Connectedness, Neo-Chassidus and The Woman’s Challenge

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7 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    Often our tank runs empty because it is neglected. Sometimes we fill it with the wrong things, the Kool Aid of gashmiyus that gives us that initial sugar rush but cannot possibly keep the engine running.
    ——————————
    Interesting, one of the issues I’ve heard raised concerning the neo-chassidus you describe is exactly the sugar rush analogy.

    I agree with your peer (actually I’ve argued for mentor) approach in many practical life areas, interesting is that our communities across the board seem to reject it (see earlier discussions on baalei batim – the across the board response seems to be to have “professionals” address the problems)

    KT

  2. eliyahu says:

    Nice article! Neo-chassidus is much more than just a look — I believe there are plenty of people (like myself) who look like typical Centrist Orthodox Jews, yet study and try to implement chassidic teachings. I don’t see it as a “joining a movement,” but rather a matter of learning and following the teachings of certain spiritually-oriented seforim.

    Such seforim are now abundantly available in English, from the invaluably comprehensive and encylopedic Jewish Spiritual Practices by Rabbi Buxbaum, to specific paths like the Bilvavi (available for free online), or the very accessible teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov on, among many other things, the importance of personal prayer. (Google “To taste the hidden light of Torah” to be taken to the relevant chapter of Likutei Eitzos).

    No matter how busy we are, with children or work or whatever, we can make efforts to infuse our lives with with love of Hashem, with enthusiasm for improving our spirituality and learning and observance and middos, whether through meditation or personal prayer or the repetition of pesukim (all of which have been practiced for ages). Organizations, shiurim, changes in outward appearance–these things might be nice, but they aren’t necessary. All that’s needed is to study and practice.

    Of course, having a friend we can discuss spiritual things is very important as well (as Rebbe Nachman teaches, “Talk over spiritual matters with your friends” — googling this will also lead you to the relevant chapter). The more articles like this one that appear, the more people will hopefully become comfortable in making the spirituality a topic of everyday conversation.

  3. Luba Penner says:

    Kudos to the author for the thought-provoking, and eliquenly delivered article. Great examples to illustrate the point. The analogy in the conclusion is superb!

  4. DavidF says:

    Very nicely done. Such a forum sounds like a great vehicle for inspiring and sustaining growth!

  5. Alexandra Fleksher says:

    joel rich, the novelty and success of Klal Perspectives is that it includes laymen (and a laywoman, that’s me, this past edition on the baal habayis)in joining the conversation of addressing those problems.

  6. Rivka Leah says:

    I don’t know if this is the proper forum to make a referral, but I would share that as a BT of 26 years or so, I’ve found the chaburahs of Rabbi Aryeh Nivin as well as a class taught by Devorah Yaffa Singer to be game changers for me. I call her class “hisbodedus for litvaks”.

    Essentially, both approaches offer tools to access a more tangible experience of H’, as well as a more authentic experience of ourselves as ovdei H’.

    Despite the academic bent of much of the readership here, I’ll go out on a limb to posit that for most people, an entirely cerebral approach to Torah will leave much to be desired.
    Each person will resonate with different teachers, but I think the success of neo-Chassidus points to an overwhelming desire for learning that, while it has an intellectual aspect, emphasizes the experiential as well.

    The success of such current teachers as Rav Itamar Schwartz, R. Lubinsky, R. Cable, and similar thinkers, shows that this hunger is growing. Most of those who are seeking this inspiration are not growing their payos, or taking on other external manifestations … They are just needing more than what’s in the standard diet of learning found in most yeshivos.

    I think rather than focus on the externals of the trend, we should pay attention to what underlies it – and appreciate it.

  7. Alexandra fleksher says:

    Rav Aryeh Nivin’s vaad was one mentioned at the panel. While my piece wasn’t intended to be a proper examination of neo – chassidism, I do believe the trend reflects a reactionary move towards more spirituality. Would be interesting to compare how and if the trend has made inroads into the more right-wing yeshivos vs. Y.U., etc.

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