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The Sages Debate How to Heal from Deep Trauma

Where Chemistry, Physics, Halacha, Psychology and Healing Converge

1 hr 24 min

Class Summary:

This women’s Pesach Class, explaining a few parts of the Haggadah, was presented on Tuesday, Parshas Tzav, 6 Nissan, 5783, March 28, 2023, at Bais Medrash Ohr Chaim in Monsey, NY.

Right after we enumerate the ten plagues that befell Egypt, pouring out a little wine for each plague, we read of a debate that took place between three of the foremost sages during the second century CE, Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yoisi from the Galilee.

Rabbi Yoisi HaGlili says: “The Egyptians were struck in Egypt by ten plagues… Rabbi Eliezer says: “... Every plague that G-d brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt was comprised of four plagues...Thus they were struck by forty plagues;” Rabbi Akiva says: “... Every plague that G-d brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt was comprised of five plagues... thus they were struck by fifty plagues.”

What is this supposed to mean? The Torah states that Egypt was struck with ten plagues. Why would the Talmudic Sages debate this simple fact? Do we have to argue about everything? And what is the meaning of their views that each plague was comprised of four or five plagues? And what is the relevance to us?

The sages were addressing a big question: How deep can abuse, trauma, corruption, and evil penetrate a society collectively and each person individually? How messed up can you and I become? How sick can we become? How deep can the dysfunction run? And what is the path of healing? Is healing even always possible?

In Judaism, psychology and ethics are reflected in practical law. It is fascinating that the above dispute, finds expression in the world of Halacha: How do we treat our Chametz on Pesach?

How did Reb Yoisi Haglili treat his ex-wife who made his life miserable? How did Reb Akiva understand that trauma can affect your formless core? What did he teach us about the path toward healing from profound abuse and dissociation?

This class is based on the talks of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on Pesach of 5711 (1951), 5714( 1954), and 5718 (1958). Published in Likkutei Sichos, vol. 16 pp. 87-93.

Please leave your comment below!

  • Anonymous -1 year ago

    Hi Rabbi Jacobson. I recently listed to your Shiur "The Sages debate how to heal from TraumaIt was a delightful shiur, filled with insightful ideas. However, you stated that Rabbi Akiva came from the union of Sisra and Yael, on that fateful day when she was intimate with him 7 times to tire him out. However, I think you may have made a mistake. The Gemarah says that Rabbi Akiva came from "gayrim", and Yael was Jewish. Moreover, nowhere in shas does it say that Yael became pregnant from Sisra. I asked this question to two rabbanim, one of whom knows all shas by heart. Both verified that Rabbi Akiva came from the union of Sisra and a goyish woman, not Yael. The idea that Rabbi Akiva inherited, via epigenetics, the trauma of Yael as a result of the evening with Sisra may be a mistake. I am very curious if there is a source for this statement. Please let me know the source for this... I look forward to hearing from you...

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    • RY

      Rabbi YY -1 year ago

      Great questions, thank you.
      Below are the sources in Hebrew that Reb Akiva came from Sisra. Please show it to the person who was questioning it.

      עיין סנהדרין צ"ו: "מבני בניו של סיסרא למדו תורה בירושלים". ובדקדוקי סופרים מובאת הגירסא: "מבני בניו של סיסרא למדו תורה בירושלים, והוא רבי עקיבא". וכן כתב האר"י ז"ל, בספר "שער הגלגולים" הקדמה ל"ו: "רבי עקיבא בן גרים, שהוא מבני בניו של סיסרא". וכן כתב הרמ"ע מפאנו במאמר חיקור הדין ח"ה פי"א שהוא מזיווג יעל וסיסרא. ובמגלה עמוקות על ואתחנן אופן פח באריכות נפלאה, שזה היה מזיווג יעל וסיסרא. ועיין עיון יעקב ברכות סא, ב. פרי צדיק כי תבוא אות יא בשם הרמ"ע. עיין גם הר"ן בספר המפתח ברכות כז, ב. ועיין עוד בארוכה בספר כגבר יאזור עמוד קנ שציטט עוד מקורות בזה.

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  • Anonymous -1 year ago

    Rabbi,Thank you so muchFor the woman's Pesach class.   you are making sense of my deep dark trauma. (I was raped by my Father at a young age of 2-3 yrs old  for 6 yrs.)and witnessed my siblings being abused as well )Yes it penetrated every Adam, cell of self  To my core to my essence.in fact what came up for me in a recent Ayahuasca journey is that on a higher level of consciousness I'm fighting the battle of Yakoov and eisov. The tumaah / kedusha.I'm dealing and trying to heal deep and dark dysfunction.Rabbi, thanks for your understanding and support.Wishing you a chag kasher vsmeach

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  • Anonymous -1 year ago

    WOW that's awesome!  I really loved reading all of that about pesach!  Thank you so much for your beautiful words and pearls of wisdom that you always share with us!!  Have a Happy PESACH!

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  • CG

    Chava Green -1 year ago

    Question for Rabbi YY

    Can I use a flashlight for bedikas chametz since holding spoon feather and candle unsafe and messy?

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    • Anonymous -1 year ago

      from the ou

      One must check all rooms, closets and anywhere chametz may have been brought. Special care should be given to corners and crevices as it is possible that chametz may be lodged there. The Rama (432:2) writes that it is customary to hide pieces of bread so that one will definitely find chametz and the bracha will not be livatala (in vain). The Mishna Berura (432:13) quotes theArizal who recommended putting 10 pieces of bread in the home forKabbalistic reasons. Each piece should be carefully wrapped (to avoid leaving crumbs) and should be less than a kezayis (in case one gets lost). The bedikashould begin immediately after tzais ha’kochavim (approximately 42-72 minutes after sunset) with the aid of a single-wick candle. The generally accepted custom is to start with a candle and then one may transition to a flashlight if desired. (Halachos of Pesach (p. 86) quoting Rav Aharon Kotler zt”land Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l that a flashlight is acceptable.)

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    • T

      tzvi -1 year ago

      "May one use a flash light or a florescent light in the room to do the Bedika?

      [16]It is permitted to use a flash light or other form of electric light for the Bedika.

      Nevertheless, the custom is to use specifically a candle for the Bedika.[17]

      However, in a situation that the electricity is needed to help one do the Bedika, then one should not refrain from using it together with the candle.[18]

      Similarly, those areas which one cannot check properly with a flame due to fear of causing fire, then even Lechatchilah a flashlight should be used. If one does not have a flame available, then he may even Lechatchilah use a flashlight and say a blessing over it.[19]"

      -Shulchanaruchharav.com - rabbi goldstein

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Pesach/Hagadah Women's Class

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • March 28, 2023
  • |
  • 6 Nisan 5783
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Dedicated by Liz and Michael Muschel in loving memory of her mother, Mrs. Shirley Levy a"h, Sorah Pessel bas R' Aryeh Leib, for the 4th yartzeit, 22 Adar.

Dedicated by Eliot Kaplan in memory of the yartzeit of Menachem Mendel ben Dovid and Rochel on Adar 18

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