(Artwork: Ilan Block)
Why is Chassidut Important for our Generation?
BY RABBI MIKI YOSEFI
Asking why Chassidut is important for our generation is like asking why pure air is important for breathing.
Chassidut reveals the deep soul of the Torah. It’s like meeting someone for the first time and forming a superficial impression of the person. One day you get to know him on a deeper level, and you merit to see how wonderful he is, how special he is, and you realize what an injustice it was to judge him by his outward appearance. Chassidut reveals to us what incredible light, what incredible spiritual content there is inside the Torah. When you speak to a person’s superficial senses, only their superficial senses will absorb the message, but when you speak to their soul, their soul will receive it. When a person learns Chassidut, and allows the words of the Torah of Chassidut to enter him, his soul is moved.
The modern world unceasingly offers our generation temptations. Religious Jews want to enjoy the Torah, but they also want to enjoy the pleasures of the world. But the modern world bites at anything that has sanctity in it, until it is very difficult to deal with these temptations and remain attached to the Torah. The response of Chassidut to this dilemma is that man must realize that this war between Torah and the general culture is, in fact, a sham. Through the light of Chassidut, man realizes that the Torah and its commandments shine with a precious light, and so the attractions and temptations of the world pale in comparison.
Those who have not yet connected to the Torah of Chassidut should try to taste it. Like any new flavor, it takes at least three months of practice – three months filled with stories of the Chassidim, its teachings and conversations, its niggunim (melodies) that penetrate the soul – in order to truly absorb its sweetness. But there is no need to convince anyone. A Jew in whom the light of Chassidut shines, a Jew whose life has been changed by Chassidut, will be the best marketer of Chassidut in the world – thanks to the soul that shines within him and which reveals its light to the entire world.
● This essay originally appeared in Hebrew in the weekly newspaper Karov Elecha.
Rabbi Miki Yosefi writes a weekly column for Karov Elecha and teaches at several educational institutions throughout Israel.