This week’s question for Rabbi Simon Jacobson: “I have anxiety. What can I do to calm down when I feel anxious? Deep breathing isn’t working.” ● Watch
As a recovering Jewish psychologist who has successfully made the transition from one who had adhered to the inherently foreign and, ipso facto, cross-cultural counseling world-view of the predominantly secular humanistic oriented professional, I have now reinvented myself as a therapist with a decidedly chasidic outlook–that of Chabad.
As such, I now realize that it makes little sense to apply the paradigms of the gentiles to the Jews since, at best, that would only be counter-productive.
After all, it goes without saying–the Nations do have wisdom but lack Torah, the indispensable ingredient for the betterment and welfare of Jews.
Moreover, since the Nations, according to the Tanya, have only one nefesh, that of the behamis which of neccesisity tends toward its own corporeal and self-aggrandizing interests, while the Jews have two, those of the elokis and behamis whose tendencies are to move respectively in opposite directions to each other– one to the spiritual and one to its counterpart the corporeal, perforce, if the goal of therapy for problems in Jewish living is their mitigation or elimination, how normal would it be to consult the wisdom of the Nations rather than our own?
Anxiety”,better termed in chasidic thought as “daigas’or worries,” needs no medicalization for a Jew who seeks relief.
Instead, a tried and true approach from a ‘Chagat”‘ chasidic view springs from the understanding that “daigas” come from a “B’or sh’ ain bo Mayim”, a pit that contains no water in it, “Water” meaning Torah, a preventative for the spiritual “snakes” and “scorpions” or “worries” which creep in when there is in a Jew’s mind “pustkeit”, a vacuum– instead of the of the “light” of Torah, there is only “darkness”.
It follows then that the “antidote” for the “darkness” is an “infusion” of the “light” of Torah” via learning.
In contrast, from a Chabad point of view, would be the understanding that ” Many waters cannot extinguish the love that a Jew has for the Abishter; the many waters referring to the “tirdas of parnassa”,which means the struggles to make a living”.
The “waters” come upon a Jew by design via the Aibishter; as was the case macroscopically with Noah, the waters poured down on the earth for forty days and forty nights, but were not for a punishment as much as they were to effect a “cleansing” of a world suffused with egocentric “chamas or the”violence” that divided all of its inhabitants one from the other and from their Creator.
Correspondingly, in a microscopic sense, when a Jew has egocentricity or or what is better termed “yeishishness” it “seperates” him from his counterparts and the Aibishter.