Let’s Take it Easy?
Creative 2020 / Finalists
Everybody talks about having a hard life.
And modern life made our lives easier, around the same time Chassidus (knowledge of G-d) was revealed.
Life is supposed to be easy and full of enjoyment.
Life isn’t supposed to be hard.
But life has many issues. And this contest aims to solve them through the lens of chasiddus.
We might be able to sum up issues that we deal with in modern day life to two root things.
Loving and fearing the wrong things.
Chassidus proposes that that is because of a lack of loving and being in awe of God.
Thinking about God and the teachings of His Torah at length garners a love and awe for Him and gives us His perception for our daily lives, to be filled with Godliness and goodness.
The Mitteler Rebbe was a very lively child, and R. Shmuel Munkes (his friend) had a playful side to him. Now, as the little boy ran straight to his aged friend, he heard him asking R. Yossele of Shklov why he was so downcast.
He and R. Shlomo, who was also wealthy, both answered: “Times are bad, and business is slow”.
Hearing this, the child sat up and said to R. Shmuel: “Why do you need to ask for the reason for the melancholy (Heb.: עצבות)? Your question is answered by an explicit verse in Tehillim!”.
And he quoted it as if it were punctuated as follows: “עצביהם: כסף וזהב – מעשה ידי אדם”. Their עצב (lit., ‘idol’, but here, punningly, ‘melancholy’) is the result of thinking that ‘silver and gold are the work of human hands…’”
And the prodigy preceded to spell out his lesson explicitly: “People succumb to melancholy because they are blinded and deluded and think that they acquire silver and gold as a result of their own endeavors. They think that the more business they do, running off to bring merchandise from the Leipzig fares” (which was exactly R. Yosef’s line of business) , “or racing off to Koenigsburg to buy up their wares”
(for this was where R. Shlomo Raphael’s used to buy his stock of costly liqueurs) , “the more silver and gold they’ll have. Businessmen become so blinded, that even though פה להם – ‘they have a mouth’, and use it to study aloud the Chassidus they have heard, nevertheless, (to continue with the above verses from Tehillim), ולא ידברו. (Literally, this means, ‘they do not speak’. On the non-literal level of derush, however, the Mitteler Rebbe expounded this verb as if in the verse, ידבר עמים – ‘He subdues nations’.
Hence:) ולא ידברו – means that even those who do study Chassidus do not make it rule their lives; its study therefore remains pointless. Moreover, עינים להם ולא יראו – ‘They have eyes, but do not see’ the workings of Divine Providence. Likewise, אזנים להם ולא ישמעו -‘They have ears, but do not hear’ or perceive anything beyond the external aspect (the chitzoniyus) of things. As a result, even though אף להם – ‘they have a nose’, yet ולא יריחון – they have no spiritual sense of smell.
“Now add all this up concluded the Mitteler Rebbe,” and what do you get? Such a person becomes an Idol.
(Likkutei Dibburim Chapter 7, Section 20)
This multi staged poem stresses the importance of taking our time.
In our fast-paced world, we must train our minds,
to focus, dig deep and not rush this world that is sublime.
The more we slow down the more we appreciate
the more we can create
and the more we can pave new ways
for the world to be ever more great
with the coming of Moshiach
speedily in our days.
“At the festive table on Purim there was a powerful farbrengen, at which my father explained that people who study Chassidus attentively can attain the profoundest depths of conceptualization, literally at the level of sense perception.”
“…When one becomes profoundly engrossed in grasping the idea of some subject in Chassidus,” he said, “one senses the atmosphere of the Garden of Eden.”
(Likkutei Dibburim Chapter 17 Section 19)
Once upon a mother loving
there sprouted forth a darling sapling
coo went she
who can be more precious than he to me?
rolled and wrapped to sleep
in the kitchen
with sparks of oceans caring
with every glance to keep him fairing
beyond well while humming warmly
padding stick to dough slowly and fondly
In her brown old kitchen
pale comfort and yellow chicken
soup, on a simmering flame dancing
so so slow to not wake him from dreaming
on low low low
all the while with a content type of smiling
Shutters that are old friends
with the windows which help lend
favorable skimming of light to trickle
to see to the skimming of curdled milk
which she tickles
and to then dance to the other side of the wall
to help draw out
up and about
a favorable husband
who always wants to birth fun and
try and mimic the light
my dear readers be the secret to fight
a gloom of a marriage
in our too irritable age
You desert your family
to work in a foreign place
to make so much money
so you can go in haste
To a deserted island and eat dessert
then desert your family’s dirt
and treat them like foreigners
to live amongst foreigner’s unhurt
Feelings and close-knit culture
then go back home and wish your spouse might
be more cultured and family inclined
This kid wanted and needed
to be a public figure to share
to teach and unbear
But this kid knew he wouldn’t be wanted or needed
to be a public figure to impart
for he has a nature too weird
with a picture of unearthed deeds that would make the public eye dart
towards embarrassing and very quickly turned untrustful fears
angry he woke
and sad he slept
to God he spoke
and to his pillow he wept
Then one day he discovered a mask
and tried it on to hide his past
became friends with the limelight
until one dreadful night
he couldn’t breathe no more
through the mask’s holes
his purpose no more
shattered to the floor
He goes to the store
to return the mask
how are you doing today he sincerely asks
the cashier smiled then basked
shined then told him there should be more
of people like him in the world
He exits through the door
and worries no more
about his purpose on earth
Back in the day the rich ate
white bread and all types of delicacies
and the poor had to do with
black bread and all types of healthy things
Now the roles have changed
industrialism brought ways
for all to enjoy material gains
and now the hot commodity
is to self-deprivate and abstain
from cheaply made
fast food chains
We have finally seen
how happy and content
the poor person’s life could really be
I will let go
I will untie my cape
I let it slip to the floor
as I remove my mask
for the real me to see my face
to save me last
for I now see clearly
nobody needed to be saved
Nobody wanted my help
they wanted to save themselves
I was too childish to know
and too immature wanting to hold
up the world
and self delegate
That I missed to see
that soon the helpless
will be me