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Before a New Light Emerges, You Must Go Into Quarantine

Why Reb Shimon Bar Yochai Screamed When His Father-in-Law Wept

2 hr 23 min

The cave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Peqiin

Class Summary:

On Monday Night, 17 Iyar, 5780, May 11, 2020, Lag Baomer, Rabbi YY conducted a zoom fabrengen with the Chabad Community of New Haven followed by Q & A

Please leave your comment below!

  • M

    Moshe -4 years ago

    Reply to anonymous above

    The format here is that with each successive reply (not too many go back and forth) the width gets skinnier and skinnier.  We ran out of room. Hence a new "wide" post. 

      For starters I am not anonymous at all. My name is Moshe Isenberg and when I I comment it is reviewed,  like all comments, by Rabbi YY who not only knows me, but gave me explicit permission to continue here after I asked. Its you who are anonymous.  But that's ok, cuz it's about the  content and not the person here. 

      The main point is that this is a Torah shiur, the specific topic being the  growth that comes after a quarantine or imprisonment. Moshe Rabbenu. The Rashbi. The Rebbeim.  And ditto for us after this quarantine.  We must grow from this, or it was in vain.  

      So any question, whether from the person who sent in a query to the shiur, or your comment, might be fine and relevant elsewhere, but  is simply not on topic here. As if it was a question of hilchos Shabbos.  Being respectful, Rabbi YY answered the original question by comparing America of 2020 with real repressive regimes that grabbed power and were oppressive.  And it is Rabbi YY that reviewed and passed your original comment as well though just as off topic. I added that in terms of content I personally disagreed with conspiracy and power grab  theories, and I answered you on point,   your point, even though it's all off point given the title of the shiur above and the name of the site in general. The entire question is for a political forum, not a Torah site. 

       That said, I can continue to answer you  briefly and specifically: I never attacked you personally. I addressed your point for its content even though this isn't the place. I was not sarcastic  but addressed you by the moniker you chose. Your conjecture that it was Rabbi YY answering you is without foundation--he answers when he chooses with his name. Look around above and elsewhere  on the site, i do as well and everyone knows who I am. Your presumption of "hiding" behind a fake name is your projection of your own  anonymity.  

      No one here is judging you.  Even though off topic for both the site and the shiur, I answered your specific points of content as best I can. Twice before and now. Look around here at the comments on any of the thousand of  shiurim, there is no political discussion. A site like this  cannot thematically contain all manner of topics. And still, both the original query and yourself were given the mic, so to speak. Imho, very generous and tolerant.

       It seems you have a particular agenda about conspiracy and power grab  theory, and that's fine, just this is not the  place for that. And still the off topic matter has graciously  been given space here for hundreds of  words. What would happen if a Torah topic of rising higher after quarantine was posted to a political forum or site?  It would be irrelevant and off topic there just as it is here. You take the response of "off topic" as being a personal challenge.  Not true. Plus, I believe I answered your points of content. (I do not recall anything about a "shanda" or denigrating "thousands of  yidden".)


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    • Anonymous -4 years ago

      You keep on referring to the questions in the class as if it were coming from me. Are you trying to do this because it sounds better? rather than realize that its not only 1 troublemaker?

      You are doing now what the entire media is doing. Discrediting people by twisting and answering everything but the main point of the conversation.

      The question is as valid as any other question asked in this shiur and all shiurim for the last few weeks.

      I was trying to be humble all along but you don’t want to give up and you making me sound like I took a torah class and turn it into politics, conspiracy etc. NO THATS NOT THE CASE.

      My question is as follows (I apologize for being so fresh, I was pushed to the wall)

      Dear Rabbi YY, how dare you talking on thousands of your Jewish brethren as if you are the only one who figured out yiddishkeit? In the name of "health"?. If you are so sincere, than you would have left some reservations to other opinions. All other garbage that I have written about was only to prove that there is another side and it’s very possible that we are in the wrong side of it.

      I can elaborate on the question but I don’t want to be pogea in the kavid of the Rabbi more than I need to.

      My intention was not chas vesholum to embarrass anyone, chas vesholum. I was hoping the Rabbi will understand the question and retract from his extremism and ask at least a half way apology to the people and communities he was denigrating.

      Rabbi YY, please don’t be mad at me. You can see I was pushed to the wall by someone who testifies that his comments are with your blessings. (it seems like this guy Moshe has a very close communication with you, I wish I had too but I don’t, so I can’t take it up privately with you) I couldn’t leave it this way where he makes me sound like an idiot, I am not.

      I don’t mean "me". I mean the other side the question represents. If I let it go like this, we failed them again.

      מודים דרבנן היינו שבחייהו

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      • Anonymous -4 years ago

        Finally to your question why this has to do with lag Bomer and emerging from our current state I will explain you.

        There were some questions coming up in this shiur and other shiurim around this time asking hard line questions on the topic of the deaths of 24 thousand talmudim of Rabbi Akivah.

        Rabbi YY keeps on stressing that the torah is very precise with words and information given, its called Torah, its not a story book.

        The gemarah teaches us 2 historical facts about that era 1. There was a pandemic. 2. They didn’t respect each other. I don’t need to repeat all the questions that was presented about this issue but everyone asked the very obvious questions. Why does the gemarah have to say the later, why couldn’t it be left with the physical fact of being casualties of a pandemic? Second, how come the talmidie rabbi akivah didn’t respect each other?

        Coronavirus gives us a very clear understanding, like everything else. Rabbi YY mentioned many times, there is clarity, yes there is.

        I am looking around and see what a confusion a pandemic could bring. Everyone gets so desperate and they start over reacting. The idea of omed al daato becomes much stronger. Much less tolerance to others etc.

        It could very possibly be that the gamarah is talking about one big phenomena where a pandemic brought upon them not to respect each other……..

        Comes Rashbi and balances this out. His son came out of the cave and wanted to burn people that didn’t behave properly (obviously in his opinion) what does his father tell him? No, that’s not the way. The biggest and holiest human being has a limited brain including all this great tzadikim, you cant just burn people that in your eyes are wrong

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        • M

          Moshe -4 years ago

          Yet another reply to  anonymous:  By posting comments on  your own comments the space allotted here  gets thinner and  thinner. Any succeeding comment gets harder to  read and takes up more "length". As you can see i am quite busy ,BH, and can't respond quickly. 

            The first and main point in my comment on yours is simply, and you don't seen to get this, is that a political point about conspiracy theory and  power grab by politicians is completely irrelevant to a shiur that we must rise higher after quarantine and off topic altogether on an educational Torah site. By continuing you don't seem to grasp that  basic point. The same would be true for a Torah based comment on a political site. Simply off topic and not at all any of the seemingly negative  expressions you bring. 

            As  before though, I will briefly respond to your points, howsoever off topic here, just to  "tie up loose ends". If you wish to contact Rabbi privately its: [email protected] 

          There are hundreds of Torah scholars and  speakers online each giving their "one of 70 facets of Torah". No one, including Rabbi YY claims to have "figured out yiddishkeit" fully or exclusively as you allege. Different approaches resonate with  different people. Some  like the chesed approach,  others like gevurah. Such a comment bespeaks of a chip on  the  shoulder for some reason.  See Torahanytime.com where Rabbi YY is but one of hundreds of  speakers presented each of whom has their angle and none of whom claim to have figured it mall out as you allege. 

           Frankly, as I said before I have no clue what you are referring to with "shanda", "not allowing other opinions", "denigrating thousands of yidden" etc. I might try to find the time to relisten to the shiur but I recall not even a hint of  such content. This was a shiur about rising higher after imprisonment or quarantine.  Along came a simply off topic query about political conspiracy and power grab. That was answered on the spot quite succinctly and directly even though it was off topic. You continue that "off-topicness" in your comment. When that too was answered on point and both the original query and your comment noted to be off topic here, you persist with allegations.  

          "We are all on the wrong side" Huh? "Left reservations to the other opinion"? Huh? ""Embarrass"? Huh? "Extremism"? Huh? "Apologize "? Huh? "Denigrating"? Huh? "Being discredited"? Huh? 

           I really have no clue what you are talking about, I can't even fathom it. If anything it sound similarly paranoid, like the original question properly directed to politicians or discussions  on a political forum.

            The original query and your comment both have the same conspiracy and power grab  point and both are off topic here. For some reason you don't seen to be able to grasp that. Who knows? Maybe you're even right, though I doubt it, but yours is a discussion for a different forum. Same as if you brought up  global warming. You can't seem to get that point and just can't let go. 

            By saying that your topic is off topic here no one is "pushing you to the wall". If anything you have an agenda and wish to discuss anywhere whether or not  its appropriate there. You are cordially invited to take your points to a proper forum. You have the Rabbi's personal email if you wish to pursue it. 

            I believe Rabbi shows great tolerance and respect by accepting an off topic question during the  shiur and by passing along and posting  your similar off topic comment.  Neither of  you are "troublemakers", but both of you are simply off topic. Frankly, you didn't turn the Torah shiur into anything, the original query didn't and I don't think too many people will bother reading all the way down here in skinny long type, below the shiur to follow the back and  forth  of a point that is off topic of the shiur and the entire site. Its only out of respect for another yid (fixing up  the sefira) that I repeat my responses. 

            Dear yid: you obviously have strong feelings  about a particular poltical agenda. Realize where the proper place is  to discuss it and to exchange conspiracy theories and  debate same. It isn't here. 

            Contrary to your assertion the point you raise is not at all the "main point" here, nor are you being "discredited". The main point of  the shiur is that like our greatest Jewish leaders who came before us  we must grow higher and better from this quarantine. Your political point is not the main point at all. It is your own main point.  And  it is off point here, though it might be a good point and on point elsewhere.  I wish you well. 



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  • Anonymous -4 years ago

    Comparing America to Communism

    Dear Rabbi,

    I am a steady follower and I am pleased that this topic came up. You said you may be naive, I am not sure if its that or you may be overworked with so many programs and you dont leave enough time for yourself to think thru current events. I would never expect this coming form you.

    You took a stand to rather make Jews look bad as clueless, expressing very harsh words against major parts of your Jewish bretheren instead of realy looking into the matter. This is a very heavy topic and I wouldnt have a problem debating this with you in public but I will share with you some links. Some were written before the coronavirus started. But, you may start linking the 2 together.






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    • M

      Moshe -4 years ago

      I have studied comparative constitutional law. I asked myself what made Ametica into the super power in 200 years? Was it the natural resources in the land? That helps but other countries have as much or more. I daresay much American superiority has come about (besides for Hashem's desire) due to the brilliant document called the  American constitution.  It divides powers,  federal and  state, sets up three branches of  government to check and balance  institutes civil rights protections,  ensures elections, etc. 

        Mr. Anonymous. Where is Trump's "Mein Kampf"? Ymsm said what he was going to  do. And he did it. 

        Even now the Supreme Court,  including some   judges Trump himself has appointed, has vetoed some of his programs, is going to  force him to submit tax returns, etc. States are challenging the feds about the power split.  People out of work are protesting and politicians face elections. 

        This is not Gernany of the 30s. The public is too savvy. If anything the mainstream media is ANTI-Trump and largely shape public opinion. Social media around the world have made maas instant grassroots movements possible and  easy in many domains.  (Arab spring, crowd  funding,  etc). 

        Thus is WW3. And the enemy is a tiny virus. Over 200,000 dead so far. America has a disproportionate share precisely because it wasn't locked down quickly and firmly like other countries. Even EY was more forceful and therefore had much a much lower percentage of fatalities.  It is also unprecedented and so there is even machlokis in the medical and scientific community as to what to do. Open up or not.. In the White House there's machlokis.  That's healthy free debate. 

       Look.  Even recently presidents have been impeached tho it was not worthy of removal.  I believe that the ingenious system set up by the founders (btw, I'm Canadian) will preserve democracy and will ensure there is no "power grab" by those wisely exercising temporary drastic measures to fight a temporary drastic enemy. And that's true even if they make tactical errors fighting. 

        When pondering whether humanity could destroy itself with nuclear weapons,  as frum yidden we must remember that ultimately Hashem is running the  show. Ditto for this crisis.  

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      • Anonymous -4 years ago

        I am not referring to anything political and am not going into one party vs the other. You are mentioning the constitution and that is what we need to focus. What is it worth if there is anything that can abolish it. Today its in the name of “Emergency” tomorrow its something else. No, we are not in Germany in the 30’s but the 30’s came after the teens and after the 20’s 

        Rabbi YY preached many times how countries in the past that stepped on human rights ended up evil as evil could get.I don’t want to argue our current state vs historical states that already played out but ignoring prior events that lead the world for them to become what they became.

        What we witnessed the last 2 months was that a strong country like USA stepped on the constitution and basic human rights in the name of good. It was all based on a 1 side opinion that it saves life. It has totally ignored other valid opinions. Other opinions from the very same level of professionalism (they just didn’t make it to a Gov position) is that the quarantine is not only NOT saving lives but it makes it worse because we are missing the opportunity of getting rid of it thru herd immunity.

        This was enough to have police hit and arrest people that chose to practice their free will. Not only that but their opinions were so manipulative that it made us take sides and call our Jewish brethren all kind of derogatory names because they chose to believe something else. We did in the name of “venishmartem” totally not seeing that those people have the same “venishmartem” but trust another doctor. Yes, the Torah wants us to adhere to doctors, does it say which doctor? Why are we failing to see the other side and make peace that what’s going on is okay? I will attach (1 of many) articles that states the opinion of very highly medical professionals that sees it a different way. Is Dr. Faucci halachachically stronger than Dr Katz? May we talk on other yidden Lashan hora without knowing the facts? There are clearly 2 sides to it. Who draws the line on that?

        We are okay to kill a million babies a year in the name of “free choice” but we cannot exercise our free choice when it violates a one-sided opinion that we are still clueless of who is right.

        This may be a big error and we may be in the wrong side of history. We must stick to principal and not get carried away with emotions because this is already out of control and it may very well be that it hasn’t even started, and we don’t know where it will lead. So no, looking at hindsight to Russia and Germany we are not there yet, and I do not know if we will get there. I am saying that the way we behave right now could very possibly lead to such situations. It should be taken in consideration and it should not let you just get intimidated because its not in line with your current emotions.


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        • M

          Moshe -4 years ago

          Dear Anon. First, a friendly reminder that this is a Torah site devoted to  disseminating Torah.  I'm not Rabbi YY's lawyer, or, maybe I am.  This was a zoom shiur about Lag B'omer, the Rashbi, etc. To make it interesting,  Rabbi opened it up to questions. This format is new but has been excellent recently as kids and teens ask gevaldike deep questions on yiddishkeit and practice. One irrelevant question came in on the live stream about current conspiracy theory  and power grab. Rabbi answered it comparing to his parents experiences in the former USSR. 

            You posted a  challenge based on  conspiracy and power grab. The  Rabbi chose not to answer you. I did instead. Now you have a rejoinder to me. I can and will answer you briefly but a comment section on a Torah class is not the place for such a  debate.

            To start, the constitution is not being "abolished". Every act by the president or Congress must be based on delegated powers from the constitution.  Anyone can challenge improper exercise, in fact there are at least 3 such cases now before SCOTUS. There are emergency powers in war time. And this is war, of a new kind, that strikes Americans at home and not just those in Europe. 

            No one is ignoring history and past occurrences of  power grab by authoritarian leaders. By hashgocha an election is coming up and the people will decide who is best fit to carry on afterwards. 

            This is a novel situation.  Experts disagree. But when it comes to  action those empowered by law to decide must chose one opinion sometimes. Other countries have done worse,   some better. It seems that the president is going with the majority opinion of experts, who themselves shift as more data comes in..

            Women who abort have the legal right to  do so. When the government at every level makes a decision   perforce it will impact some groups' "free choice". Every law does. But they are trying to  maximize the good overall. It's a mind boggling balancing of vital signs and  dollar signs. Every time the majority has it, a minority loses out. It is not "free will" to disobey the law, a law for everyone,  it is illegal behavior. 

           E.g. the government,  the majority of  doctors and  scientists   the majority of rabbonim and Rebbes,  etc., have said to cease minyonim of more than a  certain number. To contravene that is not an exercise of "free will", it is breaking the law.  Ditto for driving 100 mph. Both endanger  others. "Your free will to swing your arm ends with my nose". 

            Finally, once there a majority opinion, whether in secular or  jewish law, the minority must follow the  majority and that is peace. Not the majority deferring to  the  minority.  See the story with the Tanna ordered to come on his "yom kippur" with his purse and  stick. That's the system. Be well anonymous. 

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          • Anonymous -4 years ago

            Your entire response is more rhetoric than sticking to the topic in nature. I will only address what I feel I haven’t addressed in my previous reply.

            My intend was not to get into any personal feud with anyone, you have decided to take it to this level. You have also attacked my choice of staying anonymous with your sarcasm that I find funny but as far as I am concerned you are as anonymous as I am you just put a name “Moshe” next to it.  I don’t know who you are if you are the Rabbi’s lawyer or maybe the Rabbi himself.

            Yes, this is a Torah shiur that I value very much, and I consider myself a Talmud. The reason why this Rabbi became so popular is because he opened a platform where no one is being judged and you can ask any question without being judged. People are challenging GOD and that’s ok. We have tolerance to the highest level. Suddenly if the Rabbi is being challenged, this becomes off limits. We will always find ways how to respect every Yid but suddenly, it’s okay to call tens of thousands of Jews “Shanda”

            You are missing the point. I didn’t want to go this route, you are forcing me.

            The rest of your post was already addressed, no point of repeating.

            P.S. I heard a good one this week. Someone wanted to explain what takrovas avodah zara is in our generation. When a Rabbi sit on a head table and doesn’t eat his ice cream even if he wants it and he would eat it if not for the fact that he thinks that its beneath him that’s takrovas avodah zara. He gives away part of himself, his desires, for his avodah zara

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  • M

    Moshe -4 years ago

    Yerida letzorich aliyah. Crouch before leaping

    So during our earthly sojourn, many of the greatest leaders (and "regulars") had to be jailed, quarantined,  hidden away or restricted  before going higher, gaining greater insights, etc than before the restriction.  

      Wasn't this true about golus Mitzrayim and the geula that followed for the fledging nation as a whole? Wasnt this dictated explicitly by Hashen to Avraham? Seems like it's a paradigm that He wants. 

      Maybe also from the  point of a neshoma up there, coming down here and living a life down here is alo a "quarantine", a restriction,  a jailing, before ultimately going yet higher, gaining more insight, doing more, than before the descent /restriction down here?

     We see this b'gashmius today. Besides our greatest leaders like Moshe, the Rashbi, our Rebbeim,  even Rubashkin,  lehavdil Mandela, Gandhi, etc.,  emerged from jail to become greater than before. 

      And maybe this paradigm of freedom,  restriction and then greater aliyah is also true looking at the stage when we had the Beis hamigdash, then golus  and then our ultimate Geula, it should come speedily? 

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  • MI

    Moshe Isenberg -4 years ago

    The story about the just liberated holocaust survivor who cried when he saw people return to "normal". 

    Chavall if we do now after our quarantine and don't come out improved.. Rashbi didn't at first.

       Maybe "normal" is the default mode. After yetzias Mitzrayim and krias yam suf, and even Mattan Torah yidden reverted quickly. Even after the second luchos and forgiveness,  many returned to "normal" behavior in the midbar.
       Addicts often relapse. 
    .   Criminals are often recidivists. 
        Bad habits often return (e.g. diets)
       New years resolutions often fail.
       Bts often lapse. 
      But not always. 
       Maybe this rise and fall pattern,so common, is the standard, or at least most frequent,  and only those with the strongest will to stick to new level, the new knowledge and experience, persevere and hold on. 
      Maybe: "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you  stronger!" Versus. The inevitable trend to devolution and disintegration. 

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Lag Baomer 5780 Farbrengen

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • May 11, 2020
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  • 17 Iyyar 5780
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Dedicated in the merit of Reb Yehuda Dahan, for Arichus Yamim and Shanim Tovos.

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