Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guest Posting By Moshe Lev - How I First Started Learning Chassidus

(Picture by D. Nettley)

Like many people when I started learning Chassidus I did not realize that I was learning Chassidus. I was attending a Chabad House at the time, and did not understand that everything I was learning at the time was filtered through the Tanya. The Tanya is very central to the world view of Chabad and is a beautiful sefer. In it, not only do you find a logical construction of the hidden aspects of Torah, you find some the early recordings of the Chassidic movement before Chassidim really broke into their many vibrate camps. For many years, I have focused on learning more about the beginnings of the Chassidic movement. Rabbi Dovid Sears wrote a wonderful book called The Path of Baal Shem Tov that I highly suggest if you want to understand this era.

My second phase in learning Chassidus came when I came into contact with Breslover Chassidim. Even though I enjoyed studying the Tanya, I never made a firm connection with the Chabad movement, and started searching once again. I was very curious about the writings of Rebbe Nachman and the answers I needed for my spiritual growth I found in his works. Now, I and a group of men meet weekly to study Likutei Moharan.

I have always been drawn to Chassidim, the music, the stories, and myths and the reality of this branch of Judaism and I plan to study the other masters of Chassidic thought as well. Chassidus speaks to me in ways I really cannot explain because I am still in the mist of my journey. Saying that, I think it is very important to remember that the all of the rebbes are trying to reach out to us through their writings and gently lead us on our paths, so we can grow and become the people we are destine to be. For some it will be the Tanya, for some Likutei Moharan, and for others it will be another sefer. It is essential to note that they have something to say and we just need to listen.


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