rabbi Jacobson will address these relevant issues in this week’s 109th episode of MyLife: Chassidus Applied. Other topics that will be discussed include the importance of joy and a response to someone who finds it more enjoyable to be around non-frum friends.

Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in last year’s MyLife: Chassidus Applied essay contest: “Accessing the Perfect Tools” by Mattie Hecht; “The Powerful ‘I’” by Menachem Mendel Bergstein; “So Good, It Feels Like Sin” by Yoel Baitsch. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/essays.

And finally, the Chassidus question of the week: Kelipat Nogeh and Shalosh Kelipot Ha’tmayot are terms and concepts found throughout Chassidus, beginning with Tanya chapter six. What do these words mean? What are the three totally impure husks and how do they differ from one another? Does Kelipat Nogeh have only one form? And why is it called Nogeh, which means light. How does light apply to a kelipah?

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 atmeaningfullife.com/mylife.

The topics in this Sunday’s hour-long broadcast will include:

  •        Chassidus Applied to Parshas Shemini and Parah
  •        Why is joy so vital and how does one achieve it?
  •       Are there any drawbacks to expressing individuality? Where is the line between a nonconformist and a renegade?
  •      What role should parents play in their married children’s lives?
  •      Why do I prefer my non-frum friends?
  •     How to deal with family tensions when becoming more observant?
  •      Chassidus Question: What are Kelipat Nogeh and Shalosh Kelipot Ha’tmayot?
  •      MyLife Essays: Accessing the Perfect Tools; The Powerful “I”; So Good, It Feels Like Sin

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.