Search

  

 

The Gift of Loneliness

by Rabbi Nachi Klein

Definition - Isolation
https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/health/loneliness-peaks-study/index.html

2018 article
Participants: 340 community dwelling adults in SanDiego, California, mean age 62 (SD=18) years, range 27–101 years, who participated in three community-based studies. Measuring UCLA Loneliness Scale Version 3 (UCLA-3) - Developed by psychologist Daniel Russell (1996), the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3) is a 20-item measure that assesses how often a person feels disconnected from others.

A full three-quarters of all study participants reported moderate to high levels of loneliness, said Dr. Dilip Jeste, senior author of the study and a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego. "One thing to remember is that loneliness is subjective. Loneliness does not mean being alone; loneliness does not mean not having friends," said Jeste, who is also director of UC San Diego's Center for Healthy Aging. "Loneliness is defined as 'subjective distress.' " It is the discrepancy between the social relationships you want and the social relationships you have, he said. ... An inverse relationship exists between loneliness and wisdom. "In other words, people who have high levels of wisdom didn't feel lonely, and vice versa," he said. He and his colleagues measured the six components of wisdom in each participant: general knowledge of life; emotion management; empathy, compassion, altruism and a sense of fairness; insight; acceptance of divergent values; and decisiveness -- the ability to make quick, effective decisions when necessary.

The Gift of Loneliness class on Youtube


Rav Nachman of Breslov לקוטי מוהר"ן תנינא מח

When a person enters into the service of God, the way is that they show him rejection/distance. It seems to him that he is being rebuffed from on high and they are altogether preventing him from entering into the service of God. In reality, all distancing is nothing but being brought near.

כֶּשׁאָָדם ִנְכָנס ַבֲּעבוַֹדת ַהֵשּׁם ֲאַזי ַהֶדֶּרך ֶשַׁמְּרִאין לוֹ ִהְתַרֲחקוּת וְִנְדֶמה לוֹ ֶשַׁמְּרִחיִקין אוֹתוֹ ִמְלַמְעָלה וְֵאין ַמִנּיִחין אוֹתוֹ ְכָּלל ִלָכֵּנס ַלֲעבוַֹדת ַהֵשּׁם וֶּבֱאֶמת ָכּל ַה ִה ְת ַר ֲחקוּת הוּא ַרק ֻכּלּוֹ ִה ְת ָק ְרבוּת

And so one needs very, very great encouragement to keep from dejection, God forbid, when he sees the passing of many, many days and years, and despite his great exertion in serving God, he is yet very distant and has not in the least begun to enter the gates of holiness. He sees that he is still riddled with crudeness and materialism, and with powerful untoward and confusing thoughts. And whatever holy matter he wants to accomplish in the service of God, they thwart him. It seems to him as if God is completely ignoring him and has no desire whatsoever for his service, because he sees that he repeatedly screams and begs and pleads for God to assist him in his devotions, and despite this he is still very, very distant. It therefore seems to him as if God is completely ignoring him and not turning to him at all, because He, God, does not want him at all.

וְָצִריך ִהְתַחְזּקוּת ָגּדוֹל ְמאֹד ְמאֹד ִלְבִלי ִלפּל ְבַּדְעתּוֹ, ַחס וְ ָשׁלוֹם ְכּ ֶשׁרוֹ ֶאה ֶשׁעוֹ ְב ִרים ַכּ ָמּה וְַכ ָמּה יָ ִמים וְָשִׁנים ֶשׁהוּא ִמְתיֵַגַּע ִבּיִגיעוֹת ְגּדוֹלוֹת ִבְּשִׁביל ֲעבוֹדוֹת ַה ֵשּׁ ם ו ַ ֲע ַד י ִ ן ה וּ א ָר ח וֹ ק ְמ א ֹ ד , ו ְ ל א ִה ְת ִח י ל ְכּ ָל ל ִל ְכ נ ס ְל ַשֲׁעֵרי ַהְקֻּד ָשּׁה ִכּי רוֶֹאה ַעְצמוֹ ֶשׁהוּא ָמֵלא ֲעַדיִן ֲע ִב יּ וּ ת וְ ַג ְשׁ ִמ יּ וּ ת וְ ִה ְר ה וּ ִר י ם וּ ִב ְל בּ וּ ִל י ם ְגּ ד וֹ ִל י ם וְ ָכ ל ַמ ה ֶשּׁ ה וּ א ר וֹ ֶצ ה ַל ֲע שׂ וֹ ת ַבּ ֲע ב וֹ ַד ת ַה ֵשּׁ ם ֵא י ֶז ה ָדּ ָב ר ֶשׁ ִבּ ְק ֻד ָשּׁ ה ֵא י ן ַמ ִנּ י ִח י ן א וֹ ת וֹ וְ ִנ ְד ֶמ ה ל וֹ ְכּ ִא לּ וּ ֵא י ן ַה ֵשּׁ ם יְִתָבַּרך ִמְסַתֵּכּל ָעָליו ְכָּלל וְֵאין רוֶֹצה ְכָּלל ַבֲּעבוָֹדתוֹ ֵמֲחַמת ֶשׁהוּא רוֶֹאה ֶשׁהוּא צוֵֹעק ְבָּכל ַפַּעם וִּמְתַחֵנּן וִּמְתַנֵפּל ְלָפָניו יְִתָבַּרך ֶשׁיְַּעְזֵרהוּ ַבֲּעבוָֹדתוֹ וְאַף ַעל ִפּי ֵכן ֲעַדיִן הוּא ָרחוֹק ְמאֹד ְמאֹד ַעל ֵכּן ִנְדֶמה לוֹ ְכִּאלּוּ ֵאין ַהֵשּׁם יְִתָבַּרך ִמְסַתֵּכּל ָעָליו ְכָּלל וְֵאין פּוֶֹנה ֵאָליו ְכָּלל ִכּי הוּא יְִתָבַּרך ֵאין רוֶֹצה בּוֹ ְכָּלל

Surely, concerning all this and matters like it one needs great encouragement. A person has to encourage himself very, very much and pay no attention whatsoever to all this, for in truth all distancing is nothing but being brought near.

ֵהן ַעל ָכּל ֵאֶלּה וְַכיּוֵֹצא ָבֶּזה ָצִריך ִהְתַחְזּקוּת ָגּדוֹל ְלַחֵזּק ַעְצמוֹ ְמאֹד ְמאֹד, וְִלְבִלי ְלִהְסַתֵּכּל ַעל ָכּל ֶזה ְכָּלל ִכּי ֶבֱּאֶמת ָכּל ַהִהְתַרֲחקוּת הוּא ַרק ֻכּלּוֹ ִהְתָקְרבוּת ַכַּנּ"ל וְָכל ַהַנּ"ל ָעַבר ַעל ָכּל ַהַצִּדּיִקים

And if you are very, very distant from God, and it seems to you that you are literally always sinning against Him—even with all this, know that, on the contrary, each and every movement which such a materialistic person makes to detach himself just a bit from his materialism and turn to God, is extremely great and precious. Even if the shift from his materialism toward God is miniscule, in the upper worlds he runs many thousands of miles through this.

וְַהְכָּלל ֲאהוִּבי אִָחי ֲחַזק וֱֶאַמץ ְמאֹד וֱֶאחֹז ַעְצְמך ְבָּכל ַה כּ ח וֹ ת ִל ָשּׁ ֵא ר ַק יָּ ם ַבּ ֲע ב וֹ ָד ֶת ך וְ אַ ל ָתּ ח וּ שׁ וְ אַ ל ִתְּסַתֵּכּל ְכָּלל ַעל ָכּל ַהַנּ"ל אוֹ ַכּיּוֵֹצא ָבֶּזה וְִאם אַָתּה ָרחוֹק ְמאֹד ְמאֹד ִמֶמּנּוּ יְִתָבַּרך וְִנְדֶמה ְלך, ֶשׁאַָתּה פּוֵֹגם ְבָּכל ָשָׁעה ַמָמּשׁ ֶנְגדּוֹ יְִתָבַּרך ִעם ָכּל ֶזה ְכֶּנֶגד ֶזה ֵתַּדע ֶשִׁאישׁ ָכֶּזה ֶשׁהוּא ְמֻג ָשּׁם ָכּל ָכּך ָכּל ְתּנוָּעה וְּתנוָּעה ֶשׁהוּא ְמַנֵתּק ַעְצמוֹ ְמַעט ְמַעט ִמן ַגְּשִׁמיּוּתוֹ וּ פ וֹ ֶנ ה ְל ַה ֵשּׁ ם יִ ְת ָבּ ַר ך ִה י א ְגּ ד וֹ ָל ה וִ י ָק ָר ה ְמ אֹ ד ְמ אֹ ד וֲַאִפלּוּ ְנֻקָדּה ְקַטָנּה ְמאֹד, ֶשׁהוּא ֶנְעָתּק ִמַגְּשִׁמיּוּתוֹ ֵאָליו יְִתָבַּרך הוּא ָרץ ָבֶּזה ַכָּמּה וְַכָמּה ֲאָלִפים ַפְּרָסאוֹת ְבּעוָֹלמוֹת ֶעְליוִֹנים

He should greatly rejoice over this and constantly encourage himself with happiness, because depression is very, very harmful.

וְ ַע ל ֶז ה יִ ְשׂ ַמ ח ְמ אֹ ד וִ י ַח ֵזּ ק ַע ְצ מ וֹ ְבּ ִשׂ ְמ ָח ה ָתּ ִמ י ד , ִכּ י ַעְצבוּת ַמִזּיק ְמאֹד ְמאֹד

...And know! each time you detach and shift just a bit from materialism to His service, all the movements and changes accumulate, combine and bind together, and come to your aid at a time of need—i.e., when there is, God forbid, any trouble or misfortune.

וְַדע, ֶשָׁכּל ַהְתּנוּעוֹת וְַהַהְעָתּקוֹת, ֶשׁאַָתּה ִנָתּק וְֶנְעָתּק ְבּ ָכ ל ַפּ ַע ם ֵא י ֶז ה ְמ ַע ט ִמ ן ַגּ ְשׁ ִמ יּ וּ ת ַל ֲע ב וֹ ָד ת וֹ יִ ְת ָבּ ַר ְך , ֻכָּלּם ִמְתַקְבִּצים וִּמְתַחְבִּרים וִּמְתַקְשִּׁרים וָּבִאים ְל ֶע ְז ָר ְת ָך ְבּ ֵע ת ַה צֹּ ֶר ְך , ְדּ ַה יְ נ וּ ְכּ ֶשׁ יֵּ שׁ , ַח ס וְ ָשׁ ל וֹ ם , ֵא י ֶז ה דֹּ ַח ק וְ ֵע ת ָצ ָר ה , ַח ס וְ ָשׁ ל וֹ ם .

Know, too! a person must cross a very, very narrow bridge. The main rule is: Do not be frightened at all!

וְַדע, ֶשָׁהאָָדם ָצִריְך ַלֲעבֹר ַעל ֶגֶּשׁר ַצר ְמאֹד ְמאֹד, וְַהְכָּלל וְָהִעָקּר – ֶשׁלֹּא יְִתַפֵּחד ְכָּלל:


Rav Nachman does not reject the fear and sense of uncertainty. On the contrary, he believes that these feelings correctly indicate a chaotic and dilapidated world. Existing insecurity plays an important role in the infrastructure of consciousness.


Rav Yosef Soloveitchik - Lonely Man of faith:
https://www.etzion.org.il/en/19-lonely-man-faith-continuation-part-3-two-types-community
The nature of the dilemma can be stated in a three-word sentence. I am lonely." (p.3)

Here we must distinguish between being alone and being lonely. Aloneness means lacking love and friendship; this is an entirely destructive feeling. Loneliness, on the other hand, is an awareness of one's uniqueness, and to be unique often means to be misunderstood. A lonely person, while surrounded by friends, feels that his unique and incommunicable experiences separate him from them. This fills him with a gnawing sense of the seemingly insurmountable gap which prevents true communion between individuals. While painful, this experience can also be "stimulating" and "cathartic," since it "presses everything in me into the service of God," the Lonely One, who truly understands me.

Summary of Adam One and Adam Two
In the first chapter, Adam I is created together with Eve and they are given the mandate to subdue nature, master the cosmos, and transform the world "into a domain for their power and sovereignty." Adam I is majestic man who approaches the world and relationships—even with the divine—in functional, pragmatic terms. Adam I, created in the image of God, fulfills this apparently " secular " mandate by conquering the universe, imposing his knowledge, technology, and cultural institutions upon the world. The human capacity for relationship, as depicted in Genesis 1, is utilitarian, following both God's mandate and our own worldly need to develop the world for ourselves and our continuing existence.

Soloveitchik identifies the second image of Adam in chapter two of Genesis. Whereas Adam I was mandated to subdue the garden, Adam II is the contractual man," the keeper of the garden who tills and preserves it. This image is introduced by the words, "It is not good for man to be alone" - and through God's intervention and Adam's sacrifice (of a metaphoric rib) he gains companionship and the relief of his existential loneliness - unlike Adam I, this covenantal community requires the participation of the Divine. In the second chapter of God's creation, it is not enough for man to simply be created in his image and given a fiefdom. Adam II is "the lonely man of faith," the "redemptive Adam," bringing a "redemptive interpretation to the meaning of existence".


To further his quest for dignity, Adam I enters into a pragmatic partnership with others, creating a "natural work community." Existentially, Adam I sees himself as a complete, self-sufficient being. Although he does not suffer from loneliness and feels no yearning for soul-to-soul communication with others, he does require their cooperation in order to promote mutually beneficial action. Thus, he creates a community of shared labor, not of shared existence. Since he does not consider himself in need of catharsis or redemption, the community he forms does not elevate his inner self.

This kind of approach to the human need for community dominated political theory for centuries:

"The whole theory of the social contract brought to perfection by the philosophers of the Age of Reason reflects the thinking of Adam the first, identifying man with his intellectual nature and creative technological will and finding in human existence coherence, legitimacy and reasonableness exclusively. To the thinkers of the Age of Reason, man posed no problem. He was for them an understandable, simple affair... They saw man in his glory but failed to see him in his tragic plight." (p.30)

Adam II, on the other hand, is sharply aware of "his tragic plight." Having been created alone, and subsequently becoming aware of his distinctness from the rest of nature (see Reference #1), he realizes that
"'To be' means to be the only one, singular and different, and consequently lonely. For what causes man to be lonely and feel insecure if not the awareness of his uniqueness and exclusiveness?" (pp.40-41)

Adam II therefore seeks to create a "covenantal faith community," in which he will be able to overcome his sense of ontological incompleteness and loneliness by learning to communicate with others and to form a depth-connection with them. The recognition and validation of another person as unique as oneself entails relinquishing one's self-preoccupation and sense of all-inclusiveness. Therefore, for Adam II, forming a community is a sacrificial act.

The covenantal faith community centers around shared commitments, not merely shared interests. Members of a covenantal community join their contemporaries (the horizontal plane) through sympathy, love and common action. They express concern for each other's welfare via, for example, prayer and charity. This sense of fellowship and friendship redeems man by relieving him of his feeling of isolation and incompatibility with others. The "other" is no longer a stranger, an "It," who concerns me only to the extent that he can bring me benefit or harm. Instead, he becomes a "Thou," a person of equal and independent worth to whom I am committed and whom I engage in true dialogue.

.... Adam I, at this stage of our discussion, represents a life oriented purely to external accomplishment and success. Therefore, he lives in the moment and is capable only of shallow working relationships with others. Adam II, on the other hand, experiences the depth-dimension of existence and is inwardly oriented. This is why the Rav says that "Friendship - not as a social surface-relation but as an existential in-depth-relation between two individuals - is realizable only within the framework of the covenantal community" (p.68). In addition, since he continually searches for meaning beyond the here-and-now, only Adam II can regard the past and the future as "experiential realities."

...In the covenantal community, God and man communicate by means of prophecy and prayer - the first is communication initiated by God, and the second is communication initiated by man. Both the prophetic and the prayer communities are covenantal for three reasons.
1. In both, a confrontation between God and man takes place.
2. The covenant is a threefold structure, linking I, Thou, and God. Thus, in their covenantal capacities, the prophetic and prayer communities link man both to God and to his fellow man. The prophet who receives the divine message must convey it to the community; he serves as their representative before God. Likewise, prayer must include others: one should pray WITH others and FOR others. Indicative of this is the fact that Jewish prayer is formulated in the plural.

https://torah.org/learning/torahtherapy-alone04-2/