In the past few weeks there have been many discussions about the “Derech” of Lubavitch, the Rebbe’s Hashkafa, etc., especially in contrast with other factions in the Frum world.
The discussion, unfortunately, brought out some negative thoughts, feelings, and opinions by some, but at the same time, it gave others the opportunity to stand up for our Derech, our Chinuch, and most of all our Rebbe.
With all that said, I would like to point out something which I feel was overlooked in both podcasts from Rabbi Lichtenstein (Disclaimer: I only listened to the second one).
The point I would like to make is as follows: The Rebbe’s Chinuch isn’t just Ahavas Yisrael and saving the Jewish world from assimilation. It is so much more than that, and I feel that more notice has to be made of this. Walking away from last podcast, the Maskana that many came away with was that Chabad puts Ahavas Yisrael before Torah, and the Litvisher put Torah before Ahavas Yisrael.
This way of putting it does not do justice to either Shita. Are we to say that all Litvisher doing Chesed full time are looked down upon by the Litvisher world? And are we really suggesting that in Chabad all that is taught in our Yeshivos and schools are the basics of Yiddishkeit which they right away go out and spread to the world? Unfortunately, this is the sentiment that many feel about Lubavitch (and even between us, people feel this way at times).
Chassidus Chabad is not just an outreach program. Chassidus Chabad is the ultimate Derech in Avodas Hashem. which is seen in every aspect of a Chasid’s life, in their Davening, learning, Ahavas Yisrael, Emuna, and Mesiras Nefesh (Mesiras Haratzon).
I don’t believe there will be many Chiddushim mentioned here, I think we should take a minute to clear our thoughts and re-examine what the Rebbe’s Chinuch truly is:
The Chinuch of Chassidus Chabad, and especially emphasized by the Rebbe, is Dirah B’tachtonim. Dirah B’tachtonim – that revealing in every person, place and thing in this world the Godliness within, that “Ein od Milvado.” it is all Hashem. As we see with Yidden that we all have a Neshama – a “Chelek Eloka Mimaal Mamash,” a literal piece of Hashem. This is our mission.
Chassidus shows us that everything is all part of Hashem’s master plan. Every idea and concept in Yiddishkeit and in the world all play a part in the greater scheme of things. For example, A Yid – is a revelation of Elokus in a physical body. Torah – Hashem’s Chochmah; The blueprints for the world and the way Hashem’s intellect becomes accessible to the human brain. Mitzvos – are meant to be done specifically with physical object, using them to fulfil hashem’s Ratzon.
Yetzias Mitzraim, Matan Torah, the Mishkan, the Nevieim, Malchus Beis Dovid, the Beis Hamikdash, Galus and all the Nisyonos and hardships that come along, Teshuva, Tzaddikim, and ultimately Geulah – Moshiach are all part of this one idea – Dirah b’tachtonim i.e. Ein od milvado.
When one looks into it (especially with the Rebbe’s point of view) there is nothing in Yiddishkeit and (Lehavdil) in all of history that isn’t part of this amazing goal of transforming the Tachtonim into a Dirah for the Aibershter.
As we get closer to Moshiach’s imminent arrival, the world (including the Jewish world) has been getting darker, even more Tachton, and the need to fight this darkness strengthens, and similarly, the need to ready the world for Moshiach through Dirah b’tachtonim also gets stronger.
All throughout history, we have been making our way towards this goal, since the creation of the world all the way up to our day and age, there has been ups and downs, but each period has brought us closer to realizing hashem’s taavah, our tachlis – Dirah B’achtonim.
[Each generation in history had its Nossi, its leader. Be it the Melech, Navi, Shofet, Tana, Reish Galusa, Gaon, or the foremost Rishon or Achron. Through the Nossi Hador we were taught what is the Avodah demanded from us at a particular period of time, and the Nossi hador as the Neshama Klolis passed on to us all the chayus and koach necessary to fulfill our mission.
Moshe Rabeinu had his generation with its challenges and its functions, the Shoftim and Nevieim had theirs, Dovid Hamelech, Shlomo Hamelech, Mordechai, Hillel Hazaken, Rabbi Yehuda Hanossi, Rav, Rabah, Rav Saadya Gaon, Rav Hai Gaon, the Rambam, etc. There are more Tzaddikim in each Generation, and many were leaders of specific factions of Klal Yisroel, but here we are discussing the mission of each generation which was introduced by the Nossi Hador].
Penimiyus Hatorah has always been an important part of Yiddishkeit, but for many Tekufos of Jewish history, it was kept around only be Yechidei Segulah, and even though its effect and existence in Niglah d’Torah was always profound, and it is the inner lining of every part of Yiddishkeit, this was not known and not taught to most of Klal Yisrael.
The Baal Shem Tov came and brought Chassidus to the world, Chassidus – Penimiyus Hatorah – The meaning and Chayus behind everything in Yiddishkeit.
[The simple explanation for the timing was after the Jewish world being almost entirely destroyed by “tach v’tat” (the Cossack massacres 1648-49), followed by the total disappointment and depression after their hopes and belief in Shabsai Tzvi were dashed, the winds of secularization and kfirah brought on by the renaissance in Europe, and the growing rift between the learned Yidden and the simple Yidden that would have ultimately driven them away from Yiddishkeit entirely.]
The Baal Shem Tov took Chassidus and began spreading it to everyone, not just to a few Tzaddikim Nistarim in a cellar, but rather the Baal Shem Tov introduced Chassidus to the masses.
The Chayus in Torah, the Preciousness of the Yiddishe neshama, the importance of davening – having a positive relationship with Hashem, and the Koach of Teshuva, this is what Chassidus brought to the world, and within a century and a half, these themes have permeated every part of the Jewish community, just compare how a shtetl looked pre Baal Shem Tov and then 100 years later.
Then came Chassidus Chabad, two generations later the Alter Rebbe explained that this idea of Chassidus is not meant just to make an atmospheric change, but rather it is meant to take over the yid and yiddishkeit entirely, and in order to do so, we must delve deeper into pnimiyus hatorah and educate ourselves to be entirely made-over by Chassidus, and how to get it done.
the Alter Rebbe began teaching this Derech (even though there was a Hisnagdus that he is teaching too much) and it spread slowly but surely to many crowds, but at this time the main mission was to spread Chassidus until it becomes accepted by everyone.
Throughout the years, there were always Chassidim that their job was to spread Chassidus (and Lubavitch always was from the strongest warriors for Yiddishe Chinuch and Jewish welfare etc.) but the main focus was to make Chassidus a way of life for those ready to become Chassidim and serve Hashem as best as possible.
As time went one and we came closer to Geulah, especially after the holocaust in the modern world we found ourselves, the focus shifted to a new frontier – the streets, the unknowing lost Jewish souls that need to be given yiddishkeit. At this final stage, Dirah B’tachtonim takes the form of Tachtonim Mamash – “Tachton, she’ein Tachton l’matah heimenu” (so low, that there is nothing lower), this is where our Avoda is needed today.
And this point I feel needs to be clarified:
Dirah B’tachtonim demands that a Chossid works on him/herself to transform themselves entirely, a bochur following the Rebbe’s Chinuch learns every free moment that he has, is Baki in half of Shas at least, can quote you a Shaagas Aryeh, knows the ins and outs of Chassidus and is swimming in the Rebbe’s torah. A Bochur isn’t learning a few Halachos so he will know how to keep Mitzvos on Shlichus, a bochur learns because that is his mission – Dirah B’tachtonim in his life.
A Bochur goes on Mivtzoim on Friday and ultimately goes on Shlichus not because he came to the Maskana that Ahavas Yisrael overrules torah, rather because his mission is to do what is needed from him to accomplish Dirah B’tachtonim! and that will be by spreading Yiddishkeit and Chassidus, his Ahavas Yisrael is not dryly based off Shulchan Aruch, rather it is natural to love to another Yid by understanding and appreciating his Neshama and how precious he is to Hashem.
And not to overlook (Chas V’shalom) Chassidei Chabad’s Dikdukim in halacha and Minhag also come from our Chinuch from the Rebbe and Chassidus that everything in torah being that they are Hashem’s Ratzon are precious and true.
Look around Lubavitch, at our boys and girls, at our Bochurim, and our young couples, our parents, and our Eltere Chassidim. We are the Rebbe’s people, The Rebbe’s army. Our davening and learning, our Emuna and Bitachon, our Ahavas Yisrael and care for another, our dedication and devotion are unbeatable! And therefore, our effect on the Jewish world and our part in bringing the Geulah is incomparable. (this isn’t a petty competition about who is greater, this is a discussion which Derech is the most correct).
The critics will bring up a good point, that by looking around, this is not always the image that we will see, and they are right in that regard, but this does not weaken the point. The Rebbe’s Army is the best army in the world, the techniques, the ammo, the training, and the planning and strategies, and as such, even when the soldiers misbehave and go against their training and their studies, they still are (at least in potential) part of the best army in the world.
That being said, it is up to us to live up to what it means to be Lubavitcher Chassidim – The Rebbe’s Chassidim, let’s not take our failures and build our Derech around it, Rather let us see what our derech is, and work our way towards it. We are 25 years after Gimmel Tammuz, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Rebbe as our Nossi gives us the Koach to Live up to our position as the Rebbe’s Chassidim.
[The Rebbe explains that when one sees himself “Kachagavim” like a small insignificant creature, then that is the way others will look at you as well, we have to stand proud as the Rebbe’s Chassidim, and spread the Rebbe’s message to the world. Unfortunately, one of the shluchim in last week’s podcast had a hard time explaining that he is a Shliach of the Rebbe, my message to him is “Chazak V’ematz” don’t be embarrassed by your belief that you are a shliach even after Gimmel Tammuz, and even when an Olam’isher questions you, stay proud of who you are – the Rebbe’s Shliach.]
The Rebbe’s vision isn’t a Chiddush added unto traditional Judaism, rather it is Yiddishkeit, the Rebbe teaches us and gives us the Koach (as a Neshama Klolis) to know exactly what Hashem wants and how he wants it done, and how we should go ahead with it.