Sunday, November 23, 2008

Coming up...lasting change

We have now established the dichotomy between the two souls, the animal soul and the G-dly soul, and their active battle within—and we have outlined three spiritual classifications, depending both on the internal struggle and its external manifestation. Yet the only method of influencing our behavior (the souls’ expression) that we have discussed thus far is simple impulse control. And we all know that this is easier said than done!

In our next lesson, we will continue our discussion of achieving a personal standard for perfection that is both reachable and reasonable. At the same time, we will expand our repertoire of tools towards this goal. Moving beyond impulse control, we will explore two methods of influencing and modifying both the internal battle and the external behavior. Each one is a necessary step towards true change, yet each one fails to achieve lasting results without the other. In our next lesson, we will discover the advantages and disadvantages of each method as well as the circumstances under which to apply each one.

I look forward to seeing you next week and continuing our study of the Book of Tanya.


  1. Reb Shmuley,
    Is it always a battle? Or can it be seen as a dance? The question frames how we approach our ethical lives, with what degree of heaviness and certainty. Trial and error or a need to get right the first time? The first method, when failing, means missing the mark, or Chet. The second one can too, but perhaps with a greater resonance of shame. So is shame a positive or a negative emotion, ie. is it useful for our ethical progress?

  2. Hi Rabbi,

    One of my thoughts after class today was about getting motivated for change. A model I learned when working in Eating Disorders was called the stages of change model. Apparently, some people really struggle with even small amounts of change like altering their diet. I was wondering if the model has been used for working with BaalChuvim. There is a lot of information available online, it is also called the transtheoretical model of change. It lists five stages from precontemplation to transcendence. I found the theory very helpful for lost cause types because in ones enthusiasm to assist them to improve themselves we may overlook the fact that they never bought into the ideas or the potential for the ideas to make a difference.