Does Chassidus Have All The Answers? Maybe – But Not Right Now

8 months ago Jack Hoffman Comments Off on Does Chassidus Have All The Answers? Maybe – But Not Right Now

I bring this all up as I see the same sort of tactic being used against Shofar. Accusations that draw on a small sampling of factual accuracy but that are then embellished and spiced on the altar of strategic exaggeration.
A perfect example is “Shofar shuts off communication with your family”. Well, there is a grain of truth there. Shofar does indeed make clear that the weekend will be optimally efficient if you don’t text, email and snapchat your way through the three days.

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But once you deal with that question you’re done. Once you say, “They discourage calls BUT” the argument is lost. As soon as you say that BUT, people are convinced you’re just personally positive to shofar and that you’re twisting the objective data to make it sound reasonable and normal.

That’s why I won’t do that. Instead, I will go on the attack a bit.

Let me be clear. If this was merely about Shofar, I wouldn’t step up. I don’t have that much allegiance, in the abstract, to Shofar. They were instrumental in me becoming a healthier human being. They were integral to me learning how to simply be present with my wife and not be thinking about a million pressing matters. They were crucial to me learning how to not be affected and depressed by the judgment of others.
So maybe I should have more gratitude and loyalty. But I don’t, and wouldn’t speak up if this were only about Shofar.

But it’s not. This is about the Lubavitch community waking up to the fact that the incredible amount of dysfunction and toxicity being taught and implemented sociologically in our communities is driving our best youth and young men to look for answers to basic life issues elsewhere.

So here’s my attack.

Can we really say that we’re all doing great and don’t need any help in dealing with life issues? That Chassidus is addressing all our pain and suffering?
Maybe we should define life issues for a start.
A life issue need not be serious or have a long string of letters as its name. It could be something seemingly simple and harmless. It could be something your friend or boss said that made you feel bad and angry and that made you come home and speak nastily to your wife.

That, believe it or not, might be an issue.

If you often find that you can’t regulate your emotions and bring all the bad things from the whole day home with you – you may need help addressing that. Of course, you first need to honor that and recognize it as a real issue and not just something that “happens to everybody” and “is normal”.
No, my brother, it’s not normal to not be able to spend time just playing with your kids and spending time with your wife while being relaxed and present.

If you come home really late from making ends meet and your kids and wife are already sleeping, that’s a different story. Let’s take Yossi. Yossi works incredibly long and exhausting hours to support his wife and three children.
Yossi feels anger and frustration at that itself, at the fact that he feels robbed of a normal family life. And, human beings being the deliciously complex creatures that they are, that anger at not being able to be with your family, expresses itself by Yossi acting angrily and impatient towards his family!

So Yossi is forced to come home late when his kids and wife are usually asleep (don’t forget, his wife needs to be up at 5 in the morning when the baby wakes up). He feels so upset and frustrated with his current situation. And that frustration is spilling over into all areas of his life. It’s making him irascible and unpleasant at work (which as is so often the case, only makes it more unlikely that he’ll be given leeway by his boss to rework his schedule thus creating a vicious cyclical cycle), and over Shabbas he is impatient with his family since he can’t let go of the frustration he feels at not being in control of his life.

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