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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chassidus: Study and ways

We will soon celebrate the chassidishe Yom Tov of Yud-Tes Kislev, when we wish one another to be written and sealed for a good year in the study and ways of Chassidus. What is the meaning of this distinction? Below is a simple example of the difference between the study of Chassidus and the ways of Chassidus, and the way that they go hand in hand (on this topic, see also here).
The Previous Rebbe once taught:

G–d runs the world by Hashgacha Pratis, personal Divine Providence. Thus, if someone loses a two-ruble coin and experiences pain, he is a fool. By the same token, if one earns well and therefore straightens his posture [i.e., feels arrogance], he is also a fool. For everything occurs by Hashgacha Pratis. G–d runs the world, and we can rely on Him to guide us for the good and with precise deliberation. We need only ask that this too become manifest in the form of visible, revealed blessings.

Once, in a time of distress, great Jewish leaders convened to seek a solution. A simple Jew entered and said: Why are you worrying—G–d is our Father!

Shemu’os V’Sipurim, Vol. 3, p. 116.
In this case, the study of Chassidus involves thoroughly grasping the principle of Hashgachah Pratis as taught in depth in Chassidus.

The ways of Chassidus, however, consist of the effort to bring this awareness to affect one’s emotions, to the point that it informs one’s responses in daily life.

As explained at length in the Rebbe Rashab’s Kuntres HaTefillah and other sources in Chabad teachings, intellectual knowledge can only be truly internalized through the discipline of Avodas HaTefillah, in-depth meditation in prayer according to the Chabad tradition. So as far as cultivating sensitivity to Hashgachah Pratis is concerned, in-depth meditation on this concept before or during prayer will bring the person to sense this awareness to the point that he is neither distraught at material loss, nor elated at material gain. And even if he does not actually attain this goal, he will come ever closer to it.

May we merit to suceed in our efforts in both the study and the ways of Chassidus in the coming chassidishe year.

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