Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Chassidim Of Vohlynia-Poland-Galicia

"At first glance, the path and teachings of Chassidus taught by the Rebbeim of Vohlynia-Poland-Galicia seem closer to the path and teachings of the Baal Shem Tov's Chassidus than the teachings of Chabad. This applies especially because of the emphasis [placed by Polish chassidim] on miracle-working...

...Now the chassidim of Vohlynia-Poland-Galicia were in the habit of comparing pedigrees. Each of these chassidim was always prepared to state that his own Rebbe was superior to someone else's. The practice of Chabad Chassidim is different: we do not dismiss what others consider holy; we simply hold our own to be dear and precious. We maintain friendly relations, even as we remain conscious of our own qualities...

...The main focus of the Vohlynian-Polish-Galician chassidim was their Rebbeim's lifestyles, their stories, and their deeds."


At May 18, 2008 at 6:24:00 PM EDT, Blogger Long Beach Chasid said...

Chabad doesnt follow what their Rebbe did? Even if it differs from what Previous Chabad Rebbe's did or said?

Well then What happened to Seudah Shlishit? Alte Rebbes book said that yes fruit or cake could count but it doesnt say Do away with washing and eating bead entirely

Why did the Alte Rebbe have long payous? Not only do Chabad not have long payos but The Rebbe said that anyone who has long payos cant possibly follow the teachings of the Arizal?

What about the author of these statements the Previous Rebbe who wore a spodik? All the Rebbes had striemels or spodiks or the hat like the tzemak tzedek. Not only did Chabad follow the last Rebbe in head covering but Ive had my own Rav mocked for wearing his Spodik at a chabad shul that he lives by.

Now I am not questioning the Previous Rebbe who wrote this statement I just want some questions answered.

Because I feel that Chabad is just like every Chasidic group. You have a Rebbe he is a tzaddik so dress, act, speak, and do whatever your Rebbe does and maybe just maybe you might mamash be a little more holy yourself.

The more I am around Chabad the more I realize how big their Ego's are. They arent out to Kiruv Jews back to HaKodesh Barachu they are out to Kiruv them to Chabad.

At May 18, 2008 at 6:44:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long Beach Chasid: Your mistake is in thinking that there is a difference between the two. It's like saying "Their goal is not to mekarev to KB"H but to tefillin/mezuzah/Mishnah/Moshe Rabbeinu".

There is a very easy way to stop thinking erroneously about Chabad: stop thinking that Chabad Chassidus is a minhog or a set of "just" minhogim. It is not. It is a shita in yiddishkeit, like any other chiddush in Torah, from the times of Moshe Rabbeinu. You may disagree with this shita (and you need intellectual, not emotional reasons for this), but you must recognize it as such nevertheless -- therefore, no problem in "mekavering to Chabad". Which I wish you were right about. Unfortunately, most Chabad Houses are not places to learn Chabad Chassidus but to become a bit more religious and exposed to yiddishkeit.

Regarding your other questions, there are very good reasons for all the changes in customs. There is importance in connecting to customs of the Rebbe of the generation, who may have had a reason to make slight changes from the previous Rebbeim (and yes, the Rebbe is still the Rebbe of our generation, because the issues he dealt with, spoke about and taught about are still the issue we deal with and need help with).

"The more I am around Chabad the more I realize how big their Ego's are." An ego of a Chassid is his Rebbe. In this sense, your sentence is true.

Stop arguing. Stop thinking in emotional way. Start learning.

At May 18, 2008 at 6:48:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This piece by the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe Reb Yosef Yitzchak is fascinating on many different accounts. One of the major things brought down in it is the numerous statements that Chabad has its focus and the other Rebbes have their focus within the larger landscape of chassidus.

I thought that the following was a very revealing quote: "It is not proper - nor do I have any desire - to compare one society to the other. We do not possess the proper yardstick with which to measure and compare the two lofty mountains, the G-dly princes, my saintly ancestor the Mitteler Rebbe, with his in-law, my saintly ancestor the Rebbe of Chernobyl of blessed memory; nor can we make such comparisons regarding succeeding generations."

The Rebbe makes a point at the beginning to show that the Alter Rebbe certainly did everything within his power to not depart from the practices and teaching of the Baal Shem Tov even in the slightest degree, but no where in the piece does he even hint that the other Talmidei Baal Shem somehow departed from the derech haBaal Shem. In fact he states numerous times that everything depends upon one's focus and clearly hold on high regards the other chassidic Rebbes. He states the following: "And the chassidim of Vohlynia-Poland-Galicia - among whom there were geonim, tzaddikim, and men of good deeds - each generally recorded in his seforim what he heard from his own Rebbe, and events he witnessed. There are whole libraries, filled with interpretations of Scripture, teachings of the Sages, and stories of various miracles.To summarize: it all depends on one's main focus. The main focus of the Vohlynian-Polish-Galician chassidim was their Rebbeim's lifestyles, their stories, and their deeds."

In other words, there is a clear difference in the manner in which chassidus is conveyed; the Chabad the goal is to explain chassidus is a clear and systematized manner without the inclusion of manner stories and wonders and by the chassidim of Vohlynia-Poland-Galicia the focus is as Reb Yosef Yitzchak states above. This is very clear to anyone who has studied Chabad chassidus and chassidus of another Branch in the chassidic menorah. The Likutei Amarim is clearly very structured in very much the same manner as the sifrei haRamchal. In contrast, Toldos Yaakov Yosef or Meor Einayim is structured according to the parsha. As stated by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, one of the principle goals of the Alter Rebbe was for the light of chassidus to be accessible to anyone and thus arranged the Tanya in a structured manner that is more conducive for many people to understand a matter. Thus, the principle difference between various branches of chassidus is not that one has kept the true derech haBaal Shem and another has not, H"V, but that the difference lies in the focus of that particular branch of chassidus and the manner in which it is expressed. Hence, one should not say that this branch or that branch of chassidus reigns supreme above all others; if a person is drawn to a particular chassidus then so be it and if he is drawn to another chassidus then so be it. As Reb Binyamin answered the Karliner Rebbe: "The master is a master, but not for me; the servant is a servant, but not for thee." Which is a similar concept to what an old Polisher Yid told me that they used to say about chassidim: "the chosid feet follow his heart." Which he explained to mean that a chosid goes where he feels most elevated in avodas Hashem. Or so he said that is used to be back in the old country.

In an interesting side note, the idea expressed this piece by the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe is exactly the same thing that Reb Aharele Roth says I believe in the foreword to his Shomer Emunim: that one should not attempt to draw other people close to their chassidus by denigrating other chassidim or Rebbes; if anything tell them the good points and if they are drawn to it then fine but if not then also fine.

And, as a personal observation, it would seem to me that various Chabad chassidim's desire to boost up their own chassidus is rooted in a reaction to the whole Meschichist thing surrounding the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In light of the fact that Chabad has lost much of it's esteem in the chassidishe velt due to the whole thing it is a natural reaction for people to spend expend a lot of effort to regain lost esteem. The odd thing is that now-a-days the average Chabad farbrengen seem to center around stories of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and miracles associated with him, aka the very thing that the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe said is the auspices of other chassidic branches but not that of Chabad. I'm not a Chabad chosid, but I would like to see Chabad get back to focusing on what the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke of in this piece brought by A Simple Jew.

At May 18, 2008 at 6:53:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not clear to me what is the connection of the first comment and the quote, which should not be taken out of the context.

At May 19, 2008 at 12:26:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this division of Chabad / Chagas is oversimplification which is very misleading.

At May 20, 2008 at 11:21:00 AM EDT, Blogger Long Beach Chasid said...

Its interesting. The condescending nature from mr. anonymous. Your whole soap box of my post being chalk full of emotion and lacking intelligence beams equally in your post.

Nowhere did you answer any of my questions, you simply tell me I know nothing.

If I knew everything I wouldnt be asking question, of which you obviously cant answer.

Alas I am entitled to my own opinion and I feel that yes Chabad thinks they are the better, more truer Chasidus and the only authentic followers of the Arizal.

Go open up your Gutnick Chumash to Parshas Kedoshim and read the "spark of chassidus" that speaks about cutting the beard.

"It is explicitly stated in the teachings of the Arizal that he cut his payos with a scissors, so anyone who grows their payos long obviously cant think they are following the Arizal"

You dont find it a bit egotistical to say that all chassidim (which just about covers ALL OF THEM) who grow their payos long, shouldnt be?

Nitei Gavriel says the exact opposite. That the source refered to says this is where the Arizal says DONT CUT.

The point is there are many Paths to G-d and Chabad is one of them, but its NOT the only one and i feel thats how many of them think, especially the Baal Teshuvas that only know Chabad and never took the time to search out.

You tell me to start learning.

The question is when are we finished learning?

I can admit that I am no Talmud Chachum but Iy"H I might be one in old age.

You post is full of ego, and I will assume you are a Lubavitcher.

At May 20, 2008 at 4:54:00 PM EDT, Blogger Eli said...

I have not personally read the 'spark of chassidus' refered to, but it sounds like a prat and lo-klall, i.e. 'anyone who grows their payos long obviously cant think they are following the Arizal' with regards to peyot...

At May 21, 2008 at 11:57:00 AM EDT, Blogger Long Beach Chasid said...

I thought it was assumed that we were only talking about payos. I apologize if I made it sound like I thought it was anything outside of those bounds.

It just offends me with my limited torah knowledge that A group of Chassidim could say so blatantly in their Chumash that chassidim who claim they grow long payos following the Arizal are wrong.

What other group of Chassidim had short payos?

Did the baal shem tov have long payos what bout the Maggid?


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