Monday, November 19, 2007

Chassidim of Torah


Mayn Leben's Geshikhte is a book of memoirs published in 1928 in Petach Tikvah written by a Sheychet from Bessarabia/Moldova named Reb Pinches Dov Goldenstein who somehow became somewhat of a Lubavitcher Chossid. (To be a Lubavitcher Chossid living that far away from Lubavitch was somewhat uncommon, being that there plenty of Rebbes nearby, but there were many others.) By that I mean that it doesn't seem like Lubavitch and Chassidus Chabad became part of him, but rather he traveled to the Lubavitcher Rebbes when necessary instead of traveling to the Tolner or Tchernobler, or Trisker Rebbe who were all geographically much closer to him. It also doesn't seem to play that much of a role later on in life, meaning there's no mention of the Rebbe or Chassidus. He writes of the time he traveled to Lubavitch to consult with the Tzemach Tzedek about his Parnossoh, since he was just finishing his Shechitah training and wanted a blessing to get a shtelle somewhere. Years later he traveled to the Rebbe MaHaraSH and was there during the week of Sheva Brochos for one of the children.

At that time he once hid in the Rebbe's house to observe the Rebbe the Tzemach Tzedek's behavior and his daily schedule, and saw that all he does is sit and learn! He sits locked up all day bent over Seforim and when he needs his meals to be served he bangs on the table and the Meshamesh brings his food. The same happens when he's done, the MaSHBaK comes and removes the dirty dishes. There were no Tishen and there were no Seudos, thus there was no Shrayim to be had. The only time you saw the Rebbe was when he said Chassidus, or if you were lucky enough to get a Yechidus, otherwise the Rebbe was locked in his room learning and writing Tshuvos and Maamorim. The Maamorim were profound and difficult, especially if you were just hearing it in person. It was almost as if the simple Yid, the one who Chassidus was made for, had nothing to find in Lubavitch, the HQ for the torchbearers of the derech HaBaal Shem Tov !!

When Reb Pinchos Goldenstein traveled home he went on foot, not having the money for a ride in a wagon. In his native Rumania he met a group of Chassidim who were returning from a trip, possibly from their Rebbe and hitched a ride with one of them. They asked him where he was coming from, and he told them "from Lubavitch." Chabadsker? What do you want with the Kalte Litvaks those Chabadskers, the big Farshteyers that they are, and the Tiffe Chassidus that they're into. Do they know how to drink like us? come with us to Tolne or Trisk and we'll show you how it's done. He politely declined their offer, but we can learn alot from that little anectode. Chassidus Chabad wasn't originally formed for the Anoshim Peshutim, or at least they had a difficult time "making it" there. The AR was the only one who wouldn't belittle the Lomdim. Besides for the Chadorim the AR set up and maintained, which required that you be Boki in all realms of Torah, there was also the added Chassidus, the AR's Torah that you had to learn and know. That doesn't allow for simple folk. The Mitteler Rebbe's Chassidus only made it more difficult. So we can see from that how throughout the generations Chassidus underwent another transformation, at least as far as making it less difficult to become a Chossid.

Food for thought when you sit down to your next Farbrengen.......

27 comments:

lost in the past said...

And your point is? It has nothing to do with Lubavitch today.

I always felt that Lubavitch was the middle, the bridge, between the Chassidim & Misnagdim. Not any more however: Lubavitchers become Peilishers, un Peilishers were wiped out in the war. What's left? Hungarians & Litvaks, rachmona litzlan.

lost in the past said...

As I said one before: Today's "Chabad" is the amolige "Chagas," today's "Chagas" is the amaolige Litvak, today's litvak is the amolige maskil & todays maskil the the amolige reforemer and todays reform is a WASP...

SDR said...

OH how the might has fallen! Today's CHABAD is today's CHURBAN

Anonymous said...

v eineinu sirena

Anonymous said...

and today's Lakewood is today's Sodom.....

SDR said...

If more than 5,000 people sitting and learning is your definition of Sodom then you obviously have a problem!

Yechezkel Shraga said...

Nuch ah great post by this blog.

Gevaldig

Anonymous said...

the article didn't mention anything about the change in PEOPLE who have been part chassiduss, rather a change in what the DOCTRINE (i.e. the rebbes and their chassiduss) expected of its followers,
the commenter's seem not to be able to differentiate between people and doctrine.
i mention this not only in regard to the comments posted here but to many of the comments I've seen posted by many anti chabad people, when you want to knock a derech you need to knock the DERECH not the people who fail(ed) to follow it.

Isaac Wertheimer from Vos Iz Neias said...

Isaac Wertheimer publishes Vos Iz Neias. See The Man Behind VIN

Mottel said...

Distance wouldn't have played so much of a factor as the region -Kremenchug for example was far from close to Lubavitch. East Ukraine was Chabad's domain, but Western Ukraine, moving into Romania, was obviously not.

Of interest though, the Frierdiker Rebbe writes that when the Alter Rebbe made plans to move to Eretz Yisroel, he journeyed as far as Mogilev on the Dnester, a town next to the Moldavian border. There he spent a year, before returning home .
From his stay, however, there was a group of yidden who came close to Chabad and the Alter Rebbe's derech in avodah. When the Mitler Rebbe (if I recall) came back years later, those shiach to Chabad could still be found.

As well Solomon Schechter came from Chassidei Chabad despite being born in Romania.

kreyn eights said...

'Sheychet'
Who's mechila are you trying to butter up by using the Chbsker pronounciation?You were not taught this way and most blog readers don't say it that way.So is it Berl CH you are trying to leck up too?Yuck

Anonymous said...

http://www.col.org.il/pics/nf_0471_178150.jpg

friendly anonymous said...

Lubavitch is mostly about hiskashrus rather than about chassidus; I agree with Lost in the Woods

U' N' said...

Yes, amolige Chabad suffered from snagification of Chassidus and turning it into a [pseudo]scientific discipline which it wasn't meant to be, and bringing elitism to a new level. This was critized with various degrees of sharpness by contemporaries.

n said...

is this available in english?

Mottel said...

Uber 'Umni' (u'n'), do I sense a change in chabad for the 'good' coming from you? i.e. would that mean that now that Chabad chassidius has lost its '[pseudo]scientific' it has become better?

U' N' said...

mottel, say it in your native language and you may be understood.

many things in today's chabad are takeh better then times ago.

Guravitzer said...

Say rather, Chabad Chasidus welcomed the simple Jew and expected of him to become better, not to remain simple bemuvon limmud hatorah and avodas hetefiloh. One of the places this is evident is the FRs description of the good old times, the days of the Tzaddikim Nistorim, in his Zichronos - the red haired nistor who transformed a town did so by both building on their esteem for lomdim, and by teaching them Torah from the Alef Bais up.

Hirshel Tzig said...

N

it's just been published by the Yiddish Book Center in Massachusetts. We're looking to have even that. You want it English?!

Mottel said...

What would my native language be? It seems by your response that you understood my perfectly well.

chabakuk elisha said...

HT,
I think that it's been translated, but it has yet to be published. N, you can check with Y. Stroh about the status of the translation - he's friendly with the translator.

Anonymous said...

Tzig
Yas was a big center of chabad chasidim in the time of the Apter Rov ,there was some friction between the Apter and Chasidie Chabad.

Hirshel Tzig said...

Yes, it was. Keyodua the story with Reb Moshe Yitzchok of Yasi.

U' N' said...

Which Apter Rov ?

Anonymous said...

How many do you know? there was only 1 in the world of chasidim,the Ohev Yisroel

U' N' said...

There also was Or leShomayim (R' Meir from Apta z"l) and a host of rabbonim that weren't rebbes.

yoshe kalb said...

Don't forget R' Avrohom Schneersohn,the FR's shver and Rav Tzirelson,who lived in Kishinev.