Tuesday, February 12, 2008

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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.

27 comments:

SatmarTC said...

we are a group of Yungeleit learning Chassidus twice a week
Chassidus is giving me definetely a different davenen ,a geshmak in learning and let me see things in a different dimension
I would reccomend anyone to learn chassidus (not in your own)with a Magid Shiur boki in Chassidus

CC said...

Missionaries.
Revolution?
Same old.The mini revolution will be when Chbdskers will be able to say The Rebbe zatsa''l, first sign of normalcy.
I cringe when I read the typical Lubavitch blessing 'may Hashem and The Rebbe'' by them the aybeshter and the Rebbe are on equal footing.
Wonder if they see this 'mini' avodoh zoro in their study of chsides.Actually even the Rebbe in his famed comment that a Rebbe is 'kavyochol vos hot zech areingeshtelt in a guf' found no source for it in chsides.

Anonymous said...

The reason for this is very apparent. Chabad is much less a demagogic threat, for the reason I will let you guess on your own. The original Chabad Chassidus, based on utilizing YOUR OWN intellect, focusing on the Ribeyney Shel Eylom - not on "Reb Cheikel" to burn within you - and most importantly - as the Alter Rebbe says - not to let dimyonos shuv take hold of your brain, this original derech is currently being revived by those within Lubavitch who came to realize that trying to stick with the old mindset of promoting individuals has been rejected and outdated.

The time for change has come (v'hazeman geromo) and the only solid Oysgetretener Veg is the one that was conceived by the Alter Rebbe and passed on by the Memale Mokeymov Sheleachrov which is: Lernen Chassidus Alibeh D’Nafshey and taking the long short way to Ahavoh and Yiroh and not be distracted by demagoguery and movement promotion.

schneur said...

Is this aa publicity fluff piece masqurading as editorial comment ?
You bring not a shred of factual evidence (ie interviews, printed amterial, documentation dates names etc) to support your claims. Tis is not much different than the favorite Chabad publicity piece that there are over 100,000 Chabad followers in the world. Any evidence ?
I think I could write a better documented piece about CH young people who are studying things other than maamorim most of the time...

Anonymous said...

Tziggy
You should really learn more chassidut because I don't see any influence on you.
While you are at it LEARN a yiddesh vort.Anything.To much parroting of Ramba'm and Chitas leaves your brain in a sorry state.This blog is proof

Anonymous said...

as an avrech living in eretz yisroel, i am well aware of the widespread learning of chassidus chabad (though to call it a revolution is highly exagerated!)
however i do not know of ONE yungerman who has become a chabadnik!
the reason given is that chabadniks are on the whole not very nice people!!

Anonymous said...

Schneour
Host andekt America!
This whole blog is an attempt at a fluff piece

The Bray of Fundie said...

Could this happen in America? I'm not sure. ... In Eretz Yisroel it's happening more and more; Bochurim learning Chassidus (Chabad) in an organized and serious fashion, ... There Bochurim feel free to explore other avenues, since they're away from home

Unless you are talking about AMERICAN bochurim in EY I think that you err badly. My impression is that Chredim in Isreal are under much greater pressure to conform to their own kraizen and under much greater scrutiny at all ages than here in America.

Anonymous said...

Can one become a chosid (i.e. refine one's middos and sechel through Toras Admurei Chabad), without being mekushor to the Rebbe? I would appreciate your thoughts.

Friendly Anon

The Bray of Fundie said...

Which Rebbe?

Chabad had 7. I'd think that anyone who learns the various seforim is automatically mekushor to that Rebbe.

Anonymous said...

if bray is correct, why bother making the change at all? they can "stay on the sidelines, adapting most of Toras & Minhogei Chabad to their lives, but maintaining their outward appearance and customs".

Friendly

Anonymous said...

A cousin who was in Toras Emes in Y"m used to teach chassidus to some guys from chassidishe yeshivos who started bringing more and more friends until it became a nightly shiur. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Hirshel
the Rebbes rotzan is that yiden should learn learn Chassidus even they will never have no attachment to Chabad whatsoever, as the parsha of Hagoan Hachosid Reb Mendel Vechter Yochiach,

Win some Lose some said...

Anyone who has been to Crown Heights in recent years knows that there is a tremendous problem with alienated youth from Chabad homes, a crises that afflicts all Orthodox communities at the present time. Many youngsters from fine Chabad families, both BTS and FFBs are going off the derech.

At the same time, there have always been inquiring minds from outside of Chabad that have wanted to learn Tanya in depth and for that they need the best Rebbeim that Chabad can offer.

It is not surprising that Chasidim fun andere kreizen want to learn Tanya which is one of the central sifrei hachasidus. That there are also yungerleit and bochrim from "Litvishe yeshivas" who want to learn mnore about Chasidus, Chabad and Kabbalah is not surprise either because the student bodies of the Litvishe yeshivas of today are not made up of staright and narrow "pure Litvaks" of which there are few left today.

Most talmidim in Litvishe yeshivas today come from homes where there are parents or grandparents who had a connection with Eastern European Chasidishe life.

So this is nothing to kvel about, because while on the one hand it may "appear" that Chabad is "winning some" yet it is very well known that they are also "losing some" at the same time.

Just let's be objective!

Hirshel Tzig said...

That's a silly statement; making me be objective when it comes to speaking about the outreach to Chassidim that many Mashpi'im do.

Anonymous said...

in truth Chbad are losing less of their kids than are other groups and 'kreisan'.
it is also noteworthy that most of the problems are not from children of shluchim but rather from those living in strife ridden C.H.!!

Win some Lose some said...

hirshel tzig said: "That's a silly statement; making me be objective when it comes to speaking about the outreach to Chassidim that many Mashpi'im do."

Dear hirshel: For anyone who follows your blog it is well known and very obvious that you have a very wide vision and a global grasp of matters, so it's funny that you are defending just this one post with its reference to "...outreach to Chassidim that many Mashpi'im do."

My comments were meant to be more general, in response to you harping on the glories of Chabad in this post, which you and Chabad are fully and justly entitled to do. But at the same time, since your blog (not just this or that post) deals with or at least tries to deal with the totality of the gantze velt, kol ha'olam kulo, it was in that spirit that it needs to be pointed out that while Chabad is doing great work all the time, and doing outreach as well as inreach as this post points out so admirably, it IS vital for YOU, as the host of this blog, always to be as objective as possible, which you do at certain junctures.

So that in this case, when you were were kvelling, it was no avleh to point out that there is a lot more going on in the over-all velt of Chabad, some of it problematic, such as what to do with the Chabad youngsters who are hanging out in Crown Heights itself so aimlessly and in some cases leading to big problems that neither they, their families, Chabad or Klal Yisroel needs.

When certain doctors are successful with certain treatments, it does not mean that the patients they lost are not part of the over-all picture about their work. All the neshomas are important, and it is not just Chabad that does this. Most Haredim boast about "Kiruv" but at the same time they face one of the greatest "youth at risk" and "families at risk" and "singles at risk" makkos that they are unable to explain, deal with or take under control.

So objectivity is healthy for everyone!

schneur said...

tzig,
Interested in your comments and feelings about the tremendous growth in Israel of the Breslover movement.
By the way Tanya and other seminal seforim of Chabad chassiduth were always studied by serious Chagas people even in Hungary. Note that the last edition of the Tanya kaddisha pub. in Europe was printed in Munkatch (probably not designed for Tashkent). And this had nothing to do with becoming a mekusher. After all ,they (Chagas) accept the Baal hatanya as a talmid of the Maggid, its Chabad who ignores the contribution of the schools started by the other talmidim.
For Chabad of today I strongly recommend the books of a great 19th century rav Rabbi Samson R. Hirsch. many of these works will give teens in Chabad clarity of purpose as to God's will in this world.By the way you can read Rabbi Hirsch with out going to Berlin University and visa versa.

Nochum said...

I don't see the growth amongst the Heimishe segments.The heimishe community has natural increase and there would be a proportionate increase in Chabad too.
I do believe that there is an increased focus in the Modern Orthodox crowd.
Breslov, though has made amazing inroads amongst the Heimishe, and all other segments.My own cousin a regular, albeit a bit of a frumak Litvishe yungerman became a Breslover and there is are many, many others.The huge annual Uman trip showcases it.

Benny said...

So, anyway,I clicked on the link....
They are paying these kids to 'learn chassides'!!
Also, Rabbi Offen chpt hispa'ales that the boys learn on the level of a Chabadsker yeshiva!Look, with all due respect,even Lubavitchers claim that 'they also learn', nobody uses the standard of learning in Lubavitcher yeshivas as a measuring yard.(There are reasons for it.Many of the boys are from newly religous homes etc.)
Whatever.Stam a puff piece.

Anonymous said...

Schneur

Hirsch didn't stop Kissinger from leaving the fold,

Btw; Hirsch could be great but his shitos in Achdus Hashem and emuna btora is far from chasidic shitos that is integrated in todays mainstream charadie Jewry.

Guravitzer said...

"For Chabad of today I strongly recommend the books of a great 19th century rav Rabbi Samson R. Hirsch."

And for Chabad of yesterday you would have recommended Moses Mendelsohn...

Anonymous said...

"nobody uses the standard of learning in Lubavitcher yeshivas as a measuring yard."

benny,
lets start with this.
http://haoros.com/
browse a bit

Anonymous said...

To me, it's nothing more than the Blind leading the Blind.

Trust me, Hashem doesn't give a hoot about your strange clothing, sidecurls in rollers at night, crzy fur hats, and all the other shtus. He cares about how one treats his fellow. And so far, I've never been overly impressed with any group of frummies out there.

Eli said...

''Hirsch didn't stop Kissinger from leaving the fold, ''


''And for Chabad of yesterday you would have recommended Moses Mendelsohn...''


Wonderful 'pearls ' of wisdom!

Should I list the different 'tse'tsoim' who are not religous??

Now R'Shamshon Refoel Hirsh is compared to Mendelson?

What do they do your guys heads in 'yeshiva'??

Guravitzer said...

No, in the mind of shneur they are comparable.

Anonymous said...

ELI
You are not getting the point, this was not a pishen contest who has more frie outs,it was a response to Schneur's recomendation
BTW the anti Slifkin people as R' Moshe Shapiro claim that Hirsch is not charadie in his views.