Chabad of Greenwich hosted lecture series with Rabbi Dr. Laibl Wolf

On Friday July 1, Chabad of Greenwich hosted Rabbi Dr. Laibl Wolf for a Shabbaton weekend lecture series. Friday night services were followed by a spirited July 4th themed Shabbat Dinner at which Rabbi Dr. Wolf spoke on the topics of: how to overcome addictions, how to move past exploitative relationships and principals of positive psychology. Individuals who are in relationships that are loving and mindful have better health and wellness and are able to endure life’s stressors and build meaningful relationships and find their life’s purpose.

The Torah teaches that individuals are to do everything in their power to remove physical violence from their lives. Sometimes in our desire to control situations we ended up trying to control others. This stance comes from a place of ego. Often actions and demands we try to impose on our loved ones, including our spouses, children and friends are from a place of ego. Loving relationships are not an exchange. Love is not a business transaction of “If you do this, I’ll do that.” Love is not a two way street but a one way street. Individuals can choose to give love and be loving in a relationship and this is the work of each person’s soul. To love another is not dependent on the other.

The Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Dr. Wolf stated, taught that one’s geographical location coupled with one’s talent is the key to understanding one’s purpose in life. Jews are called to ahavat yisrael, to love one’s fellow as oneself. When one loves one’s fellow one loves G-D, for one’s fellow contains within himself a “part of G-D above.” By loving one’s fellow, the inner most part of him, one loves G-D.

Rabbi Dr. Wolf regaled the audience with stories, modern and historical that illustrated examples of one of the Baal Shem Tov’s other momentous teachings that a soul may descend to earth and live seventy or eighty years for the sole purpose of doing a favor for another — a spiritual favor or even a material favor. Sometimes we find ourselves in a place or vocation or station in life and wonder why we are there or if we are fulfilling our purpose. It becomes revealed that we are, indeed, where G-D wants us to be and that by being there we were able to love and help another soul.

Finally, Rabbi Dr. Wolf’s stories taught the congregants that when two people meet, it is by reason of divine providence—and the purpose of the encounter lies in its being utilized for good matters. G‑d orchestrated the meeting as a “hint” to both people. Each one needs to a learn a lesson from the other and to positively impact the other in the area of charity and kindness, and also with regards to Torah study and mitzvah observance.

The following morning, on Saturday July 2nd, Rabbi Dr. Wolf taught an hour long class on Jewish meditation. He taught the importance of using breathing to relax and concentrate, then praying on the Modeh Ani in a gratitude prayer. Participants were instructed on the best posture, way to breathe and how to pray the Modeh Ani so as to access spiritual and physical health and wellness. Rabbi Dr. Wolf, lightly joked that anybody who practices this 10 minutes a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year will receive benefit.

Rabbi Dr. Laibl Wolf

Rabbi Dr. Laibl Wolf

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