What happens when an Evangelist and a Rabbi have a conversation about mental health, shame, forgiveness, demons, the Holy Spirit, abortion, and education?
Find out on A Conversation with Joshua T Berglan & Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski on the Live Mana Network!
Meet Rabbi Alfredo Borodow
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski, Ph.D., MSW, “The Bipolar Rabbi,” specializes in the blending of spirituality and mental health. Trained as a philosopher, personality type interpreter, and therapist, Rabbi Alfredo; connects spiritual wisdom and mental wellbeing. He specializes in the application of Positive Psychology for life flourishing. He focuses on finding wisdom in the struggle with mental illness. He graduated from the Glean fellowship for entrepreneurial spirituality at Columbia University Business School, CRR global coaching, and is a certified Myers Briggs practitioner. He is the founding Rabbi of Congregation Sulam Yaakov in Larchmont NY.
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Joshua T Berglan
Joshua T Berglan 0:01
What’s up everybody? My name is Joshua and welcome to a conversation with Joshua T Berglan. On the live mana network, thank you so much for being here. This way, you can scan that barcode right there and find links to our Google News site. You can find our network, you can find information to the information for the left mana worldwide Foundation, our nonprofit media organization, and, and just you could find our book and everything else that we’re up to just in one convenient scan of the barcode. And no, I have to say this again, I’m not trying to usher in the Mark of the Beast anywhere. So many amazing people that come and watch these broadcasts, people from all walks of life, people from all faith backgrounds, different genders and different sexualities and different religions and different people from all over the world. It is one of my favorite things about a conversation with Joshua tuberculin is getting to have conversations, again, with people from all walks of life. And today is something that I’m actually really excited about, because it’s the very first time in my life that I’ve spoken to a rabbi. And but here’s the cool part. Well, actually being a rabbi, I would imagine it’s pretty cool. But this Rabbi wants to tear down and destroy some of the mint. I don’t like to call it mental health issues. I like to call it mental uniqueness as my own mental uniqueness is what it is. And I thank God for because at this perceived weakness that it was I’ve noticed that it’s become a strength. Even in my weakness, my mental uniqueness has become a strength. And, and our this gentleman that’s here today, is doing something very similar. He’s doing that with his platform, and he’s speaking about bipolar disorder, something I was diagnosed with at one time, which I ended up having di D. But that’s a whole other conversation. But I’m really, really honored and we got to speak just briefly before we went on the air, and I just, I just love the guy’s spirit. And I think that you’re going to really enjoy this conversation. I love humble. I love genuine people that are genuine I love but one of the things that I love most about people is when they radiate joy. It makes it really really hard not to love them. So the rabbi today he has he radiates Joy rap Rabbi Alfredo, borrowed ASCII. I think I said it right. Anyway, you guys are in for a treat today. This is going to be really special. We do such a wide variety of broadcast. This is not going to be as crazy as some of the other ones but it’s going to be powerful, it’s going to be authentic, it’s going to be real. And I think you will be blessed for being here. So thank you for being here. We’ll be right back after this.
Lady and gentlemen, please welcome Rabbi Alfredo Bordeaux ski to a conversation with Joshua T. Bergland. That’s me. Hello.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 5:11
Hi, Joshua, I tell you something, your last name for me is as difficult as my last math last, my last name is for you. Then we are even here by the way.
Joshua T Berglan 5:27
Rabbi, I am so blessed to have you here. Thank you so much. Before we get started, what are you grateful for today and why?
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 5:36
Now I tell you, I woke up today, and I knew that was going to meet you. A I had done my research about live mana network. And the you know, I am very lonely in many ways part of my work is to think and to create and to write, and I spent a lot of hours within myself. And to break that dynamics, to have an honest conversation. In a society where honest conversations are not really so frequent, because we are all a little bit fearful and hiding. And to have the opportunity to come as I do now to your show, and be myself. And share without really hesitations. And I feel that if that isn’t protected by by your style, and by what your show is, I woke up this morning, and basically put my timer to be to be in your presence now.
Joshua T Berglan 6:56
Okay, what’s an expecting that? Um, thank you for under getting what we do. Um, that means I, that means more to me than you can possibly know. Because I would say the majority don’t get what we’re trying to do. And you, you nailed it on the head. So thank you for that very much. Wow. Okay, so, um, I, let’s get to it. I want to I want to address this. And then I after that, I want to say this. And then I, you know, feel free just to say whatever you feel led to say. But I admire you a great deal. Because speaking of mental uniqueness in a position of authority, especially religious spiritual authority, as yourself, to open up and talk about mental uniqueness, or bipolar disorder, or you know, whatever you want to label it, I honor you, and have a lot of respect for you for doing that. Because it’s not easy, because there is a serious label attached to people with mental health issues. And I would imagine that by putting yourself out there, it’s caused some people to question your authority. And in my eyes, you have 10 times more authority, because you’re honest. And God bless you for that. Thank you.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 8:37
Thank you. Well, I went through a journey. A I had no options. Joshua, my condition was shown to society without my permission. I did happen the morning of June 19 2010. I was driving through the town of Mamaroneck in Westchester, New York. And I felt inside of my car lights, blue and red lights and I look back and I saw a police patrol. Right after me behind me. They stopped me. And the officer came running towards my car. And another officer join him. And I was surrounded surrounded by policemen. And what I had done, Josh, is that just a few minutes before that, I had shown a police badge. That a congregant of mine for giving me you know, one of those courtesy badges. Yeah. And for the last months before that those police cars stopped me for a full month I had impersonated a police officer on the highways of New York. I was directing traffic. Drive I will. Now, I didn’t I didn’t stop anybody. I didn’t touch anybody. I didn’t arrest anybody. Okay, then it wasn’t not violent, but on the eyes of the law or impersonating a police officer. That resulted that resulted in four separate cases in Four Courts about impersonating police officer. Wow. Josh did what happened to me in the lapse of two weeks, listen to this. Okay. I was arrested in four different places. I was hospitalized in a on a psychiatric ward. I will diagnose bipolar that I didn’t know. I was fired for my job would be director of a very good foundation. And the press and don’t keep me or the press baptized the Rabbi of the road rage rabbi.
Joshua T Berglan 11:29
You’re the road rage rabbi.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 11:31
Joshua T Berglan 11:36
It is a pleasure to meet you, sir.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 11:39
Then for not knowing that I will arrest you.
Joshua T Berglan 11:46
Before you go in, i i honestly allow the Spirit to say yes or no of who I have on this broadcast. And I, I read one sentence about you and knew that God wanted us to talk. So I stopped. I didn’t look into you. I just wanted to have an organic conversation with you. I didn’t know I knew who you were though.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 12:08
I disclosed that by the way where they send you when I’m gonna propose myself to your show. I wrote that in the road. I say that because now to say you know, I say this to your audience is a selling point. Yeah, go because the router road rage rabbi was famous in Japan was famous in Ireland. What did I do by the way, I just show illegitimate, illegitimate she’ll and told people drive slowly. But because I was a rabbi, that became a circus. It was a rabbi driven story. And I lost basically everything that I had built in a lapse of two weeks, and I became from Robin Fredo. I became the road rage rabbi and my life in the last 10 years is to acquire a new name what you did by Buddha rabbi, which is what now the bipolar Rabbi then you see the journey of the Rabbinate Rabbi Alfredo, roach rage Rabbi bipolar rabbi, in which I assume full responsibility for my actions. I was able to overcome adversity, amen. And I was able to transform marriage my journey into a banner for those who struggle with mental illness and don’t have a spiritual voice. I like you said at the beginning of the of the broadcast. I don’t wish upon myself my illness and I call it illness but I you know, which is unique, brings uniqueness. I don’t wish it upon myself. I don’t welcome it. By my job as a rabbi as a human being is to make meaning out of it. Yes, not to cry, or do I cry to not to lament although element to but at the end of this process of lamentation? I felt the responsibility to say you can be Rabbi on a leader.
Joshua T Berglan 14:37
Yes, you can. And you are. And I want to say something Rabbi. You had me laughing? No, I wasn’t laughing at you necessarily. It’s that I have had those experiences where you know, if I disassociate and I switch to one of the altars and the Lord has healed my D ID. disassociative identity disorder where now if I do have a switch, it’s minor, and it’s nothing like it was, but for the most part, it’s gone. And I’ve just done some very silly things. You know, I’ve done I did a lot of evil things, too. But I did so many silly things also from disassociating and ending up in places that like, wait a second, I don’t remember driving here and, or ending up in the kitchen and my underwear that I don’t remember getting down there. You know, I mean, just, there’s all of these stories that happen around people with mental uniqueness. So my laughter is just relation. So I please, please understand, I mean, no, no disrespect to you, or anyone with any mental uniqueness. As I said, I share this with you. So I, you know, sometimes it helps to laugh at some of the stupid stuff that we do. I mean, you have to think that God is laughing at us sometimes, right?
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 15:59
Yes, I mean, look, laughter is one of the most healing things we have. A I also laugh, it sometimes look back and laugh. I, you know, I want to mention that as my wall collapsed, and certainly my family gave me unconditional love. What sustained me sustain me is my congregation is your creation congregation
Joshua T Berglan 16:26
or your congregation, okay.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 16:28
My corrugation never left me. Wow, they could have they could have fired me. They could have said this person does not deserve to be spiritual leader. Sure, is a crook and a criminal. They wish they stood by me the entire journey is, and I, you know, I stayed until recently when I retire from corrugation for over 10 years leading the congregation while I was an open bipolar individual. And you know what they did. They learn my weaknesses, as much as my strengths, and they had infinite love and patience, hallelujah. They kept me accountable, because accountability is part of healing. But within that accountability was compassion. There is a compassionate accountability. And an active leader became a much better rabbi. I think that my sermons were better, were more profound. Were more connected to the human condition. Once I went through a struggle,
Joshua T Berglan 17:49
what am powerful message to all faith leaders, regardless of the religion, this is a problem. As you you probably have guessed by now, I’m a follower of Jesus. But I’m also loving and accepting of other people’s beliefs, because this is my own personal journey. I’m staying I what you who you worship. That’s not you know what I mean for other people. But I will tell you in the Christian community, in the church, one of the troubles that I see that bothers me, and it turned me away from religion for a long time, but now I recognize we’re just people. But, you know, the church preachers are a very have a really hard time talking about there’s real struggles, and talking about it in a way that people can relate. Because it’s one thing to say I’m a sinner, or I struggle with depression, or I struggle with this or that, or I struggle with lust. You know, we become desensitized to these words. Now. I mean, we can hear about molestation and rape, and it doesn’t or abuse, and it doesn’t have the impact. But when someone’s willing to be vulnerable, and, and share openly and allow people in, they get to feel what it’s like. And I believe if we feel pain, or we feel the remorse, or we feel whatever emotion it is, that is how we met, get to a place where we can make that decision. Okay, now I’m going to live this way. And so by you being vulnerable, you’re opening up leaders from all faiths to do the same thing. And that is what a leader to me does. So I appreciate that. I want to ask you something because one of the stigmas, especially in the faith community, is that mental health issues are demonic. Like people say that my di D is demons. And at one time it was the prince i guarantee you but it hasn’t always been demonic and it Isn’t now and what Bipolar disorder is looked at as demonic? Can you speak to whether the people watching are part of your congregation, other faith leaders and people from all different religious backgrounds? Can you speak to them from your professional, like where you are as a professional, speak to them about the demonic and mental health issues?
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 20:23
I must say also for as I answer the question for your audience, that they have a doctorate in theology, and a PhD in theology, and I am a social worker that specializes on therapy, then I have some professional background that can lead my answer, but I will answer to you from the Jewish perspective, which is please my specialty in the Jewish tradition differently from the Christian or some kinds of Christianity, there is no evil pilot parallel force to God. There is not a devil in Judaism, there is only God. Okay, good and evil derived from one source that creates all kinds of issues about how to explain evil, okay, which are very complex, but there is no a struggle between two beings, or a god and an angel. That is good and evil, that struggle, that dichotomy does not exist in Judaism, there is only God. There are some angels, one of them called Satan, which is just one angel like Michael or Gabriel, whose job is to be a prosecutor of humanity. Then Satan comes to God with bad war about what human beings do and are and we see this very clearly in the book of Job. Okay, but but but in in Judaism has a very poor folklore, tradition about demons, although in some mystical traditions like the Kabbalah, yeah, that is not popular. In the Kabbalistic world, there are a more developed demonic family. A, and there are exorcisms in the Kabbalah. They are not mainstream Judaism. Okay, they’re not mainstream. We we do not go through, we are more scientific in that way. We, we I, you know, I don’t I don’t know if any possession of anybody, ever, you know, that they heard in the Jewish community, or rabbis in the mainstream Jewish community, who are exorcist. And I haven’t given in 30 years of preaching any ceremony, which I refer to a demon, then then going to mental illness, there is into the into my thing is the more direct line between mental illness and either biological explanations or biological explanations that have an impact in the spiritual life. In other words, they are not illnesses of the Spirit. They are illnesses of the mind either is a mind or the brain, you want to be more accurate, there are images of the brain upon which spirituality can have a very positive impact. And spiritually, you can be affected by. But I can imagine that any Rabbi, I know would go into any kind of demonic language, or anything like that.
Joshua T Berglan 24:15
Interesting. So I had I just went, I don’t want to be offensive. I’m not a big fan of the Catholic Church. We were just the origins of it. The control that they’ve had on people, there’s a lot of issues that I have with that. And, and I believe with all my heart, that they have manipulated the Bible, remove parts, remove books, like I believe that one Enoch belongs in the Bible. I have I have some issue. But that said, I love the Bible, and I read it every day. It’s the best book ever written to me. But let me ask you this Because basically what you’ve just said, and I guess this makes sense with you being Jewish, is that what’s talked about in the New Testament is folklore is essentially what you’re saying, is that correct?
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 25:15
Well look, my own theology without Bocchino getting boring about it, is that all the sacred all the sacred scrapped Scriptures or the sacred scriptures are human recordings of a divine experience? Human recording of it is like a sacred diary. Okay, sacred diaries are not the experience in themselves. Sacred diaries are, in some way, an expression of it. Then, then I look at the Bible as a source of wisdom that the Israelites experience taught and later expanded and interpreted to create a meaningful life. I wouldn’t tell you by the way, that is the position of all Jews, because they are Jewish people who believe that the Bible would reveal Ward by Ward, by God to Moses in Sinai. And that an accepted position within Judaism is not the way I follow. Okay, I follow more, the position of the Bible is a divine document because people have consecrated itself. And I mean, a debate with the Bible, I am expanding the Bible. For me there are so two sources of wisdom, Joshua, one source of wisdom is the text, the sacred text, but the other source of wisdom is the life we live.
Joshua T Berglan 27:03
I agree with that,
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 27:05
okay, and there must be an encounter, an encounter where those two dimensions interact with each other on actually a equal fair field. If you look at the Rabbi’s, the ancient rabbis, they are very tough for mental illness. Okay, they they did not have the tools at that point in history to understand how the brain works, then they were very detrimental. Now, I’m not going to throw the rabbinic tradition to the garbage. Okay, they are my masters. But I will honestly situate them historically, and make an assessment of what they could and could not do according to the circumstances, and draw wisdom, when wisdom is there, interpret them to make them relevant, and sometimes reject them when they lost it.
Joshua T Berglan 28:20
So, the man who is the is there a Holy Spirit to Jewish people?
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 28:29
Well, a lot has to do with language, Joshua, transparent. The term holy spirit exists in Hebrew is a key term in Hebrew Ruach HaKodesh Holy Spirit. But it’s not a mainstream concept. Again, in 30 years of robbing it, I had not given any several what I use the term Holy Spirit, then, then you will you then then for example, you go to the issue of mental illness itself. Our core issue I don’t believe that people are possessed by some kind of Spirit, Holy or unholy. Okay, it’s not it’s not that is not the language we use in Judaism is a religion which in some way in more rationalistic non Christianity. I think that we are a more intellectualized religion. We have favor learning as a main form of actually worship. Jews worship through study is very dear to us. In the Middle Ages, the Jewish children in Europe were the only ones who knew how to read because he was poor. Have our Mitzvah and our commandments for a child to be taught to read clearly Hebrew and the scriptures, a from an early age, and the horse is sacred duty. A and it’s not a coincidence, among many reasons that Jewish people excel so much in their academics. Sure, this comes from an old tradition of the sacredness of studying a, the flip side of that, that we are a little bit more rationalistic and rational that we’ll say Christianity, Christianity is more conceptually on the mysterious Dum Dum than we are.
Joshua T Berglan 30:49
That I mean, from everything that my I have two sisters, from my dad’s previous marriage, and their mother was Jewish. And I got a I got a little bit of understanding, you know about the belief system then, but not really in depth. So like, I appreciate you answering these questions. And if they’re trivial, forgive me. It’s just my own curiosity. And, and frankly, I don’t know how many people actually really know, these things that you’re saying. And from my experience, also, even with my Jewish friends, you’re right, that study and education is emphasized greatly more so than any culture that I’m aware of. In the study, in the devotion to prayer, and to studying the Bible, is unlike anything that I’ve seen. I mean, and I gotta be honest, even the Muslim faith, I learned more about prayer from a Muslim woman than I did from what mostly in the church. And I’m not I’m again, I’m a follower of Jesus. I’m just stating these these facts, and this is why I love to have these conversations. But I and it’s, it’s also no wonder that if you look at the head of every major corporation in the entire world, the very heads of them are Jewish. There so
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 32:14
he be careful there. Let me let me tell you a couple things.
Joshua T Berglan 32:17
First, I’m not trying to be offensive, I promise. But maybe
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 32:21
let me be cautious about that. Look, first of all, I want to echo that I am in complete admiration about how the Muslims pray. Okay, I commend all the other religions would have the commitment and the devotion that Muslims have, look, the Jews have done well. You have to do well, when everybody else is trying to kill you. Yes, yes, absolutely. Okay. You have to be learned when overnight, they kick you out of your house and your country and the only thing you can take with you is yourself. Yeah, then you have knowledge is your most precious commodity. Absolutely. Okay. That then that all that said, we are doing well. But if you look at the map of powerful people of media people, we are well represented, but we are not the movers. We are not by any means the movers and shakers. Okay, okay, we are a minority. We are maybe today 16 million Jews in the entire world. That’s all. That’s okay. Maybe I am by young, you know, maybe 16 But not 25. Okay, we lost we lost 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, of which 1 million and a half were children, Joshua, 1 million children were killed the future. Then Then, I am very proud about what the Jewish people have accomplished. It had been done with come work and commitment. But in the map of the world, we are a grain of salt, a of an enormity of people who do good work and hold key positions. And I see many countries that other minorities, by the way, are doing well, here in the United States. If you see elections to Congress and you know that that you are going to see more diversity. And then then then I personally happy that that is mobility in this country. Not all we want by the way, believe me I I am in interfaith groups. I am a member of the Westchester mental health inter religious interfaith group. I am very active And then I speak with pastors all the time and we work together black churches, then I know the struggle. But there is at least the possibility, the possibility always of mobility and fairness, which in many places, there is no possibility even then that I would say to you, us that we are proud of what we have accomplished. But we are fearful of myth and antisense myth mythology, about about more than more than who we really are, in the in the enormous, enormous map of people who are involved in all kinds of positions of decision making.
Joshua T Berglan 36:01
i Please understand, I met No disrespect by my comment.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 36:07
You’re getting an opportunity, actually. Yeah.
Joshua T Berglan 36:09
Well, I, I’m glad that you under you took it that way, because that’s my intent. Because these are the I mean, honestly, I don’t know how many people have the same questions. Because there’s a lot that we don’t understand, like one of the things that I’ve seen float around social media, from the Jewish community, and please, please correct me or inform me if I’m wrong or correct. But with the ruling of the Roe versus Wade, some people say in the Jewish religion, that they are okay with abortion, is that true?
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 36:44
Look, one of the things about Judaism, if you look at Judaism, Judaism main book, the book by which our a religion has been shamed is called the Talmud. Okay, thank you. That Talmud is, the interpretation of the rabbi’s of the scriptures is a very long, many volumes. I mean, it will take you many life life likes to read it and understand it. Something about the Talmud that is unique to it is a dialogue. They’re all dialogues. They’re all conversations among the rabbis discussion among the rabbis, by the way, many of the discussions on conclusion conclusion. The value discussion in itself. Interesting, is a it’s a, we have what is called Jewish law, alpha, which is the Lord that by which a Jewish person lives, like which food can you eat, which food you cannot eat, what you can do on the Sabbath, you cannot do on the Sabbath. But the law is based on these dialogues called the Talmud. In other words, there is no dogma in Judaism is a religion without docman dogma. I would say that of the Western religions, Judaism isn’t maybe the most flexible one. We don’t have a central authority. We don’t have a chief robbing it of the Jews. We don’t have a rabbi of the Jews. We don’t have a Pope of the Jews. There is no one rabbi that can claim is the rabbi the Jews. We are one of the most decentralized and democratic structures of faith existing today. There are many advantages to that, Josh, creativity Democ democracy, you can keep the religion evolving. But also you’re going to see different interpretations of Judaism living side by side at the same time then I would see somebody test new subitem he didn’t want Judaism beliefs. Runaway.
Joshua T Berglan 39:22
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 39:24
You don’t want you have to ask the Orthodox Jews, the conservative judicial reform Jews, the Jews in Israel, the the Jews, in Arab countries do the Jews in Brooklyn, okay. These are Jews in what Osiris where I’m from. Okay, there is a shared destiny by the Jewish people. We share a history. We share the Scriptures we share the love for the land of Israel. We share the co workers we share a tradition there is a Lu, that make us a people that have the consciousness of belonging to each other. But these people is one of the most inner divided in the good way in terms of interpretations.
Joshua T Berglan 40:16
So in other words, you don’t have different belief systems within the Judaism that argue over scripture, they ridicule and they judge and we do have
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 40:27
we got too many. Oh, okay, cool. We don’t have a policy agency, we don’t have to be bold. We don’t have a any figure in Judaism, which is, the one who determines Judaism is more of a dialogue is more of parallel structures is more of fluidity of opinions. But clearly, there are certain things we know that there is a Sabbath. We know that there are dietary laws, but there are some Jews who follow the dietary laws, and some Jews could not follow the dietary laws, okay? Then don’t look in Judaism for a ruling, a ruling for all the Jews, then when it comes to the case of abortion, there are certain there, there are certain things I can tell you, I can tell you that they for much, they can tell you that for Judaism in general, without talking for all the Jews in general, the life of the mother takes precedent over the life of the fetus. Okay, then I will tell you that I could comfortably tell you that from most religious quarters, and from Jewish tradition in a holistic way knowing that that Jews some Jews may not agree with me. But if somebody were to tell me can you make a claim, I would say the claim clearly that in Judaism propounded proposed currently, the the life of the mother who’s an actual leading entity in the world, in case that the life of the mother is threatened. The life of the mother takes precedent over the life of the fetus. Okay, I would say that this is something I feel comfortable. Okay, speaking my voice Jewishly A, then then then a you know, that’s that that’s what I that’s what I could tell you in in a to the difficult question. A certainly there are other issues here with you the issue of there’s the issue of what Judaism believe and there is an issue of how a country decides to go one way or another visa vie the will of people okay, and that’s an issue of when an issue of representation when institutions represent or not the will of the people in but that’s not the religious question. That’s that’s a political question. And here’s the question for the for the makeup the American society I don’t think I don’t think for religious leaders particularly.
Joshua T Berglan 43:28
What is forgiveness look like in Judaism?
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 43:32
Awesome. Okay. We We thank you for Thank you my word Josh for taking me into into another topic. Look, forgiveness is central to Judaism. A remember we had junkie pool, which is the most maybe the best known. It’s not a holiday it’s you know, it’s more like a day of reflection in which is all about forgiveness. We call it in Hebrew czuba Shubhangi czuba Shula which will Chuba which model forgiveness is return. Forgive forgiveness is a form of return is not something that somebody else gives you is something that you gain through the process of growth you make then forgiveness is not the gift. Forgiveness has to be earned in Judaism, and it’s earn through a very, very clear process forgiveness begins with confession. The person must make a confession of the sins then it must be reparation. It will you try to fix the evil or the wrong gun and forgiveness or chuva is never finished. Never finished. Until you are confronted by the same opportunity to do wrong, and you resist it. The final the final is very, very tough. We are very tough on this. But I lie I love it. I love this toughness is very real. It’s now he is a person does not use forgiveness from a person. And the person does not give you forgiveness three times the night forgiveness, then you are forgiven. Because the other person cannot keep you hostage for life for what you’ve done. There is a statute of limitations. Luck, but but we are very down to earth, I tell you, we are very rational. In some ways we look at human behavior. It must be a behavioral change, a change of heart and a change of behavior. Change your heart for Judah, Islam is not enough. is not enough. We demand more.
Joshua T Berglan 46:12
All right, I have another curveball for you. How to how to how do you deal with? What’s the word shame, guilt and shame? How is that dealt with in Judaism?
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 46:26
I think that by the way, I in coming up with a book. Let me just say that. A on the it’s called the unexpected, unexpected wisdom of Exceptional Minds. Unexpected wisdom of Exceptional Minds, is a book about mental illness. And the wisdom and uniqueness of mental illness is an interactive book, by the way. People read through the book, they click on a link, they go to a special website and they give their opinion that those opinions are going to be then collected in what is not going to be the collective wisdom on mental illness. In which I am going to attempt to transform the hidden wisdom of mental illness as a gift to the world. And we are going to bring bringing a stigma into dignity, stigma into lessons sigma into teaching. I am so excited about that. I can tell you this because one of the chapters is on shame. Okay, exactly what you’re asking me one of the chapters called shame. Though the chapters are divided are the same instruction structurally, I begin with testimonies. Then I go into a dictionary definition of shame. I go into a summary of the scientific discoveries on shame. I go into 10 quotes by personalities and shame, each quote with questions and answers for reflection. I go into a spiritual section and quotes on shame. And then I go into exercises on shame. Okay, and a person can take any chapter is a chapter on acceptance. There’s a chapter on goals through the chapters on and on exhaustion is a chapter on wholeness is a chapter on diagnosis. If a person can take any chapter of the book and go through that learning in one chapter at a time. Then look, shame. The key about shame is not to believe that you or your shame. See people who are mentally what may be prone to mental illness. Either people believe that they are their illness. They become the rudeness they should like I never say I never say I am bipolar. I always say I have bipolar. I am not bipolar. I have bipolar. In the same way that I had diabetes, okay, I have a heart disease, then then something that mental illness and shame share is that people who experience them, they internalize it to the point of not distinguishing the persona from the feeling. It is very important to create a dichotomy between feeling shame, and being shamed. In fact, in some Jewish traditions, by the way, which I have found off, shame is seen as a learning opportunity. And I’ll tell you why. Shame is not always false. Okay, if you tell somebody a exercise, you’re too fat I would not recommend that you do that. Rude is rude is inappropriate, okay, and I will show you the door. However, the person who is told that is a person feel shame, you will probably feel shame. There is an opportunity also to say, Okay, what part of what I’m being told has a kernel of truth, and why that kernel of truth is making me feel this way. Then once you get to a point in which you feel shame without judgment, then you can begin a period of transformation. Wow, you may say, Look, you know, something, this, this person is really rude. I don’t want to know any other one anything to do with this person. But you know, I am a little bit fat. And I feel really shameful about it. What can I do to change, then, and then shame is one of the most brutal, brutal feelings is demolishing more than many other feelings, by the way.
Shame on somebody who shame somebody else. But given that we are not going to be able to prevent it all the time. Then the question is, why don’t we get it? How the shame can coach us to become better ourselves instead of internalizing it. That’s by the way, the message of my chapter but we go through my chapter, the exercises at the end are most of the exercises are about identifying your shame. Because in the place of shame your wound, you see, your shame will point out to your wound, then there is a lot of information in your shame. Because shame hurts you where you are already vulnerable. That’s true, then then shame actually is an encyclopedia of self knowledge. Once we are in control of it, and we don’t let it bother us, but rather teach us and that would I do in that chapter in the all the other chapters I transform pain into wisdom, to the best to the best of what we can do with that.
Joshua T Berglan 52:44
Wow, that is rich. That is really powerful. I had a shame and guilt expert on a couple of broadcasts ago. And it’s really interesting, I want to be careful what I say, Well, I just put it this way I my brain can process what you just said much easier. I feel like what you just said is really, really empowering for people who struggle with guilt and shame, like I in it. And honestly taking ownership of it, not applying it not soaking in it not bathing in it, but being able to look at it as something that can be a blessing. And something you can learn from is really, really powerful because there’s a difference between that because that’s you taking ownership or me taking ownership. When you just shoo it away, or surrender it or let go of it. You’re not really dealing with it and you’re not using it for the opportunity that it can be. This is why for instance, perceived weaknesses are things that are perceived to be bad usually end up being the greatest blessings in our life. And the things that we perceive to be the greatest things ever. typically don’t end up ending that way either. That is really powerful. I love that it because I want to always learn and grow and my whole life is an example of the blessing is in the braking. And everything that is meant to hurt me and destroy me and wipe me out has ended up being the very thing that is fueled my purpose and fueled what I get to do in the world. It now
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 54:33
there is a St George’s is saying by the rabbi’s. It’s a saying that many Jewish people know that says whoever shamed somebody in public is as if had committed murder. It clearly it clearly it clearly teaching is not a legal statement. But it’s it’s a underlining the severity of shaming somebody in public of doing gossip gossiping of, you know, of, you know, it’s seen as a very serious behavior, or the most unwelcome kind, okay, then that the other side of the coin is that we must learn from shame, but we must not move on women’s it must, it must not become a learning the learning method this way, if it can’t we learn, but it must, it must be avoided, shame targets, the totality of the other person is not about an aspect of the other person is about the person as the person is, is about the very existence of the person, if any, more than other, more than other awful things to do. And our society got to be very careful today because there is the recent rhetoric and language of disqualifying each other. If that is part of the rhetoric today, is that is, is destructive. One thing that Judah is has taught me, and I’m talking about the Talmud is that clearly you had to defend your life if somebody’s coming to kill you. But, but we are religion, a dialogue? A learning a. You know, in my own community, for example, just recently, the Jewish community brought a group of pastors to Israel, we invited them to take a trip to Israel, as our guests, and we do that all the time. Because we want to dialogue, we want to them to see what the Jewish people are doing in Israel, we can want them to have a first, you know, first account of of the miracle of Israel in not perfect, not perfect, but the people who were massacre 70 years ago that create one of the most thriving societies and Democrats and really the only democratic society in the area, if not something to take to be taken for granted. And the UN and that’s part that’s part of who we are, we don’t give up. We don’t give up. We seen it all. In terms of destruction and evil, we do not give up the faith. And there is a teaching in Judaism that when Moses was standing by the waters of the Sea of Reeds, he began praying to God. And the rabbi say that God said to Moses, stop praying. Okay, put the stuff on the water and begin walking. Okay, there are times to pray sometimes to act. Judaism discuss it tremendous tradition of praying. But we are very much religion based on action. For us, at the end of the day, action counts, which may be another another difference from some of the traditions and the people who are listening to us, for whom faith is the most solid ground for us action. Clearly not clearly wise, wisdom based action, but action for Judaism, the mitzvah to do something is at the core of how this religion manifests itself. By the way, that’s why I left the pulpit Joshua, and became the byproduct rabbi, based on my understanding of Judaism, that I was commanded to leave the fourth world of the synagogue or become an agent of action in the mental health community, transcending religions, transcending religions, and
that’s why the book I’m putting out by the way, he has almost no references. Because Because because, you know, clearly I am the bipolar Rabbi, You clearly know the bipolar Iman. But there then, you know, there are some a couple of Jewish quotes that are favorite of mine, but in general they’re trying to do is to create with Some SEEBURGER The answer is a yes do something Josh. Joshua, who knows about resilience corage Hope darkness more than people who come from the mental illness?
Joshua T Berglan 1:00:17
I don’t know anybody.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 1:00:19
Now, are we the voice of that in society today? I really, but we are not we are not the teachers. We have not articulated our message to society. We live in loneliness. We live in stigma, we live in shame, as he said, and we need to get out of the cocoon and created value proposition to American society. It is time for us time for us to translate our experience into wisdom. We are the only ones to blame for that. We haven’t done it by the way. Okay, then, then this is on our table. And that’s basically what my mission. And that’s why the book on my website and my lectures are, are an invitation to to those with mental illness. To please, please, please, please stop lamenting, begin reflecting, begin writing a diary of wisdom about what you learned you were in the psychiatric ward for a week, then you must write a couple of sentences about what freedom means to you. Who can talk about losing freedom? More than you who were for a week, denied of your freedom. You were not able to have a cell phone for a week, you were able to choose your food for a week, you saw you thought that what you were losing your mind. Now it is your responsibility to write a couple of ideas of what freedom means for the average American. If we don’t do that, we have nobody to blame.
Joshua T Berglan 1:01:58
Right? Wow, Rabbi, will you please plug your website and let everybody else I mean, let everyone know your website where they can support you where they can buy your books, all that I make it
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 1:02:12
and make it very easy. You can get to my website with bipolar Ravi, and the two R’s bipolar Rabbi without any separation rather, if we two Bs BVI, then bipolar Rabbi that come once you get to my website, there is a place where you can sign up, I write a weekly blog that you will get I run seminars. And my book when is out in about six months is going to be offered to you for a nominal very nominal fee. Okay, a few dollars, which I must do for strategic reasons, my marketing, whatever, okay. I agree with you, but I had to charge a couple of dollars. And that book is interactive, you’re going to get the chance sounds so cool, participate. I’m making more can share your wisdom. If you have a mental illness. If you’re a caregiver you want if you are curious, you will want to know about shame, acceptance, and spirituality. Anywhere you come from, you’re going to be able to contribute a bipolar Rabbi that come in, you know, I just finished my blog today. My blog today is about what do you do at moments when the crisis is over? Then the crisis is over. Or you have an hour, where you ask yourself, what is the best time to use your time, but I will give you the solution because they they the blog is going to be out posted next week and you sign up, you get it.
Joshua T Berglan 1:04:06
I’m going to sign up. I want to read that. Rabbi, God bless you, man, thank you for being here. Thank you for answering all my crazy questions. And I and I really am honored by you being here and I am grateful for what you do. Thank you, Rabbi.
Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski 1:04:26
Thank you just for this opportunity to the light mana network people keep the faith, a bit of a little bit of my tradition to you but I also that I really, really engage you in a dialogue with me and with the mental health community.
Joshua T Berglan 1:04:46
God bless you bye bye. See you soon. Bye bye.
I love what I get to do. I love I would have never known any of that, you know what I would have done, I would have had the not stereotypes, I would have had the information that I assumed was correct in my brain this entire time. And so I am grateful that I got to ask all those questions, I probably have 8000 more. But for the sake of time, I do want to have him back, I do want to read his book. And, look, I mean, you guys know, my faith, my faith didn’t change. But I’m grateful for this conversation. Because even though the beliefs are different, there’s some very practical things there that I think make my faith stronger. And also my way of being and way of doing things and way of just living in general. I learned a lot there of ways that I can be better. And that’s why I love getting to do these broadcast. In my next broadcast, that’s here coming up in just a little bit is going to be wildly different from this one. And the one the two yesterday wildly different. I think God I get to do this, because I learned something each and every time. So grateful for the rabbi, check them out bipolar rabbi.com. Thank you guys for your support. Again, you can go to that barcode there at the bottom left corner right corner. I don’t know I’m confused this way. This one, you can scan that and you can buy our book. You can check out our movie that’s free. It’s my testimony, the devil inside me and just grateful that you’re here. Thank you, Rabbi. God bless you, sir. And we’ll see you guys again. Thank you
Transcribed by https://otter.ai