"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A chossid needs a Rebbe and a mashpia

Reb Hillel Paritcher once explained that to live the life of a chossid, one needs two vital things:
Every single Jew who wishes to go in the ways of Chassidus needs to be mekushar [bound] with the Tzaddik of the generation, such as the Rebbe. He should also acquire for himself a teacher, who is a chossid, to teach him and explain to him well the teachings of the Rebbe and [to explain to him] all of Chassidus. For the Tzaddik elicits the level of seeing G–dliness into one’s soul [which is the level of Chochmah], while the chossid elicits the level of hearing G–dliness into one’s soul, which is the level of Binah. This will suffice for the understanding person.

Migdal Oz, p. 353.
In my own words: It is not enough to study Chassidus and follow Chassidic customs on one’s own. In order for these things to have their desired effect, one needs two forms of outside help:

1. Hiskashrus (a bond) with a Rebbe. Since the Rebbe himself sees G–dliness, he is able to make makes the G–dliness one connects with through learning Chassidus real; this is the idea of “seeing” G–dliness, as it were (see here).

2. A chossid to guide him and explain the Rebbe’s teachings to him—what is today referred to as a mashpia (as distinct from an asei lecha Ravsee here). This enables the Rebbe’s teachings to permeate the chossid intellectually. This is the idea of Binah, which is the idea of attaining abstract understanding of G–dliness. This is compared to “hearing” G–dliness, just as one hears about something that is distant. 

This guidance also seems to be needed in order to guide the person in applying the teachings to himself personally, for the purpose of learning Torah in general and Chassidus in particular is to affect one personally. On the contrary, this is the true measure of whether these teachings have indeed permeated him.


  1. BS"D

    But what about in these days when we cannot see the Rebbe? Is our hiskashrus through the sichas and maamarim and igros (lav davka notes in the igros)? Or is it through following the advice in the sicha you posted?

    And what of the generation that has never seen the Rebbe? When I look at the picture over my desk I know exactly who I am looking at. What of someone who sees that picture and only knows lehavdil that his father dresses the same way, has a similar beard and that he goes to a school where they talk about the Rebbe in the picture?

  2. I have written a whole series of posts here to explain, based on the words of the Rebbeim, how Hiskashrus is still just as attainable after Gimmel Tammuz.

    Yet of course this is certainly not a desirable situation, and one which we davven should immediately end, with the coming of Moshiach now, when, as the Rebbe put it at the conclusion of his first Ma’amar, we will "merit to see and be together with the Rebbe, down here in a physical body and within our reach, and he will redeem us."


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