Real trauma means having experienced a very shocking or traumatic experience at some point in life.  But the word “trauma” is used far too loosely in today’s world.  Therapists, parents, teachers, advisors and so on all throw around the word “trauma” whenever someone is going through  depression or is unhappy in life etc.  But not everything is because of actual trauma.   In fact, most people are not suffering from trauma (meaning they were not abused in their life, were not beaten and did not go through a shocking, traumatizing experience such as a terror attack etc.). Most people are suffering from not getting what they want in life and not being happy. That is often because  our society encourages people to be  too self centered . We all need to work on becoming truly appreciative and thinking how to give back to others, how to give back to God, rather than how to try to get constantly what we want.

Today’s society tries to validate every emotion. Children are brought up being told it is okay to express whatever they feel, not to repress things. Children are taught that parents make mistakes and therefore cause all sorts of problems. But is this true? Torah says children must respect their parents and must appreciate all the good parents do for them and must not blame their parents (unless the parent does something terrible, such as really abusing the child).  Parents do make mistakes but overall parents try to do what is best for their children and children need to respect parents and reciprocate love and care, rather than demanding constantly to get whatever they want in life.  That will only lead to discontent.

Torah also says one does not have to delve into every emotion or express everything.  We can learn to control and handle our emotions in a healthy way. Not every emotion or every thought is truthful.  In fact, emotions are very misleading. They are chaotic. The mind must rule over the heart and control our emotions and guide our emotions to be used properly. 

So let’s put aside the word “trauma” and deal with what is the real issue today: people are self centered, unhappy, think they need to get whatever they want in life and people are often ungrateful, not recognizing the good they have.

If someone wants to discuss trauma, then the real trauma in today’s society is the fact that we are still in exile, do not yet have the Moshiach, and the world is becoming crazy, accepting all kinds of impure and abnormal ideas. THAT IS TRAUMA. So let us work against trauma by standing up for truth, by putting our foot down where we need to and by guiding our children and others to focus on the right things, to appreciate whatever we have and to go forward with resilience to light up the darkness of the world.

Tonight will begin the Chassidic holiday of Yud Tet Kislev, the day the first Chabad Rebbe, the Alter Rebbe, was freed from czarist imprisonment. He was imprisoned because he was slandered and accused of treason. But we know that every accusation down here stems from an accusation in the heavenly realms. The accusation above was that the Alter Rebbe was disseminating the inner mystical teachings of Torah before the world was ready for it. But when he was freed from prison it indicated in Heaven he was given permission to spread those teachings even on a bigger scale. And this is the festive atmosphere of the day: to celebrate the teachings of Chassidus which will ultimately lead to the redemption from exile. Yud Tet Kislev bring tremendous light to the world.

We are also soon approaching the holiday of Chanukah, the festival of light, which again lights up the spiritual darkness of the world. May we all merit to be connected to light and to truth and may we very soon merit redemption.