Weekly Dvar Torah: A Chassidishe Month

This week we celebrate the birth, and we commemorate the Yartzait, of the Mitteler Rebbe. We also celebrate the wedding of our Rebbe. These are among many other dates in the month of Kislev that make the month of Kislev a Chassidishe month.

What was the contribution of the Mitteler Rebbe to Chassidus?

The Tzemach Tzedek said of his father in law, the Mitteler Rebbe, that if you would cut his finger, instead of blood running Chassidus would flow. Such was the intensity with which the Mitteler Rebbe lived Chassidus.

The Mitteler Rebbe took the deepest concepts of Chassidus and explains them in depth and with so much detail, that every mind is able to comprehend its lofty G-dly concepts.

What was the idea? That a limited human mind should be able to connect with the infinite G-d not only on a level of blind faith, but that the brain should understand and relate to G-dliness on a down to earth human level.

This was a major breakthrough in Jewish understanding, as explained in the Hayom Yom, that until Chassidus came around, there were different schools of thought in Judaism.

The school of Mussar, which taught that the lowly world is not a good match with G-dliness, since worldly matters are all about the lowly creatures and their self-centered desires, and when indulging in one’s own pleasures one cannot connect with G-d. Therefore one must disconnect from materialism and one’s bodily needs. According to Mussar the physical world is not a good thing and should be rejected.

Then there is the school of Chakirah, Jewish philosophy, which takes a person to high lofty levels of studying G-d and G-dliness. According to Chakirah, one should rise above the materialistic world and fly high with spirituality.

Chassidus teaches that one can and should remain with both feet on the ground, while at the same time realize that everything in this world is meant to be used to serve Hashem. We should not run from the world, but we should embrace it and use it. We are not to abandon the world and go flying high. There must be a fusion of G-dly spirituality and physical materiality.

Chassidus explains how one can see G-d in everything. When engaging the world, we see divine providence, and we see G-d’s hand in everything we do. At the same time, we should see how everything in this world has a G-dly purpose, and that it can and should be used to serve G-d.

This is extensively explained by the Mitteler Rebbe in great detail, he teaches how we are able to see from our own body and soul the process of how Hashem runs the world. There is a very detailed process, and the Rebbe explains it in a way that every thinking mind can comprehend.

That’s why the Mitteler Rebbe wished upon himself that whenever two people meet, their discussion should be about lofty G-dly things, because by studying Chassidus G-d is not a removed abstract idea, but a mundane experience.

Our Rebbe took it to the final level. The Rebbe told us that as a result of his marriage, he became connected to us and we became connected to him (by him ultimately becoming Rebbe), and together he said we will bring the Geula.

How so? By breaking out of our comfort zone, we should not be looking for a comfortable life, albeit a Torah life, because then it is about us doing the right thing for ourselves and the benefits that come along with living a Torah life, materially and spiritually.

The Rebbe declared “Ufaratzta Yama Vakeidma Tzafona Vanegba”, breakout to the west, east, north and south, leave your comfort zone, go even to a place like Charan, the most materialistic place, the place of Lavan the deceiver, a place that seems to be anathema to G-d, and find G-dliness even there.

After all, G-d created everything. Nothing in this world came about by itself, so there must be a G-dly purpose in everything and every place in the world. We cannot write anything off as G-d-less.

But this can only happen if we don’t focus on ourselves and our spiritual desires and benefits, we must go out and do whatever we can to fulfill G-d’s desire to make for Him a place in this lowly world.

We must expose the Oneness of G-d, we must show how G-d is in everything without exception. This is the goal of the Rebbe’s work in which he included us all.

Just like Yaacov, who after fulfilling his mission in Charan, came out with an army of children who built the Jewish nation, and with wealth that contained all the G-dly sparks, so too we shall merit to see the conclusion of our mission, with the coming of Moshiach and the complete redemption NOW!

Have a Chassidishe Shabbos, Lechaim,
Gut Shabbos

Rabbi Yosef Katzman