Chassidus Perspective

Deeper Than Teshuva

Being an ‘only son’ is so much more than always obeying, or catching ourselves when we forget and slip; it’s about the state of unity typical of father-son, even where no wishes were ever expressed in the first place.

Rosh Hashana: Coronating the King

Teshuva stems from the fact that, despite external conduct to the contrary, deep down we all desire to do Hashem’s Will and are bothered enough that it results in teshuva.

It’s only possible to feel guilty and repent if the king whose commands we’ve flouted is already king. Thus the prerequisite of teshuva is crowning Hashem as king.

 

The Path to Achdus

Every Jew has his unique advantage, an area where everyone else acknowledges his superiority, and that is why as a spiritual arev, a simple man being motzi a tzaddik actually does possess the more favorable dynamic.

The point is for the underlying oneness to translate into a reciprocal society, not ignoring worldly divisiveness, but tackling it and literally assisting each other on the basis of our true unified nature.

 

Chai Elul: When Hashem is Great

Comprehending G-dliness was now attainable within the framework of “a small book,” not just inside some incredible mind (‘expanding the hole’) or by compromising on the revelation (‘shrinking the elephant’). The ultimate kind of greatness is the ability to transcend space inside its very parameters.

Are We Divorced?

For a divorce to take hold, the woman must obtain the get outside of the husband’s property. How is it ever possible to find oneself outside of Hashem’s territory when His presence is everywhere?

We must remain aware that the ‘messenger’ isn’t actually responsible for our state of exile, and that the gentiles' spiritual source is actually aware that Hashem alone is responsible for our fate.

A Fruit Bearing Tree

There’s the lower sechel of practical behavior, like Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, and then there is the purer sechel of the theoretical discussions of the Gemara, which is deeper and higher.

What the amora truly meant by a ‘weak heart’ was that his midos weren’t on par with the level expected of him, and he therefore didn’t find it appropriate to engage in sechel, when the point was lacking.

Staying Out of Beis Din

We must focus during the day on Torah and mitzvos, only pausing during krias shma before sleeping to take stock. If that’s too hard, then it should be done once a week on Thursday night, or else once a month on erev rosh chodesh.

When we surpass our limitations, when we sit down and learn as if this is our full-time occupation, and we approach tefila and tzedaka with similar energy, then we aren’t subjected to din.

A Thought from Reb Levik

As children, when asked who our brachos were directed to, Abaye and Rava both replied that it was Hashem; Rava pointed at the roof, while Abaye went outside and gestured towards the heavens.

Just as the halacha always follows Rava, we must generally act within the parameters of nature and avoid relying on miracles; however, we must sometimes switch gears and rise to a higher level, to that of Abaye.

The Endless Voice

The differing eras during which these ideas appeared reflect a divinely pre-planned schedule, and are an expression of the never-ending quality of the “great voice.”

We must learn Torah and do mitzvos in a manner which penetrates the domem. Our heads understand, our hearts feel, but our ‘heels’ must also feel.

The Indestructible Suit

The first and second ‘garments’ were designed to be ‘ripped,’ since the first lacked our own input, while the second was constricted by our limitations.

It is this inseparable bond between these two templates which we are shown in a vision. The outcome of this exposure is that this ultimately becomes our actual nature, the third Beis HaMikdash becomes our reality.

Consolation and Mercy

If Hashem only related to us through chochma, we’d live in a flawless world, but that would just be G-dliness overruling our world’s properties. Dira b’tachtonim requires an initiative on our end, on our own terms.

Precisely because bina is overly occupied with sechel’s intricacies, the fact that everything has a counterpoint means that erring is likely. This is why there’s also a need for chochma, to be able to break through earthly limitations.

Who is Stronger?

On the one hand a vow is associated with lowliness, yet it invests holiness within an ordinary item. Restrictions may be a product of darker times, yet through instituting and observing them, we can reach higher than when they weren’t necessary.

As time goes on we lose that connection and stiffen, but that also imbues us with newfound strength, and the ‘descent’ into a state of mateh proves at the same time to be an ‘ascent’.

When to Speak Up

Even if we’re correct, the Torah still asserts that one should act she’lo lishmah in anticipation of doing it for the proper reasons in the future, so why shame him for doing the right thing?

We must also avoid falling into Zimri’s trap of attempting to diminish Torah’s severity out of concern for the fate of those who sin. The Rambam condemns those who avoid linking tragedies to particular transgressions, never mind those who react by claiming that these actions are permitted!

Hiskashrus Today: Part 2

Even if you can’t be a shliach for 24 hours a day, be a shliach for some amount of time. But you must be a real shliach during that time.

Everyone must take upon himself to do mivtzoim, to work on various things like spreading chassidus or spreading yiddishkeit… No matter what your job is, you must know that you’re a soldier, there’s no ‘I have no energy today’.

It’s not our business to think about the things that Hashem does, and to offer explanations for them; our job is to know one thing, “yotzei l’milchemes beis dovid”, to enter the Rebbe’s army, and that’s all.

Questions often come from a lack of knowledge. If we’d learn the maamorim with the sichos we have from the Rebbe, and especially if we’d learn the igros kodesh which the Rebbe wrote, then we can see the Rebbe’s approach to various things from those letters.

It’s not really a matter of quantity, it could even be ten minutes, but those ten minutes must be done right. Learn something of the Rebbe’s Torah every day.

 

Hiskashrus Today: Part 1

The majority of the young generation is excited about learning another sicha and another maamar… It’s the adults that come and confuse them with questions.

If we can speak of how a simple Jew is watching and is interested in seeing how his home is doing, how much more so that a tzadik, and especially a shepherd of Israel, is completely involved in what’s happening with the sheep of his flock.

How does one Jew care about all of these things? The answer is: The head, the soul, gives everything, and the head feels everything that’s happening in every limb, and that’s what matters to it.

A Luminous Home

Every spiritual act is limited by the person experiencing it, whereas mitzvos are where Hashem placed Himself, allowing Himself to be reached, and those are his quarters.

Some might argue that only our actions matter, and that there’s no need for chassidus and avoda; but in truth, davening physically from a siddur must be complemented by avoda.

 

In this World

Calev responded to their concerns by stating “lachmeinu heim,” they are our bread: Not only won’t we be consumed by this land, but, if Hashem wishes, we will consume it and turn it into a vehicle for holiness.

We cannot think that we can only transcend teva when we’re avoiding our everyday earthly lives, and that Torah’s instructions (particularly about integrity in business) fall by the wayside when we’re occupied with earning a living by natural means.

 

Connected Forever

Hashem didn’t want our subjugation to originate within ourselves, naaseh v’nishma, since that would mean our shibud would remain incomplete, and He therefore tilted the mountain and gave us no choice in the matter.

The biggest source of happiness is that Hashem chose us to this degree. This is the pinnacle of Matan Torah; beyond naaseh v’nishma, the biggest source of joy is from the absence of choice.

 

Double Subservience

Super-rational mitzvos like the para aduma can similarly be observed on an intellectual foundation without ever being understood. In this case, our kabalas ol, acting without understanding, isn’t predicated purely on Hashem’s authority but on our own sechel.

Nishma v’naaseh is putting ourselves and our opinions first, in the style of the Yevanim, while naaseh v’nishma places kabalas ol at the foundation of our actions and experiences.

 

Preparing for Matan Torah

Our souls are ordinarily confined within our bodies, no matter how refined those are; even the souls of tzaddikim gemurim are restricted by their bodies while vested there.

Hashem descended during Matan Torah, and likewise we must engage other Jews and empower them to observe Torah and mitzvos. We shouldn’t leave our bodies; we must receive the Torah in them.

 

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