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The Jew Vs. The World

How Much Do We Compromise? How Much Do We Resist?

1 hr 7 min

Class Summary:

We find contradicting perspectives on Jacob’s approach. Sometimes the Midrash and commentators seem to criticize Jacob for displaying subservience to Esau, going so far as to say that “Jacob awakened a sleeping robber,” and that it was his display of subservience that actually empowered Esau. After twenty years of working for Laban, Jacob begins his journey home, and now must confront the brother that he fled from so many years ago, Esau. Jacob chooses to initiate the meeting, and reaches out to Esau, sending messengers to ask for his favor and forgiveness. He also prepares an elaborate gift of herd after herd of sheep, goats, cows, donkeys, and camels. Then when Esau approaches Jacob shows him respect and humility, actually bowing down seven times.

But other times we find that great Rabbis learned and emulated Jacob’s example in their own dealings with non-Jewish authorities. Indeed, in the time of the Second Temple, the Rabbis advocated surrender to the Romans and felt that it would have even prevented the destruction. How are we to reconcile this? And today, especially after the establishment of the State of Israel, the question is as relevant as ever: Do we compromise, or do we resist? Do we accommodate and adapt, or do we hold strong unflinchingly? Do we seek the favor of the world in which we live, or do we disregard its opinion? When do we surrender, and when do we rebel?

This class will navigate this fine line between self-assertiveness and self-effacement, and define clearly when a situation calls for one and when it calls for the exact other. We will travel through some of the most historic eras of Jewish history: the times of King Achaz, the prophet Achiya Hashiloni, Rabbi Judah the Prince, and Rabbi Yochan ben Zakkai. We will see the decisions that were made then, and then, in hindsight, discuss the results.

Please leave your comment below!

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    Michale -12 years ago

    The Rebbe views for this topic
    Here is the link to the Lubavitcher Rebbe views for this subject adapted by Eliyahu Touger in the book http://www.chabad.org/libra... />
    Also you can hear audios produced by Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov, director of Chabad Lubavitch in Wimbledon, UK, http://www.chabad.org/multi...

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  • E

    Elisheva -12 years ago

    Marvelous!
    I've been feeling a persistent disconnection from Hashem of late, and this essay has given me hope and

    direction.....thank you.

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • S

    shmuel -12 years ago

    dont agree
    i dont agree with you. i have been buying flowers every shabbos, spend every penny of my wife, tell her i love her all day, do everything possible to make her happy. wake up early on shabbos and buy the challas and the shopping before work. babysit my 3 kids at night so she can go out whenever she wants. buy her dinner almost every night cause she does not cook even though we have no money. give into to every one of her demands. and i still get treated like garbage and get put down and dont get realations. and daven to hashem every day to make her realize what she has in a husband for over 8 years already and everyday it gets worse. so i feel like my davening is in vain. there are times that a woman is so stubborn no matter what you do for her she will never love.

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    • A

      Anonymous -12 years ago

      Re: dont agree
      Dear Shmuel,



      I am very sorry to read your comment. It seems that this is a unique and unusual situation, where after all you do for your wife, as you describe it, you receive in return only negativity. It must be very painful and I am deeply sorry. The question is, are there some underlying issues that have never been addressed or dealt with?

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    • D

      Dr.S -12 years ago

      Re: dont agree
      Dear Shmuel!



      It was so much pain to read your comment. I'll daven for you and your family. I think you should re-read this brilliant essay again and again. As I understood from your message, you are trying to fill empty vessels without finding the cruse of oil and they remain empty " no matter what you do".  I'll copy & paste lines from R.Jacobson work and from your comment in parenthesis to explain:



       Do you love people or do you love gossip? Do you love truth or do you love addiction? Do you love depth or do you love superficiality?  Do you love justice and righteousness or do you love instant gratification and crave the transient? ( do everything possible to make her happy.)  Are you attracted to your soul or are you drawn to externality or even promiscuity? ( babysit my 3 kids at night so she can go out whenever she wants. buy her dinner almost every night cause she does not cook even though we have no money)



      The two primary emotions, or children, are attraction and rejection, since every existing emotion is either a form of attraction or a form of rejection (6). ( and i still get treated like garbage and get put down and dont get realations)



      If boredom is the desire for desires (as Tolstoy put it in Anna Karenina), this soul can be described as genuinely bored. ( give into to every one of her demands.)



      May be your wife is bored with your attempts?



      “I’d rather die of exhaustion than of boredom,” a wise man once remarked. Indeed, the death that comes from boredom and apathy could be extremely painful.



      The soul of a human being has been compared to a woman—a wife of G-d, as it were (5).

      Stop Blaming Your Wife

      http://www.chabad.info/inde... "Your wife is a good woman, therefore, you are the one who doesn’t want a beard, and your wife does according to your will http://www.chabad.info/inde... http://www.chabad.info/inde... Reb Reuven Dunin explains it all in the http://chabad.info/index.ph... />
      Beis Moshiach Magazine

      14 Cheshvan 5772 (11.11.2011)



      I wish you to find your empty cruse of oil, to bring not only relief into your family but comlete simcha and nashas from children. Any positive memories from 8 years been together? Start from there. Suggestion- involve people and/or professionals to help in your situation.

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  • G

    goldie -12 years ago

    Thanks
    Dear Rabbi,

    Thank you sooo much for giving this over!!

    Gut Shabbos,

    Goldie

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  • S

    Sonia -13 years ago

    music before class on Devarim
    Is it possible to find out the name of the chorus that is singing before class "Devarim 5770 - Why Is Israel Scared of the Truth_" It is out of this world hope to get their CD...
    Thanks so much!

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  • E

    Elki -13 years ago

    to Elie
    Sadly, throughout history our enemies considered us subhuman and therefore the term exterminate is tragic but true to life.
    Who created the term "Extermination Camp?"
    We Jews were considered vermin in the eyes of the Nazis (may their name be obliterated).

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    Narthaniel-Yitzchak -13 years ago

    Not working
    Shalom oubracha kvod harav,

    I love your shiurim. Thank you. Its been a while now I cant stream them.

    nothing but love,
    From Sderot Israel

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  • M

    Michale -13 years ago

    To Admin: please check how Viewers number set up
    Dear, Admin,
    Please check how Viewers number set up. I can believe in increasing viewers number but not so much jump, about 10 times.

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  • E

    Elie -13 years ago

    bad term
    I am listening to one of your classes and whenever i hear you use the term 'exterminate' relating to what our enemies want to do to us it causes me pain..!!

    exterminate is a term used when we get rid of pests, roaches, rats etc. in my opinion it should not be used relating to people and much less to the Jewish people Chas Veshalom.
    when we use that term we are inadvertently agreeing or using their language with our enemies like the nazis who used that term. it denigrates and almost falls into their trap.

    maybe a small detail but i wanted to share that with you.

    thank you for your weekly inspiration, may you be blessed,

    Elie

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  • M

    Malka -13 years ago

    Thanks Meira
    Always enjoy reading your witty/creative answers. keep posting!

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  • R

    R -13 years ago

    thanks
    About the class; a couple things...
    I like how you put together all the midrashim and various sources and explain it very clearly. You make the "blind" see... and the ignorant--a bit more educated.. who doesn't appreciate a gourmet dinner...served well?

    I like the topic reed vs cedar. I always related more to the rod and somehow I felt that it was inferiour and lacking redemption and essentially weak but this class really "validated" the subtle superior quality it has--and clarified of the distinction with the chulun and not with kudshin.

    the last reflection of Levi a''h is very powerful.It's something that is on my mind and is ripening in the pain and in the loss.

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  • L

    Levi -13 years ago

    Rabbi Yehuda - Royalty and pride
    I just wanted to point out:
    All though this class seemed to represented Rabbi Yehuda as someone who lowered himself to the Emperor
    To my understanding in general the opposite is true and the emperor served Rabbi Yehuda. Rabbi Yehuda lives a life of royalty and presented him self in a very rich and powerful way so that everyone wanted to honor and respect him.

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  • D

    David -13 years ago

    Why was Jacob punished?
    Beautiful message Rabbi. But was was Jacob punished as the midrash quoted at the begining of the class?
    Thank you

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  • I

    Isaac -13 years ago

    To BM
    I see in the curriculum PDF nbelow the video the rabbi says it is taken from her. take a look. by the way, the rabbi here argues with her. she beleives there are two polar views; rabbi jacobson postulates another perspective.

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  • B

    bm -13 years ago

    ha karas ha tov
    i think acknowledgement of the honorable Nehama Leibowitz would be in order

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  • F

    f -13 years ago

    too abstract
    can someone make this idea practical? it is too abstract for me. please i need practical application. thanks

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  • EB

    esther belinow -13 years ago

    why was yacov punnished?
    on the end of the class it seemed that yacov did right tu surrender to eisov, so why he is punnished with the delay of his kingdom?

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  • EB

    esther belinow -13 years ago

    why was yacov punnished?
    on the end of the class it seemed that yacov did the right thing, to surrender to Eisov, so why is he punished with the delay of his kingdom?

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  • N

    n -13 years ago

    the whisper
    BS"D

    Rabbi Jacobson,
    You are by far one of the most inspirational and brilliant Rabbis I have ever had the privilage to learn from and listen to, and as much as I appreciate the dramatic turns in the way your information is given over, when you whisper, those of us who are hearing impaired have a difficult time hearing you. I find myself turning the volume all the way up only to be blasted back when you suddenly go from whisper to yell. The only request is to find a happy medium, otherwise, please continue your amazing work, and you should be blessed endlessly for all that you do!

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  • M

    Michale -13 years ago

    Thank you
    Thank you, Rabbi, for your tremendous, great class.

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  • A

    Admin -13 years ago

    Fix
    Refresh you browser, that should take care of issues.

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • A

    Anonymous -13 years ago

    why did it stop working???

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • November 15, 2010
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  • 8 Kislev 5771
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  • 1527 views

Dedicated by David and Eda SchottensteinIn the loving memory of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak ben Zalman Yuda Deitch and Alta Shula Swerdlov And in honor of Yetta Alta Shula, "Aliyah," Schottenstein

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