8:00pm: What’s Wrong with a Handshake?

This week’s edition of MyLife: Chassidus Applied with Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Episode 139, will air tonight, Sunday, here on CrownHeights.info, beginning at 8:00pm. This week Rabbi Jacobson will address the topics: What’s Wrong with a Handshake? Is There a Remedy to Resignation? Are Cartoons OK for Kids? What is the History of the Kinus HaShluchim? Is Anxiety Really a Cry from the Soul? Why Do We Condemn Religious Killing if Torah Commands Us to Do the Same?

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This week marks the 33rd annual international Kinus HaShluchim, bringing thousands of Shluchim together from all over the world. What is the history and background of this conference? How did it evolve into such a large-scale and far reaching event?

I just came across one of your video clips in which you describe anxiety as the cry of a parched soul. Can you please elaborate on that? What does this mean? Every time someone feels anxious should they assume its cause is a spiritual discomfort? If so, how is one expected to remedy something that’s so deep-rooted and elusive? This doesn’t seem to leave any room for contemporary therapies as they don’t address soul problems.

How can we condemn the brutal way radical Islam punishes and kills people when our own Torah commands us to kill in similar ways? What is the difference between retributive justice in Judaism, the four types of capital punishment (sekilah, sreifah, hereg, chenek) and in other religions?

A high five, a pat on the back, a handshake. These all seem be nothing more than casual and innocent social gestures between people. Yet, Orthodox Judaism prohibits such interactions between genders. Isn’t it a bit extreme to assume that a handshake might lead to something more? Are we perverting informal touch by applying a sexual air to it? Why doesn’t the fear of embarrassing someone else trump a rule that’s set in place only as a precautionary measure?

I’m constantly moving but my actions feel lifeless. I think I surrendered to living my life on autopilot, just reacting to whatever gets thrown my way. Proactive is a word belonging to my past. I feel resigned and unmotivated to initiate positivity in my day. What can I do about my feelings of resignation?

With all the noise and unsolicited entertainment children have at their fingertips nowadays, it leaves us wondering what is OK to expose them to. What is the Chassidic approach to cartoons? Is the seemingly harmless exaggeration of characters and caricatures something we should keep our children away from? Or is it indeed harmless fun?

In addition to these topics, Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in this year’s MyLife: Chassidus Applied essay contest: “What’s Trust Got to Do with It?” by Nili Navot, “Silencing the Background Noise” by Lavy Kosofsky and “Productive Thinking” by Daniel Chasidim. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/essays.

And finally, the Chassidus question of the week: As a follow up to last week’s discussion about ohr yosher and ohr chozer, Chassidus also discusses how ohr yosher and ohr chozer are forces that shape Seder Hishtalshelus of creation: They “strike” each other and create letters. Can you please elaborate on that?

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 Toldos and Rosh Chodesh Kislev
  • The history and background of the Kinus HaShluchim
  • Is anxiety really a cry from the soul?
  • Retributive justice: Is there a difference between Judaism and others?
  • What’s wrong with a handshake?
  • Are cartoons ok for kids?
  • Is there a remedy to my resignation?
  • Chassiuds Question: Ohr Yosher and Ohr Chozer Part II
  • MyLife Essays: What’s Trust Got to Do with It? Silencing the Background Noise; Productive Thinking

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.