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Teaching the Fly to Look Up

I Will Not Let Go of My Trauma Until It Blesses Me

1 hr 36 min

Class Summary:

This women's class was presented on Tuesday Parshas Chukas, 6 Tammuz, 5779, July 9, 2019 at the Ohr Chaim Shul, Monsey, NY


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  • M

    moshe -3 years ago

    I became frum at 30 and helped found a bt kollel. Have been studying Torah and chassidus over 30 years with the best teachers. I never really "got" deep chassidus until I heard it explained from Rabbi YY. Besides making it  clear, he makes it relevant to the here and now and us.

       Moshe, Monsey NY

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  • EK

    Esther Kosofsky -3 years ago

    It is amazing how timely and relevant this shiur is in 2020 and we collectively have to learn not only to cope but to truly find the blessings and to remember to look up, and not down during the pandemic. 
    Thank you for your inspiration and insight. 

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  • Y

    Yitzi -4 years ago

    Thank you for all the amazing lessons you impact to us, in your global yeshiva. The way you are able to connect the timeless wisdom of the Torah into our everyday lives of 2019 is priceless.

    a note for the class of Chukas 2019: The Lubavitcher rebbe actually told the Crown Heights Hatzallah not to use the snake on a stick symbol, as it comes from a greek avoda zara.

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  • E

    esther -4 years ago

    I won the lotto

    Wow this was sooooo powerful.

    “Teaching the fly to look up.“ I never ever heard this theory, but boy did it leave an impact on me!

    Instead of being stuck to horrible words from people who are x sensitive, you gave me tools that are priceless. I feel like I won the lotto. Thajk you. 

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  • J

    jamel -4 years ago

    so healing

    As usual, apart from gaining knowledge from the lessons on Tuesdays, I am able to relay something that I learnt that day that pertained to the group (co-dependent women, mothers, sisters, other family members) that I lead. They were riveted as I told them about the elevation of the snake on the pole and, being aware of it, look it in the eye, not be intimidated by it but looking above it to G-d, where healing, and help comes from.

    I was also able tie in Jacob's struggle, and after being 'beaten up', asking for the 'blessing' (wisdom, lesson) in that situation. They were able to recognize the 'snakes', and were able to bring it to G-d/looking beyond it for healing.

    Every Tuesday, there is a lesson I can extract, share and combine with our lesson for the day. It is great to see the growth in these women, as they grasp the truth. One woman (Jewish, secular), never read the Bible, wants now to read the Bible, to read the stories, because of what I have been relating.

    I do Krav Maga, and I relate what I learn to some of the students and to the Sensei. I volunteer with women with Parkinson's, (most Orthodox), and invite them to come to the classes. I thank you, and pray that G-d will continue to Bless and use you for His Glory.

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  • M

    Moshe -4 years ago

    I wanted to thank you for the שיעורים as I'm listening now to you for a while and really like it .
    I want trough a lot in life and was pushing quite a bit (now over 40) I heard this week's class (חקת )I know that you are right but don't think it's easy.

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  • S

    Shimon -4 years ago

    Beautiful shiur as usual!

    It occurred to me the first time Moshe encounters a nachash (Shemos 4:3)

    Vayonos Moshe – same loshon, there meaning he fled; here is no longer afraid

    Have a good Shabbos

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  • P

    pinchas -4 years ago

    the snake then and now

    Note the change: In shemos Moshe runs from the sname. Not now. Why?

    Moshe then was told to throw the mateh artza - then he was viewing it from above looking down, on the aretz - when you see a nachash in and of the aretz it looks very frightening; so Moshe was scared. But when looked at as you said m’lmateh l’maale, it was inspirational and the source indeed of the healing. 

    May you continue to teach and inspire for many years in good health!

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  • R

    Rachel -4 years ago


    Very powerful but sometimes this message gets me very angry.

    It comes across as a lack of empethy with all our pain and what we endured.

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  • S

    Shira -4 years ago

    How? How?

    I listened to your shiur on Chukas last night.
    Thank you for touching on a very sensitive topic of a perspective on how to deal with past difficulties.
    Usually when I listen to your shiurim I come out with alot of clarity, and I usually find there’s actionable content where I can take something and apply it and grow.
    With this Shiur however I found it very difficult to understand.
    What does it mean to “look up”. How do I take a trauma such as my father molesting my siblings and look up with it?
    I get the concept of it shouldnt knock me down and put me in the pit. I get the idea that the fly has to just look up to escape the bottle.
    Im just confused about how to take “looking up” and turning into something practical when it comes to this type of thing.
    Who am I looking in the face? I have avoided talking to my father because its toxic for me, and confuses me. I have BH a family to take care of I dont need his toxicity entering the things I need to do. So I’ve made a solid and conscious decision that he doesnt belong in my life in any way.
    But according to your shiur that is essentially running away. However Im still confused, how do I turn that toxicity into the healing?
    I'm not sure Im explaining this clearly but for now thats the closest I can get to explaining my confusion.

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    • Anonymous -4 years ago

      I’m so sorry and I feel so bad that my class brought back pain and confusion into your life. But I’d like to clarify what I think you may have misunderstood in the shiur.
      If talking to a  father who molested you, or your siblings, or any one who abused you or your loved ones, brings toxicity and confusion into your life and interferes with your ability to be there for your family, then there is absolutely nothing in my shiur that would ask you to do anything other than what you are already doing. Not talking to him is not the equivalent of running away. Rather, it is the basic recipe and "hishtadlus" that you need to do to in order to protect yourself and those you love. 
      “Looking up” in your situation means looking in the face of all the pain and trauma that you’ve experienced, including the pain that you have a toxic father that you might never again allow into your life. That’s part of your trauma. That is very painful. And we ought not to run away from that. We all want to have a father we can love, trust and have in our lives. Accepting this sad fast is deeply painful and tragic. 
      “Running away” from the trauma as it was expressed in the shiur means running away from the pain and trauma that sits inside of you as a result of your past experience. That’s what we should not be afraid to face. We want to be able to look at the pain, acknowledge it, make space for it, respect it, and then allow it to make us wiser, better and deeper.
      But “running away” is not a problem if we’re talking about trauma occurring in the present moment. If a wild dog is chasing me I should run away and not say: Ah this is great! Let me stay in danger zone. We should always try to avoid present moment trauma as an act of self compassion and self protection. Talking to your father would bring you into present moment trauma and avoiding your father is simply an act of self compassion and self protection.
      I’m so inspired that in-spite of what transpired in your life you manage to move on and build a family. Please continue to protect yourself and your family from any toxicity.
      May Hashem bless you and bring into your life only peace, serenity, joy and love. With much Hatzlacha.

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      • S

        shira -4 years ago

        So to clarify;
        Sometimes looking into the face of the results of the experience; i.e. the pain, the trauma, disappointment... rather than running away from it and burying it - is described as looking upward. Because by ignoring it or burying it, its as if you are leaving an infection languishing and it can result in more pain the more you ignore it.
        I do understand that. The main source of my growth was learning Tomer Devorah, which taught me how to face each emotion as it came up and to deal with it - not push it away.
        What I still think I don't understand fully is how the example of the snake tells us that. I think I get it but I need to think about it more as its a difficult topic to understand...
        To be honest the way I see it first hand is - looking up - is looking up to Hashem. And knowing that all this came from Hashem.
        Acknowledging that in its fullest capacity really brings back resentment and frustration, and the question of why we all had to go through this.
        From my vantage point - I didn't know what my father was doing until I was in my 20's. When I found out my entire world spun and turned inside out. My visions of my loving father who would bounce his grandchildren on his knee's crashed to the ground. He became a vile serpant (maybe thats why this shiur struck me so hard), who on the surface was a good kind person.
        The type of person who was so kind to strangers; when we walked home from shul one cold rainy wintery friday night, picked up a poor man off the street that was shivering from cold and was going to die from hypothermia - and brought him into our house. Who did this with such an open (maybe nieve) heart that he didn't think and was about to go to sleep - and myself at 13 asked him how he was going to bed leaving a poor man in our house because "who knows if he will steal from us or what he will do". So he stayed up all night worrying because he didn't think of that - and probably saved that mans life - who very respectfully left with a drink and said thank you.
        How do I put that person together with the monster that did horrible things to my little beautiful siblings since they were young.
        So if I'm going to be 100% honest, then looking up - is saying "Hashem I'm so angry that you did that".
        Maybe that is what you mean - because in the end of the day - its ok to acknowledge anger and frustration. As long as you deal with it and you dont bury it. This is so that it shouldn't fester because in the end it always comes out where you don't want it to, and ends up hurting you and others around you.
        This is just the tip of the iceberg. I am so proud of my siblings and who they are and who they're becoming. My family I've built. 
        Thank you for being there, a Rabbi, who is not afraid to say what needs to be said, and open up topics that need to be spoken about. Your Shiurim have been a source of growth and inspiration to myself and my husband. 
        Wishing you only the best, health, hatzlacha and parnossa, and please keep doing what you are doing!

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        • Anonymous -4 years ago

          Thanks for sharing candidly your thoughts and feelings.
          I am not sure I can give you the answer how to "look up" at this travesty of justice. 
          One thing is sure. You need to do whatever it takes to protect yourself and your family. I am not sure at this stage "looking up" means getting back with your father. If his presence is toxic and brings trauma, you must protect yourself.
          Maybe looking up means seeing yourself as a courageous princess of Hashem, a loving and sensitive mother who knows pain too well and is determined to give her loved ones a meaningful safe and inspiring life.
          These are the things you are working on each day. So you are looking up!
          I feel wow...! What a special soul you are.

          None of us knows the answer to the question of Why Me?! (when you have a chance listen to my basics of emunah series #9). We do not understand the journeys of each soul. What we do know is this: You have a Divine core that was never been touched by abuse or dysfunction, and it isn't scarred, but is pure, whole, perfect, beautiful and holy, that's really who you are.

          You are never defined by your experiences, traumas, or dysfunction, because you are bigger and stronger than them.

          Don't fear your past. You are a piece of Hashem and invincible. 

          please watch this:


          If respecting your father in any way will cause you trauma, no need to respect. G-d will reward you, not punish you!

          Generally, with help of a top therapist expert in this, if needed, make sure you erect the proper boundaries between your father and your self so you can feel safe and secure.

          You need to be compassionate, non judgmental, loving, caring and empathetic with yourself. The same way you would be, if your best friend would have shared with you the life you endured.
          I know you are in tremendous amount of pain, but here is the truth about who you are. Your soul is splendid, beautiful, whole, pure and holy, as I wrote.
          Your soul NEVER became defined by ANY of the experiences, abuse, trauma, affairs or journeys that brought you to those very low places.
          Through it all, your soul always remained magnificent and full of sparkling light.
          As I shared, when we can begin to recognize this Divine part in us, we can begin to connect to that authentic part of the self and draw tremendous strength and healing.
          All that counts and is important is now. Don’t allow anymore your past guilt to steal more of your present moments of now.
          G-d is able to understand you more lovingly than any human being could.
          He understands what you endured more than anyone. There are sometimes journeys in our lives that we are put on, that G-d blinds us and when we look back, we can’t believe to where we have stooped, those places feel foreign and we almost don’t have recollection  how on earth did we crawl into  those impossible abysses.
          I have respect for your journey. And I stand in awe that with your painful history you still have the presence of mind to send me this email.
          You are a very special and unique soul, you have a light in you that needs to be brought into this world of ours. A light that nobody else will ever be able to bring forth but you, without your light this world will forever remain a little darker.
          In terms of Kibud of Av, all you have to focus now is to heal yourself. Only do things that will support that process. That is the avodah that God wants from you now. Since I can imagine that Kibud Av is not part of your healing, it’s not applicable to you.
          I’ll conclude this email that we don’t know why some of us are put on such painful journeys. All we know is that God is the Director of this “play” that started almost 6000 years ago. Nothing happens without His permission, every most minute detail about our life is planned with love, care, compassion and empathy. G-d has only one interest when he sends us into our life journey, where He places us, with whom and in what kind of situations. It’s never to allow us to just become victims of our journey. 
          It’s always to push us to bring our light into all those dark places we encounter on our journey to enable us to grow and gives us the opportunity to be the best possible “me” we can be. That process is usually develop through self awareness and to bring us to a much deeper understanding of ourselves and the truth.
          This does not explain anything, it is just an observation.
          Thank you for your light.

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  • E

    ezra -4 years ago


    wow wow, amazing.

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Women's Chukas Class

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • July 9, 2019
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  • 6 Tamuz 5779
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Dedicated by Jodi Kramer, L'iluy nishmas Yisroel ben Shmuel.

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