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Confronting Your Pain: Were You Sold or Sent?

How Could Yosef Forgive His Brothers for All The Suffering They Brought On Him?

1 hr 22 min

Class Summary:

This women's class was presented on Tuesday morning, 5 Teves 5777, January 3, 2017, At Ohr Chaim shul, Monsey, NY

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  • JH

    Joshua Haimovici -3 years ago

    Simply and completely AWESOME on many spheres- spiritually.psychologically and educationally. Wonderful and should be reviewed and internalized.      Thank you.

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  • AGS

    A greatful student -3 years ago

    I really liked this class

    .

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  • א

    אריאל -7 years ago

    Dear Rab. Jacobson

    I heard the lecture in which you read the letter of this woman.

    And if it's ok with you I'd like to share with you my thoughts about it.

    I was born the 8 shvat and so I hope that maybe something good can go out from this.

    When I was 11 years old we made an alliya to eretz Israel and so my parents send me to a yeshiva and for 2 years I have been humiliated and physically hurt by the rabbie and the talmidim.

    After that my life would not be easier ( death in my hand at 12, seeing my brother almost dying at 19, ect...).

    For most of my life most people have judge me and decided that I'm no good.
    I have been in the army and the to the university still when I fight with all my heart to make it.
    I'm 33 single hozer betshuva that most religious girl don't want to meet because hozer betshuva. I still learning for my Phd with 250k Ils dept.
    Still won't give up.

    I tell you that because after that it is logical for me to think like her.

    I understand why she think like that,
    because the questions are infinite : why? , the answers in general as the 3 friends of job: you are the problem, there is something wrong with you.

    Because there are poeple that fight without end for the happiness of other and after that stab in the back by them.

    Because it is true that sometime giving up looks like the better end.

    Because sometime we get tired of trying without any happy end.

    Because it's frustrating that no matter what we do we fall without anyone to hep us standing upwhile we never let anyone behind.

    Because sometimes as much as we try to find a spark of light we are surrounded by darkness.

    Because everyday is a battle and we don't have anything left in us.

    But, the fact is that we are still going, we continue to standing and fighting, helping even so that we have been betrailled.

    Because even so that we don't see light or hope we believe in the deepest profound layer of our souls.

    Because even so that we don't have anything left in us we continue.

    And the conclusion of that is because maybe she is right, maybe there are people that are not supposed to see light in there life because: 
    they are the light.

    A source of light cannot see it's own light because the intensity is to strong for us to be able to see.

    Because the trouot and shvarim let proov to all that everything is possible and there for give hope, faith and inspiration to other.

    And so maybe she is right, the light of those is so intense that must of the time we don't see it and that's why tell her please.

    For 3 years I try to understand the words of the Rebbe:
    Tricht goot zeicht goot

    And after those 3 years I finally understood what he meant.

    The Rebbe didn't say to think good but he said to live good as the good is already here, because in every struggle there is hope and growth and by deciding that good is here we can transform the situation at 180 degree.

    Thank you for everything that you have done for me, maybe by knowing or maybe not .

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  • S

    shimon -7 years ago

    On parshas vayigash #4037 even B"H not being in the situations you describe, I still "gained" tremendously.
    The Shem Mishmuel (parshas Vayigash page 274 the last piece in first column) explains that Yaacov Avinu understood the point you made that Yosef ALWAYS understood that G-D was orchestrating all that happened to him and even considered Yosef on a higher madraiga than himself because of this.

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  • S

    sara -7 years ago

    I have been following your brothers Torah for years---60 Days and Towards a meaningful life ...but the last few months I have been listening to your sheirum and I wanted to say that are incredible.

    I just wanted to mention your Parshat Vayigash Sheur--about re-framing--literally impacted me so much in so many ways. ....and I cant thank you enough. It was incredible how much I got from that one sheiur.

    I loved the letter you read about mental illness, the discussion of narrative therapy (which I have done), about re-framing, how Hashem gets our "consent" before we come to this world so we already agreed for our story and how we are messengers carrying out a mission--not objects being sent. It was amazing.

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  • S

    shimon -7 years ago

    These words of appreciation are long overdue!!
    THANK YOU FOR THE MOST WONDERFUL SHIURIM.
    On parshas vayigash #4037 even B"H not being in the situations you describe, I still "gained" tremendously.
    The Shem Mishmuel (parshas Vayigash page 274 the last piece in first column) explains that Yaacov Avinu understood the point you made that Yosef ALWAYS understood that G-D was orchestrating all that happened to him and even considered Yosef on a higher madraiga than himself because of this.
    Thank you once a again.
    v

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  • SW

    Simon Weiner -7 years ago

    Wonderful. I read that you are coming to Cleveland soon, looking forward to meeting you.

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  • C

    chana -7 years ago

    I very much apprecioated the essay on Joseph, very well descrbed the development of Joseph, his greatness. Powerful lesson for us all. Reminded me of the words of The Rebbe to Rabbi Jonathan Sachs- We don't find ourselves som place. We put ourselves there. Joseph was placed in challenging circumstances but always with great emunah was able to overcome adversities. Thanks for the meaningful words. Gut Shabbos-though it's only Tuesday, but somehow Shabbos is always the focal point of the week

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  • M

    Malki -7 years ago

    Wow so eloquent and incredible thank you so much for writing this, I will show it to some who might benefit:)

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  • G

    guest -7 years ago

    The letter you read at the woman's shiur was astounding. If she didn't already hear it from many others (and quite frankly even if she did) she should know that my wife and I both found her to be extremely insightful, a deep thinker and a deep heart, and a brilliant writer. Her story about the museum really needs to be read by all, it should actually be required reading in all high schools. If it hasn't been done yet I would humbly suggest someone cutting the parts that refer to and pertain to the shiur that preceded it and getting this out in print. On a more personal note if you are still in contact with her please let her know that I am sure that any thinking and feeling person that heard what she wrote now feels along with her and davens for her continued success in her struggles, we wish her only beracha and hatzlocho with much simcha, yishuv hadaas and menuchas hanefesh.

    ומשום שמעכ"ת הוא העוסק עם אנשים הרבה ע"י כוחו העצום של רוח ממללא אכתוב כאן כוונה קצרה שנפל אלי ברעיון בעת אמירת נשמת, אומרים המשיח אלמים והמתיר אסורים ואפשר לומר כי יש כמה מיני אסורים בעולם, ובפרט אסורי הנפש אשר הם יכולים להיות קשים מכולם, וע"פ רוב אסורי הנפש הם ניתרים ע"י דיבורים, דיבורים של עצה או של חיזוק או עידוד או דבר של תורה בעתו וכו' וידעו הכל העוסקים בעסק הזו כי הדיבור הנכון בזמנו הוא כולו סייעתא דשמיא, ומי שם פה לאדם הלא אנכי ה', ונמצא כי הכח להתיר אסורים הוא בא דוקא ממה שהקב"ה הוא משיח אלמים ופותח פה המדבר ליתן לו המילים המיוחדים להתיר אסור זה מרהטיו, וא"כ שני הדברים עולים ביחד הקב"ה משיח אלמים ועי"ז מתיר אסורים

    א לייכדעיגען שבת און א פרייליכען תמיד

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  • S

    Student -7 years ago

    Hi,
    I've written to you in appreciation of your recognition of depression before, and I write to you again. I'm thanking you for reading that letter of the woman in the blind museum out loud. It resonated with me deeply and it gave me great comfort that there are orthodox rabbis willing to face that there can be a pain and sadness farther than that which "Middos" and "self-control" alone can placate. I grew up In the average Frum community; a conventionally invalidating environment towards my depression, which caused me to devise a rather pessimistic and even bitter viewpoint of orthodoxy and it's effectiveness with mental illness.
    For example when my father saw your ten minute letter together with me he said "oy she's such an intelligent woman, it's such a nebuch she's in such pain. She should get a job. Working and keeping busy is what people need. Such a pity, she sounds like she has a lot of gifts. Maybe dwelling about it and writing about it isn't helping"........no amount of explaining to him that she's NOT a nebuch and that she's an example of a woman who learned to cope with her mental illness …..that she’s living now……what the purpose in sharing her story was.....I was unable to illustrate for him any explanation.
    I’ve seen this attitude time and time again by countless people in my community, and others like it. I don’t blame, or judge, I understand it doesn’t come from a bad place, but from a lack of basic education and awareness. But still; the dismissiveness, it hurts.
    Therefore when I see a religious rabbi speaking about such a strong and courageous woman in such a validating and positive way it brings me great comfort that there are people who do care, and who do know, and who do believe us; that not everything is going unnoticed by everyone. Thank you for sharing your intelligence, your heart, and your beautiful illustrative mind with all of us. I appreciate more then you'll ever know.
    Sephorah

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  • G

    guest -7 years ago

    The letter you read at the woman's shiur was astounding. I still don't have access to the comments on yeshiva.net (I am reluctant to adjust my filter to show them I have to work sometime!!) but I am sure there was much feedback. If she didn't already hear it from many others (and quite frankly even if she did) she should know that my wife and I both found her to be extremely insightful, a deep thinker and a deep heart, and a brilliant writer. Her story about the museum really needs to be read by all, it should actually be required reading in all high schools. If it hasn't been done yet I would humbly suggest someone cutting the parts that refer to and pertain to the shiur that preceded it and getting this out in print. On a more personal note if you are still in contact with her please let her know that I am sure that any thinking and feeling person that heard what she wrote now feels along with her and davens for her continued success in her struggles, we wish her only beracha and hatzlocho with much simcha, yishuv hadaas and menuchas hanefesh.

    ומשום שמעכ"ת הוא העוסק עם אנשים הרבה ע"י כוחו העצום של רוח ממללא אכתוב כאן כוונה קצרה שנפל אלי ברעיון בעת אמירת נשמת, אומרים המשיח אלמים והמתיר אסורים ואפשר לומר כי יש כמה מיני אסורים בעולם, ובפרט אסורי הנפש אשר הם יכולים להיות קשים מכולם, וע"פ רוב אסורי הנפש הם ניתרים ע"י דיבורים, דיבורים של עצה או של חיזוק או עידוד או דבר של תורה בעתו וכו' וידעו הכל העוסקים בעסק הזו כי הדיבור הנכון בזמנו הוא כולו סייעתא דשמיא, ומי שם פה לאדם הלא אנכי ה', ונמצא כי הכח להתיר אסורים הוא בא דוקא ממה שהקב"ה הוא משיח אלמים ופותח פה המדבר ליתן לו המילים המיוחדים להתיר אסור זה מרהטיו, וא"כ שני הדברים עולים ביחד הקב"ה משיח אלמים ועי"ז מתיר אסורים

    א לייכדעיגען שבת און א פרייליכען תמיד

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  • A

    Anonymous -7 years ago

    Author of the letter,
    Thanks for being so Real, Honest and Personal and serving as an inspiration for us all.

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  • S

    shlomo -7 years ago

    You asked in your shiur about the Yiddish word tzichtick.

    The German word is tüchtig - handy, resourceful. Same in Yiddish.

    Love your shiurim.

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  • RYJ

    Rabbi YY Jacobson -7 years ago

    Here is the letter of the woman, which I read in the opening of the class:

    I found your shiur to be as insightful as usual. You are very articulate and weave your shiur so masterfully, effortlessly and beautifully. Almost too beautiful, Rabbi Jacobson.

    Is light and dark as simple as lighting a candle, flicking a switch?

    Obviously, I am no stranger to inner darkness. Even more, I can personally attest to how easy it is to get consumed by ones darkness so much so, you go blind. I have been lucky enough to succumb to the darkness and for many years that darkness has clouded my perception. I know darkness all right. And I also know how a little light can abolish a lot of darkness. I searched for that elusive light for many years and in many ways, still do.

    That being said, I find it frustrating that as mystical and ethereal as the light may seem, nobody acknowledges or speaks about how that one little light can only burn for as long as it has enough oil to fuel its light. Is keeping the light going as simple as adding more fuel to the fire? Well, sometimes, for some people, i guess... Depending where that fuel comes from. But what if you don't have enough inner resources for fuel? While some ppl have an existential energy that can keep fueling the light with some efforts, there are ppl who have to outsource their fuel. The energy is not in them, but around them. Be it in meds, therapy or whatnot. Does that make it less worthwhile?
    Less altruistic? Less authentic?

    People need to know and hear that not always can darkness be dispelled from within. It took years of me battling depression for me to finally 'succumb' to 'happy pills' which allowed for the light to ignite. Do you know how many years I have blamed myself for not 'seeing' the light? For not having enough emunah, for not being grateful enough... I didn't want to analyze myself to death. I wanted to live and climb out of the darkness. But I was paralyzed and frustrated at my incompetence. Even now when it's crystal clear to me that my meds are absolutely vital to my mental health, I judge myself harshly for not finding the light intuitively, naturally.. But now now, that would be so unfair to my personal journey, wouldn't it?

    My truth is not your truth, as you said so poignantly... Two contradicting truths are not mutually exclusive. Both truths are true for the individuals that it speaks to. So what if we find our lights through different sources. A light is a light, right?

    Yet what if there is a third truth. The one who is actually wholly blind? The one who no amount of light can help dispel the darkness, for he is destined to never see. Is he doomed? Should he be faulted for his darkness?

    Allow me to elaborate please. (And forgive me for going on so long... I did just listen to a brilliant shiur that has my brain muscles contracting convulsively...)

    A couple of months ago I went to Eretz Yisroel. While there, i visited the Blind Museum. Simply explained it's a museum that is entirely pitch black. You hobble your way through many different rooms with a walking cane and slowly you learn to rely on all your senses to direct you. There's the rocking boat, the smell of seawater, the stumble of a lurking step.

    It was terrifying, to say the least. I felt acutely more vulnerable and insecure than I ever felt in my life. We were a group of six frantic strangers and one guru guide (who was actually really blind) and the darkness. The only thing I knew about anyone in the room, were their voices - zeh hu.

    Consistently, throughout the tour, I subconsciously learned to drown out the strangers voices around me and train my ears to listen for the one voice I instinctively trusted to guide me to safety - namely, that of our blind tour guide.

    I allowed his voice to guide me to the 'shuk' a room with a wide array of smells assaulting my senses in a sensual tsunami. He had us all 'shop' items from the baskets... I remember picking up this wrinkled, rubbery ball and smelling its citrus waft before determining I held an orange in my hand. To be honest, I also picked up something slimy and mushy but didn't have the guts to smell it's identity.

    Nothing though could have prepared me for the for the 'music' room. It was an empty room - I know that because of the echo I heard - and we all sat on the floor doing nothing - just listening to beautiful Bach and Mozart compositions. It was perhaps one of the most visceral experiences I have ever had. I could feel the music in my bones, the vibrations in the floor! Yes, really. But I digress...
    The last room (the point I'm finally aiming for....) was the 'cafe'... We ordered snacks, made our way to a table, groped our way around chairs and finally settled in for what was to be a fascinating chance to ask our authentically blind guide everything we ever wanted to know about being blind.
    For the first time since I entered the museum I felt comfortable in the darkness. I was grounded in my own space - I had this. Or so I thought.

    It was quiet and all you heard was the ruffling of snacks being opened when the guide turned his attention to me and asked out loud, "Julie, why aren't you relaxing? Sit back fully, settle into your chair - make yourself comfortable..."
    I was flabbergasted to say the least. The room was pitch black and even I didn't realize I was sitting uptight and upright!

    "How do you know how I am sitting!" I blurted out.. You can't even see me!"
    He didn't even pause to respond.
    Simply, authentically, he said something I will never forget, "I don't have to see you to feel your anxiety, Julie."

    I was blown away.

    Flummoxed, I told him, "For a blind person you sure 'see' a heck lot more than most 'seeing' people do."

    The rest of the hour was spent in fascinating exchange. He told his life story, his accomplishments, his trials. I was mesmerized by this guide. He was so brilliant, so intuitive, so inspiring. He 'saw' me.

    And then the lights went on and I got to 'see' him.

    Rabbi, I'm ashamed to admit this but I recoiled in shock. His eyes were half mast, fluttering jarringly. His gait was uneven, his teeth buck, stained and crooked. Frankly, I just stared. Horrified.
    I couldn't reconcile the wise, trustworthy, and insightful guide with this bumbling physical mess. My eyes saw, my brain knew, yet they couldn't mesh it all together.

    I was horrified.

    How was I so erringly human, so grossly judgmental? How was it possible that the two realities wouldn't correlate? Which one was true - was it light? Was it darkness?

    And it was on that day that I learned a truth I will always cherish. Both are true. Everyone knows we need the light but far too few people know that sometimes we need the darkness to 'see' the light. Light doesn't alter our reality - it just clears our vision. But who's to say it's not the darkness that connects us to our reality. It's the darkness that allows us to let our guard down, be real. Connect with our true selves.
    And truly, one has to feel the darkness to appreciate the light and the clarity it brings.

    I think I may have lost my way a bit in this ramble but what I'm really trying to say is this; yes Chanukah celebrates the light, but truly it's the inner darkness that allows for its celebration. For were there no darkness how how would the light even be significant? And sometimes, experiencing our inner darkness can actually be vital to our growth. And yes you did mention that in your shiur.... but what more people need to know is that not finding the light may not always be your fault. It's okay to need help igniting the light and it's okay if it takes you more effort to keep that light going. We all have our individual tafkid to accomplish and our own truths to live by!

    If you are reading this through the end, I just want to say thank you for listening to my gibberish. I am honored.

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    • Y

      Yaakov -7 years ago

      Absolutely beautiful

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Vayigash Women's Class

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • January 3, 2017
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  • 5 Tevet 5777
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