8:00pm: Is it my Yetzer Hara or My Dysfunctional Childhood?

This week’s edition of MyLife: Chassidus Applied with Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Episode 155, will air tonight, Sunday, here on CrownHeights.info, beginning at 8:00pm. This week Rabbi Jacobson will address the topics: Is it my Yetzer Hara or My Dysfunctional Childhood? Is Smacking Children Ever Acceptable? What is the Significance of Mikvah for Men? How Can One Make Successful Life Changes Without a Support System? What’s the Healthiest Way to Deal with ‘Toxic’ Relationships?

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What lessons can we learn from Chof Hei Adar, the 116th birthday of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka?

In many of the Rebbe’s answers and directives — whether about sadness, depression, anxiety, fear or lack of motivation — the Rebbe emphasizes time and again that these are all “tools” used by the “expert” yetzer hora (uman b’mlachto) to impede our divine service (avodas Hashem). Yet, psychology and even plain logic suggests that many of our anxieties and other emotional impediments are due to our childhood experiences. How do we reconcile the two?

Implementing changes in one’s life is never an easy task. It demands focus, determination, and strength of character, to name a few. How does one resolve to make big changes if one has no support from friends and family? What advice does Chassidus offer for someone going through major changes without a proper support system?

Is it ever appropriate to discipline children by hitting them? And if not, how are we to understand the verse (Mishlei 13:24), “choshech shivto sonei b’noi” (one who withholds his rod is his child’s enemy)?

“I’ve been looking through content on your website in search of sound advice in how to deal with toxic people and specifically not getting pulled in by the ‘emotional suction’ they tend to exert on others. You wrote in A Strategy to Deal with Toxic People: ‘It makes sense to try to empathize with the toxic person, but never at the expense of losing yourself. It is critical that you don’t become an enabler, a savior, or a pleaser. These are all pathological responses to toxicity. You can protect yourself by setting certain boundaries; by responding with dignity.’

“Drawing boundaries was always difficult to me, because I feel that without giving all I can, I will not achieve the desired results. For years, I was not even conscious of this attitude of mine. I got just drawn into situations, thinking that it was my mission to bring redemption to others’ pain, losing a sense of healthy boundaries between me and those I thought I was helping. Indeed, I cannot even say that I ended up helping them, because my total immersion was met with rejection, and with people telling me that I sound pretentious.

“Can you please discuss this and clarify what exactly a healthy caregiving relationship looks like? And how does one develop and maintain healthy boundaries?”

Rabbi Jacobson will address these relevant issues in this week’s 155th episode of MyLife: Chassidus Applied. Other topics that will be discussed include: the significance of mikvah for men and attitudes toward aging.

Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in the last MyLife: Chassidus Applied essay contest: “Mind Over Matter” by Akiva Becker; “Empower by Letting Go” by Chaya Wilmowsky; and “Overcoming Pain of the Past” by Mali New. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/essays.

And finally, the Chassidus question of the week: I was fascinated by your series on the reshimu, which clarified many points for me. On a related topic, can you please explain the olam hamalbish, a kabalistic concept rarely discussed in Chassidus?

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 Vayakhel-Pekudei and Parshas Hachodesh
  • Lessons from Chof Hei Adar
  • Is it my yetzer hara or my dysfunctional childhood?
  • How to make life changes without support of family/friends?
  • What’s the healthiest way to deal with ‘toxic’ people?
  • Is hitting a child ever acceptable?
  • What is the significance of mikvah for men?
  • Aging: feedback
  • Chassidus Question: Please explain the not so oft-discussed concept of Olam Hamalbish.
  • MyLife Essays: Mind Over Matter, Empower by Letting Go, Overcoming Pain of the Past


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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