The Future of Chabad Chassidus?
The venerable Mashpia Reb Itche Ofen farhering Bochurim in Chassidus Chabad. The Bochurim are part of a framework of Kolelim and Shiurim that teach Chassidus to Yungeleit and Bochurim from other Kreizen. Chassidus is a limud like Gemoroh Tosfos is, and the same attention is paid to itin Lubavitcher Yeshivos, including tests, shiurim, and Chavruses. Could this happen in America? I'm not sure. There seems to less of a demand for it here; people are quite content the way they are for the most part. In Eretz Yisroel it's happening more and more; Bochurim learning Chassidus (Chabad) in an organized and serious fashion, complete with Mashpi'im and Bechinos. There Bochurim feel free to explore other avenues, since they're away from home and without the pressures associated with being there. They can learn BiMokom SheLibom Chofetz, without worrying who's watching them and and who's looking where they're going. As someone who knows what it's like to have people hound you about where you're going, which Rebbe you're following and what you're learning I can sympathize with them, and have nothing but the greatest respect for them. I didn't have that difficult as some of them, so the admiration is even greater.
In E Yisroel today there's a revolution going on. Hundreds and hundreds of Bochurim and Yungeleit are learning Chassidus in groups of all sizes, which is something that didn't happen years ago, even when there were large groups of Bochurim leaving their respective Yeshivos and going over to Lubavitch. Part of the reason is the man holding his chin, who was once the Bochur instead of the organizer. Why that is I cannot say, but part of it is due to the fact that many that have drunk from the wells of Chassidus have shared what they have with their counterparts. They're the ones who went out and told their friends "Taamu U'R'oo Ki Tov, Farzoocht Vet Ihr Zehn az der Aybershter iz Gut!" Chassidus Iz Elokus, and everybody Chassidishe Bochur and Bochur Bichlal should also taste those waters. Among the Dati LeUmi and CharDa"lim the revolution is even greater; with nothing holding them back in the first place, and the inherent pull to the spiritual that many have going back to the early days of "Merkaz HaRav", the ground is quite fertile there. Farbrengens with marquee Mashpi'im happen quite regularly and entire Hesder Yeshivos are brought to Tomchei Tmimim to enjoy a Shabbos or Yoma DePagroh there. Chassidishe and Litvishe Yeshiva Bochurim have a little more of a difficult time with their Yeshivos, but they manage. After all, if Bochurim can sneak out to have a good time, why not to learn a shiur in Chassidus?
As far as them being the "future" of Chabad goes; I didn't mean the only future, but rather a significant part of the future. Every group enjoys variety, as long as they play by the rules. That's where radical Meshichisten go wrong, they make up their own rules. Throughout the years Chabad has enjoyed the influx of outsiders or the most part, and this may be no exception. However, now is not the 5720's, things are not how they once were. Then they came in droves, it was easy. Today a Bochur or Yungerman needs to have a very large dose of intestinal fortitude to make the change these days, with all that's going on, and no visible Rebbe either. Some do, even today, but many stand by the sidelines, adapting most of Toras & Minhogei Chabad to their lives, but maintaining their outward appearance and customs, especially those that come from Chassidishe families. They're Mekushar to Mashpi'im like Reb Itche Ofen, Reb Zalmen Gopin and Reb Chayim Sholem Deitsch and the Rebbe is their Rebbe, as are the previous Rabbeyim, but they can't take that last step. Those that do make the quantum leap have much to bring to the table.