8:00pm: What Defines Normalcy?

This week’s edition of MyLife: Chassidus Applied with Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Episode 152, will air tonight, Sunday, here on CrownHeights.info, beginning at 8:00pm. This week Rabbi Jacobson will address the topics: What Defines Normalcy? What Can Be Learned from the Unusually Warm Weather This February? Was Moshe Rabbeinu Focused More on His Community Than on His Family? Is Tanya Directed More to Men Than to Women?

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From a Chassidic perspective, what defines normal behavior? The difference between the contemporary view of normalcy and Torah’s seem to be exaggerated more and more in the current climate of pursing individuality. The modern world encourages people to push the limits of normalcy, while the religious world holds tight to its unchanging principles and expectancies. Yet, we are taught that we need to make a dirah b’tachtonim, which means that we have to integrate Torah values into modern society.  The concept of oros and keilim teaches us that the “containers” need to constantly grow and expand as they internalize a more transcendent light and energy. This seems to tell us that fitting into one isolated box isn’t necessarily the way to go. So, in 2017, should we still be trying to fit into the box of the past? How should we be presenting Torah’s standards for normal behavior to a society with very different standards?

According to the famous teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, one must learn lessons from all that takes place in the world. What lesson can we derive from the unusually warm weather we’re experiencing this February? What message is Hashem giving us? Did the Rebbe ever talk about the weather and its implications?

When looking for lessons in leadership, we turn to the leaders in Jewish history and try to follow their example. Moshe Rabbeinu, the ultimate leader of Bnei Yisroel, teaches us what it means to be a real shepherd of the people, completely dedicated, and truly humble. But what about balancing community needs with one’s family responsibilities? Does Moshe Rabbeinu’s leadership show us how to do that? Moshe’s family life is hardly mentioned, his sons aren’t heard about as much as Aharon Hakohen’s, he separated from his wife Tzipporah for many years, and the general family dynamics is not really discussed in Torah. What lessons can we derive from Moshe in this area if not much is known and what is known seems to favor community over family?

What can I do about the seeming intimacy incompatibility I have with my spouse?

Tanya seems to be geared toward men. Does it have equal relevance to women?

Rabbi Jacobson will address these relevant issues in this week’s 152nd episode of MyLife: Chassidus Applied.

Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in the last MyLife: Chassidus Applied essay contest: “Through the Grind” by Shterna Althaus; “From the Essence Outward” by Avigail Halevy; and “The Interplay of Good and Bad” by Mendy Simpson. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/essays.

And finally, the Chassidus question of the week: Part VII in a comprehensive series of understanding the implications of the Kabbalistic concept of Reshimu. This week will cover the Rebbe’s explanation of the rarely discussed tzimtzumim pre-tzimtzum harishon.

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 Rosh Chodesh Adar and Terumah
  • What defines ‘normal’ behavior – Torah standards or modern society’s standards?
  • Was Moshe Rabbeinu focused more on the community than on his family? What are we to learn from that?
  • What can this warm weather spell in February teach us?
  • How to work through intimacy incompatibility?
  • Is Tanya directed more to men than to women?
  • Chassidus Question: Reshimu Part VII – tzimtzumim pre-tzimtzum harishon
  • MyLife Essays: Through the Daily Grind, The Interplay of Good and Bad, From the Essence Outward


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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