This blog is dedicated to our dear friend, Nosson Deitsch OBM, who was tragically torn away from us on Lag B’Omer 5770.

Nosson was a one-of-a kind Bochur who influenced many people, from all ages and backgrounds. He had a perpetual smile on his face and an extremely generous heart. He would do the biggest favor for a friend with only a moment’s notice. All those who knew him feel they had a unique relationship with him.

There are many untold stories of his selflessness, kindness, and the affect he had on countless lives. Please share your story, so that others can get a glimpse into his unique character and towering accomplishments.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nosson's Life

By Dani Chitrik

Nosson was a living example of a “Tanya Jew”, I therefore wish, to take you on a journey through the Tanya, to understand how to live the life of the “Tanya Jew”. Consequently we will understand Nosson’s wonderful invigorating way of life.

A crematorium operator at the Dachau holocaust camp preformed his job every day for 2 and half years. But one day he came home and shot himself. intriguingly it was not in remorse for his actions, as the note he left behind stated, on the day of his suicide, he arrived home from his job, and ostensibly a motorist ran over his poor little French poodle. Neighbors who witnessed the crime said that it was no accident. The driver purposely ran over the helpless dog! Shortly thereafter he wrote a note stating: that he could not continue to live in a world with such intensity of cruelty and insensitivity, and consequently he pulled the trigger!

Can humans comprehend the atrocities the Germans committed in WWII? No, it’s far from comprehension.

But this story could perhaps be analyzed and understood in a different light.

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who founded the psychoanalytic method of psychiatry. Through his research he arrived at numerous unique theories, explaining the human psyche. Inquisitively Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the author of the chassdic masterpiece, “The Tanya”. Arrived at analogous theories regarding the nature of the human psyche. In both their thesis’s they explain the build of the human mind.

Freud proposed that the human psyche could be divided into three parts, the super-ego, id, and ego which together form a psyche apparatus, repeatedly working different ways to channel ones activity and mental life.

The Alter Rebbe, called attention to two similar personalities in every Jew, The animalistic soul, and the G-dly soul. Which together form the conflict raging battle between the heart and mind.

Strikingly Freud’s id is similar to the animal soul mentioned in the Tanya. The id is the source of all psychic energy, and comprises the unorganized part of the personality structure. It contains the basic drives. It is amoral and selfish, ruled by the “pleasure principale”, always seeking direct gratification. Immature in its emotional growth it is persistently driven by the ‘Pleasure Principle’. The Tanya calls this immoral, self indulging soul the animalistic soul, it perceives no moral reason for virtues deeds if it counters its lust for pleasure, its whole intrinsic makeup is based on the logic of an animal, “if it will be fill my physical lust, then it is good, if it will oppose my indulgence of the physical luxury, it is not good for me.

Freud’s superego, which is similar to the Tanya’s G-dly soul. Is vis-à-vis the id. The superego aims for aptness, moral standards, and is our sense of right and wrong. It works to curb all unacceptable urges of the id and struggles to make the person perform idealistic standards rather that upon realistic integrity.… It is the inner voice of ‘shoulds’ and ‘should not’s. In Tanya, the G-dly soul is the ethical mind, wishing only what is morally correct, it represents the desire to do G-ds will, striving to be connected to above. The G-dly soul wishes to cleave to the divine. It wants nothing of personal gratification; it wishes to carry out its soul’s mission, to complete the ethical plan its divine creator had in store for it.

What distinguishes the Tanya’s view on from Freud’s can be understood from a story:

A person once complained to the Rebbe about the nature of people.

“From my encounters I have noticed that people can seem nice and charming at the outset. They may express concern for you, show interest in your life, and even openly admit that they love you! But if one digs just a little deeper than the outer surface – some require more digging than others – at their core everyone is exactly the same: selfish, arrogant, and egotistic. Why is this the nature of mankind?"

The Rebbe responded with a parable:

"When one walks on the street, thing often look so elegant and appealing: tall flowery trees, fancy houses, paved roads and expensive cars. But if one takes a hoe and begins digging beneath the surface, he discovers dirt and mud; nothing like the beautiful but 'deceptive' world above ground."

At this point the person was nodding his head in agreement, not fully realizing where this was going.

"But if he weren't to give up," the Rebbe concluded, "and would continue digging deeper, he would eventually encounter precious minerals and diamonds."

I have heard the saying “Where Freud dug and found mud, the Tanya dug and found gold”, (I’m not sure of the source). Yes Freud found the human psyche to be a raging battle, but to him under the brawl between the superego and the id, there is a more powerful force called the unconscious mind. Freud called dreams the "royal road to the unconscious". He believed that underneath the conscious reality of a person, one truly is a glutton; a person is fraudulent and corrupt, wishing only to gratify his ‘Pleasure Principle’.
Yes Freud “Dug and found mud”.

The Tanya on the other hand, teaches that though there may be an animalistic soul which whishes to indulge itself as an epicure in physicality, mans essence is the G-dly soul, we are born with an innate desire to act ethically. “Dig and you will find gold”, intrinsically and unconditionally every Jew wishes to do good, and fulfill G-ds desire.

The operator at the Dachau camp emulated Freud’s train of thought, at the essence of his core, he was and saw evil, and not being able to handle it he committed suicide.

Tanya on the other hand teaches how we Jews are in control of our thoughts, actions, and feelings. And though we constantly have a choice, to act either from the G-dly soul or from the animal soul, but our true essence is the G-dly soul. Our identity in reality is divine!

This was Nosson, he lived the majestic life of the Tanya, from it he learnt how to change oneself, and to look at the core of every person, he didn’t look for the evil behind their mask; he saw the shining soul!

We had the privilege to spend many years with our paradigm “Tanya Jew”. Let’s learn from him and make it our priority to emulate him. Set aside time every day or week to study the Tanya. Don't learn it as an academic study; rather learn it as your life’s guide. It will change yourself and your family, and thereby change the world.

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