October 15, 2015 5:09 pm at 5:09 pm #616452
I grew up in a family which leans slightly towards chassidus. They daven nussach sefard, do hakafos on Shmini Atzeres night, and a few other things.
I’ve heard so much about chassidus as a whole, which isn’t what I grew up with, so I’d like to know, how does chassidus differ from traditional Orthodox Judaism?October 15, 2015 5:35 pm at 5:35 pm #1105685popa_bar_abbaParticipant
I’ve heard it explained like a beigel and tuna. Torah is the beigel, and the rebbe gives you tuna to put on it.
(Sorry Sam, I had to)October 15, 2015 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm #1105686Avram in MDParticipant
Is this an ironic spin-off from the “Modern Orthodox” thread?October 15, 2015 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #1105688
For one thing, they insulate themselves from the secular world and culture more than traditional Orthodoxy does.
They also focus more on ruchniyus in ways other than learning, such as tefillah and nigun, with a focus on simcha and d’veykus, more than traditional Orthodoxy does.
They survived the haskalah much better than traditional Orthodox Jews did.October 15, 2015 6:34 pm at 6:34 pm #1105689
Avram in MD: Did you really need to ask?October 15, 2015 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #1105690the plumberMember
these days there are actual chassidim but there are, unfortunately, also fake “chassidim”. These are the guys that are completely litvish except they dont wanna eat in a sukkah on shemini atzeres and the like. (“Oh were chassidish, dont worry”)October 15, 2015 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #1105691zahavasdadParticipant
They survived the haskalah much better than traditional Orthodox Jews did.
Not true. You might be thinking of Oberlander which survived because Hungary was hit later in the war, however jews from Poland/Ukraine (Galacia) was one of the biggest places for the haskalah in fact how often do you hear much about jews from Galacia except in a history book even though many jews come from that area (They especially came to the US)October 15, 2015 7:23 pm at 7:23 pm #1105692zahavasdadParticipant
Chassidus began in Galacia, not Hungary. Medibutch was in GalaciaOctober 15, 2015 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm #1105693
Probably the biggest difference (and most critical) is that they believe in a hereditary system of leaders, and those leaders are the conduit through which they serve the RBSO. A corollary to that point is that what the Rebbe says is law from the RBSO, similar to as if a Navi said it.
Everything DY said is true as well to some extent. There are many adult male Chassidim who interact with the outside much more than Litvaks or Yerushalmis (for example, Satmar).October 15, 2015 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #1105695
Can someone list some of the arguments the Gra zt”l had against chassidus?October 15, 2015 9:28 pm at 9:28 pm #1105696
gavra: The Chasam Sofer paskens l’halacha that a Rov’s son is entitled to inherit his position. And the C”S wasn’t a chosid.October 15, 2015 9:35 pm at 9:35 pm #1105697
Joseph: The Rema paskens that if 2 candidates are equal, the son of the previous Rav gets to inherit the position. However, if another candidate has even a slight edge over the son, the son does NOT inherit the job.
The Magen Avraham argues on the Rema. He says that even if they are equal, the position is not inherited.October 15, 2015 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm #1105698
DaMoshe: The Rambam rules that not only the kingship, but rather every position of authority and all appointees of Israel are inherited to a son and to a son’s son, forever. The Ginas Veradim quotes an anecdote of how the rabbinate in Tzefas was passed on by inheritance to a son who was under bar mitzvah when Rav Shlomo Alkabetz ordered the community to wait for the young boy to come of age, and when the son turned thirteen he took over his father’s position! The hulchan Aruch bases a ruling on the same halachah, this time in connection with the local cantor, who retains the right to bring in his son as an assistant and groom him for taking over his position (Orach Chaim 53:25).
In Yoreh Deah (245:22), the Rema states that somebody who serves as the rabbi of a city cannot be ousted from his standing even if somebody greater than him comes to town. Even his son and his son’s son, forever, take precedence over others. In Orach Chaim 13 the Chasam Sofer writes that he upheld the ruling of Rema that the son inherits his father’s rabbinical position and another Chasam Sofer (Choshen Mishpat 21) also implies this. The Kesav Sofer (the Chasam Sofer’s son, Yoreh Deah 123) confirms that his father implemented the Rema’s ruling in all Hungarian rabbinates that the son inherits the rabbanus. The Mishna Berura (53:83) cites both opinions.October 15, 2015 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm #1105699
Rashi in Kerisus says that the son only inherits the position if he is worthy of it.October 15, 2015 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm #1105700
I looked up some of the early arguments against chassidus, from the Gra as well as some of his students. Some of the things I found were shocking.
The teachings of the Besht were most notably written in the Toldos Yaakov Yosef, and that is where a lot of the arguments went against.
One thing which many Rabbonim were against was the idea of improper thoughts, especially during davening. The Toldos YaaKov Yosef wrote that if a man gets improper thoughts during davening, such as lustful thoughts about a woman, he should not try to dismiss them from his mind. Rather, he should hold onto them and concentrate on them. The words of davening will sanctify it, and turn it into pure love of Hashem. Most Rabbonim considered this absurd, and argued strongly against this idea.
Another idea was the role of the tzaddik. In Chassidus, the average person is deemed incapable of rising spiritually on his/her own. The Tzaddik (or Rebbe) has a job, to uplift the people. In order to do so, the Tzaddik must descend down to their level, and then bring them up alongside himself. Again, most Rabbonim were against willfully lowering oneself spiritually.October 15, 2015 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm #1105701AshParticipant
@gavra_at_work Probably the biggest difference (and most critical) is that they believe in a hereditary system of leaders, and those leaders are the conduit through which they serve the RBSO. A corollary to that point is that what the Rebbe says is law from the RBSO, similar to as if a Navi said it.
That was a very inaccurate statement and nothing like the reality.
Chassidim hold in asay lchah rav as it should be held. That you don’t just go to a rov for kashrus shallos or when it’s convenient, or when he’ll give you an answer that you want. If a (true) chossid was wondering if he’s allowed a smartphone for work, he’d (1) ask the rebbe (2) listen to what the rebbe said, no ifs no buts. How many non-chassidim can say they’d even do (1), let alone (2)? It’s not an exclusively chassidish shitta (e.g. Rav Dessler says the same thing), merely one aspect of Yiddishkeit that they are very strong in.
They also understand the true stength of a kehillah and its mesorah (which can evolve as a whole, but from which one should not separate) from which we in the rest of modern (small M) Orthodoxy can all learn.
To say they hold the rov’s rulings comparable to nevius is utterly wrong. (I assume you know what nevius is.) Similarly, your statement that “those leaders are the conduit through which they serve the RBSO”.October 15, 2015 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm #1105702Little FroggieParticipant
DaMoshe, what got into you? Are you looking for trouble? “Can someone list some Lashon Hara?!?”
If you REALLY need to know, things you enumerate are TOTALLY off. Way off. No, you don’t do honor to the Gr”a by your posts…
Iv’e been reading these past few days, without commenting… but I thing this goes a bit too far…
(and the “willfully lowering oneself spiritually” thing you mentioned, is EXACTLY what other Ravs condoned!! – couldn’t leave that out)October 16, 2015 8:18 am at 8:18 am #1105703fathousewifeParticipant
So you wanna know about chasidus: Ill cover a few basics
1. ferfel and tzimmes Friday night
2. little girls with sleek neat pony tails
4. Aim biyisrael/aishes chayil after a baby
5. chunky ornate furniture
6 potpourri sachets in the linen closets
7 TurbansOctober 16, 2015 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm #1105704
The Gra also said that chassidim were too involved in D’veykus, so they completely missed the zmanim for krias Shema and Tefillah. The Chassidim claimed that tefillah without D’veykus was worthless, so it was better to daven late without D’veykus.
The Chassidim also claimed that learning Torah was no longer that important. They said tefillah was now more important. They claimed this changed because as the generations lowered in stature, the need for tefillah to connect to Hashem became stronger. The Gra, along with many other Rabbonim, opposed this.
The Maggid of Mezritch (I believe – I may be wrong about who it was) claimed that he had a dream where he was told that the teachings of the Besht should be spread to all, and once that happened, Mashiach could come.
I find this hard to believe. We have always been taught that the Torah was given to all at Har Sinai so that EVERYONE saw it, and therefore it can’t be denied. So if there was to be a change in the way we should do things, why should it come through a dream to one person? Shouldn’t it also have been a mass revelation? How does it differ from, say, Christianity, who also believe there was a change in how to serve God, which was passed down through a select group?October 16, 2015 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm #1105705
How does it differ from, say, Christianity
Huh? What on earth?October 16, 2015 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm #1105706
DaMoshe: Your post are factually incorrect on multiple counts.October 16, 2015 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm #1105707
How so?October 16, 2015 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm #1105708
Ash – no shaychus. If that was all then there would be no difference to the Yeshivish. DaMoshe but it accurately when he mentioned “the role of the Tzaddik”.
Joseph – agreed. The issue is not that the Rebbe’s son inherits the Chassidus (and all of the property that goes along with it), but that he inherits the Chassidim (who should go to the best qualified Rov, not the son of who used to be most qualified). It also results in minimally qualified people (if that) running the show (and enjoying the monetary benefits) just because their great-grandfather did some good (then again, you see it today with the Yeshivish as well, and the hereditary yerusha of seats on the Moetzes, for example).
DaMoshe – modern Chassidim are nothing close to what the Gaon describes as Chassidus. They too have evolved to be Lomdei Torah, just as the Litvaks have become more Chassidish.October 16, 2015 1:32 pm at 1:32 pm #1105709golferParticipant
Fhousewife, I don’t know what the men are carrying on about.
Your post covers everything anyone needs to know.
#6 was especially great and LOL-worthy.
I challenge any of the inflamed Misnagdim here to let me know if they’ve ever seen a sachet in a linen closet.
(Or to let me know if they’ve ever seen a sachet.)October 16, 2015 1:43 pm at 1:43 pm #1105710
(Or to let me know if they’ve ever seen a sachet.)
(Or to let me know if they’ve ever seen a linen closet.) !October 16, 2015 1:49 pm at 1:49 pm #1105711
Damoshe: “The chasidim claimed that learning torah..” No they didn’t .October 16, 2015 1:53 pm at 1:53 pm #1105712
:The besht never claimed a new Torah, only a new derech avoda hashem.October 16, 2015 1:55 pm at 1:55 pm #1105713
How does that differ from the mussar movement?October 16, 2015 1:57 pm at 1:57 pm #1105714
Chasidus placed focus on different things in the Torah nothing new cvOctober 16, 2015 1:58 pm at 1:58 pm #1105715
One Liner – incorrect. R’ Schneur Zalman Liadi said that the purpose of learning Torah was not for the sake of learning itself, but to get closer to Hashem. He said that since the majority of people weren’t capable of learning at a high level, they should spend far less time learning, and spend more time in prayer, as that would accomplish the desired result far better than learning.
This was one of the main arguments of the Gra against chassidus.October 16, 2015 1:59 pm at 1:59 pm #1105716
Fathousewife:ur confusing Chasidus with culture. Hungarian vs AmericanOctober 16, 2015 2:12 pm at 2:12 pm #1105717flatbusherParticipant
What I find ironic not only in Chassidus but also in the Torah world, that it appears all Jews are not created equal and some are more important than others. And where does the precedence of bloodline come from? Moshe Rabbenu’s sons didn’t inherit his leadership position and Avraham had a Yishmael and Yitzchak an Eisav?October 16, 2015 2:18 pm at 2:18 pm #1105718
Avraham also had Yitzchak, who had Yaakov, and they were the ones who are Avos, not Yishmael and Eisav.October 16, 2015 2:22 pm at 2:22 pm #1105719
The majority of people weren’t learning torah!October 16, 2015 2:23 pm at 2:23 pm #1105720
Chasidus enabled them too, to get close to hashem.October 16, 2015 2:24 pm at 2:24 pm #1105721
That wasn’t a new concept at all. In fact no one disagreed.October 16, 2015 2:28 pm at 2:28 pm #1105722
The Gra feared these teachings might be misunderstood by the masses.October 16, 2015 2:31 pm at 2:31 pm #1105723
Which to a certain extent that were.October 16, 2015 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm #1105724
One Liner – chassidus didn’t enable them to learn Torah. It just legitimized the fact that they weren’t.October 16, 2015 3:01 pm at 3:01 pm #1105725flatbusherParticipant
Daas Yachid: My point was not that they had a Yitzchok and Yaakov but that bloodline does not necessarily translate into greatness.October 16, 2015 3:02 pm at 3:02 pm #1105726
No it enabled them to connect to hashem on their level.October 16, 2015 3:04 pm at 3:04 pm #1105727
Chasidus taught that Torah is the ultimate way of doing that.October 16, 2015 3:07 pm at 3:07 pm #1105728
That doesnt excuse those who can’t.which was often taken out of context.October 16, 2015 3:11 pm at 3:11 pm #1105729
Flatbusher, not every rosh hayeshiva or chassidishe rebbe’s son becomes a rosh hayeshiva or rebbe.October 16, 2015 3:23 pm at 3:23 pm #1105731yytzParticipant
1. It depends on which chassidus. Breslov follows the S’A and is very strict about davening on time and such (that’s reportedly why the Chofetz Chaim recommended it to his son who was getting interested in chassidus). Chabad is somewhat less strict on such things but follows the S’A HaRav. Other chassidim are sometimes less strict about such things as davening on time and tachanun.
2. They emphasize spirituality and character refinement as well as Torah study. Some sephardim and Litvish do too, but it’s not as common. See the book Jewish Spiritual Practices for diverse examples of chassidic practices.
3. Personal, spiritual connection to a particular tzaddik and his teachings are deemed very important for one’s avodas Hashem.
4. Joy, love of Hashem and one’s fellow Jew, and belief in all-encompassing divine providence are emphasized. Prayer in one’s own words and various meditative practices are employed.
5. Chassidic teachings and spirituality are essentially contained in books and the personal teachings of Rebbes, and can be practiced by any Orthodox Jew, regardless of appearance or affiliation. So some sephardim, Yeshivish and MO Jews draw on chassidic teachings to a large degree and yet retain their traditional appearance and affiliation.
6. Chassidim were more fervent fighters against haskalah (as mentioned by the Chofetz Chaim) and were the main ones brave enough to risk their lives by spreading Yiddishkeit in the Soviet Union (especially Chabad and also Breslov).October 16, 2015 3:49 pm at 3:49 pm #1105732golferParticipant
The Malbim was a Chassid?
Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsch was a Chassid?October 16, 2015 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm #1105733yytzParticipant
Obviously they weren’t the only fervent fighters. But at least in Lithuania in the Chofetz Chaim’s time, the Chofetz Chaim thought they were more energetic and effective in the battles against them (as described in his biography).October 16, 2015 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm #1105734
One Liner: No, they taught that the ultimate way of connecting to Hashem is through D’veykus. They said that Torah learning wasn’t giving people the D’veykus they needed, so they should not do it, and should instead engage in prayer. Early chassidim even advocated drinking and turning somersaults in order to increase happiness. They said it didn’t matter how you became happy, as long as you got there.October 16, 2015 4:49 pm at 4:49 pm #1105735
No, they taught that the ultimate way of connecting to Hashem is through D’veykus.
is a contradiction to:
They said that Torah learning wasn’t giving people the D’veykus they needed, so they should not do itOctober 16, 2015 4:51 pm at 4:51 pm #1105736
Yes, the Gaon’s vehement objection was to early chassidus, not to how it evolved.
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