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

Monday, March 15, 2010

Following the "chassidishe Shulchan Aruch"

Someone once wrote to the Rebbe (Igros Kodesh, Vol. 10, p. 396) and complained that although he prays with enthusiasm, in the middle of his Tefillah he suddenly feels overcome by heaviness. The Rebbe responded that at such times he should take a break and relax, but that this relaxation should obviously conform both with the Shulchan Aruch and the “chassidishe Shulchan Aruch.”

chossid’s identity as a chossid should permeate every aspect of his life. One might think that if I am already very inspired, why does it matter so much if I relax by, let’s say, reading a newspaper (obviously, we are only talking about perusing articles that contain completely permitted content)? If I am doing the main thinglearning Torah, praying enthusiastically, and engaging in good deeds—is that not sufficient?

No, the way one relaxes
does matter, for even if a given practice is not technically forbidden by the
Shulchan Aruch, a chossid is not satisfied. He is constantly asking himself what is expected of him according to the chassidishe Shulchan Aruch, the higher standard of living and observance expected of a chossid.

In the case of relaxing, although a chossid needs relaxation and recreation from time to time like anyone else, especially when he feels very weak (see the above letter), he will seek outlets for this need that, though perhaps light, still inspire him and draw him closer to Hashem. An example of a method for such relaxation would be reading inspiring stories from Jewish history, stories of Tzaddikim, and of chassidim. Another might be listening to niggunim (Chassidic melodies).

And just as one cannot fulfill the regular Shulchan Aruch without studying it, so does one need to study the chassidishe Shulchan Aruch—which, for a Chabad chossid, can be found in the teachings of the Rebbeim of Chabad—in order to adhere to it properly.

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