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Unread 04-20-2016, 05:12 PM   #1
Col
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Question General knowledge of entire Chassidus, possible?

there's a question that bothered me for a long time: i doubt anyone can answer this, but i'm throwing it out.

the rebbe printed hundreds of seforim on chassidus, but it seems very difficult to get a basic working knowledge of any of them. by the time you finish a sefer like samach vov, you already forgot the beginning.

is there any practical method for average to accumulate significant knowledge in chassidus (not just to be familar with the concepts, but to actually know many maamorim)?

by the way mods, it might be time to refresh the smilies here, they look ancient!
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Unread 04-27-2016, 08:58 PM   #2
hishtatchus
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There seems to be three questions here:

1) Is there a Seder Halimud in general, and especially in Chassidus?

2) Is there an eitzah for zikaron, to remember what you learned so that it's not just familiarity with concepts but it becomes part of your knowledge?

3) What is the proper approach to learning the Rebbe's Torah?

If this is indeed the question, since it is more defined it's easier to find an answer.

The first two questions have many letters of the Rebbe, scattered through Igros Kodesh, that address it. From memory, here are some points:

- For Seder Halimud, the Rebbe says that an inyan should first be learned in general, and only then to delve deeper. So for example, for Samach-Vov, it might be worthwhile to first read through the Kitzur in the back of the new print so you have an overview of what the sefer is about. Then learn through the sefer once superficially, and then review it, aiming for a better understanding. Then go to certain maamarim that speak to you more, and learn them with the Mareh Mekomos. That's as far as learning one topic or inyan itself.

- Then there is Seder Halimud, as to which sefarim take priority. There too, the Rebbe writes in a few places that this depends on the person - some are attracted more to Chakira, etc. Still, some seforim do take priority, such as Tanya (beginning with Igeres Hateshuvah etc.), Kuntres Umaayan, some of the easier maamarim of the Frierdiker Rebbe. Obviously the idea is to start with the inyanim that speak more to improving midos and behavior, as the Alter Rebbe brings in Hilchos Talmud Torah, and this is necessary for both halacha and for inyanei mussar.

- As far as zikaron is concerned, the Rebbe gave some side eitzos, such as to switch topics if you are getting stressed with one topic. The Rebbe also many times referred people to Hilchos Talmud Torah of the Alter Rebbe, where he gives a seder for chazara for someone with a weak memory, to ensure that what they learned stays part of them. Also see the Mafteiach of Igros for "Shikcha" or "Zikaron."

- As far as an approach to the Rebbe's Torah, it's important to understand first what the inyan of the Rebbe is. The Rebbe is the Nasi Hador, and all of the hashpa'os and hamshachos of the generation come through the Rebbe, and specifically the Rebbe's Torah. We therefore need to have a hiskashrus to the Rebbe through learning his Torah. The ikar is to have some sort of kvius in the Rebbe's Torah. (To cover all of the Rebbe's sefarim is a separate project.)

There is a letter from the Rebbe to a girl, after Purim Chof-Hey, where she writes that she read the tochen ha'inyanim of a farbrengen, and understood it in general, but she didn't get all of the specifics. The Rebbe said that the sichos are said in a way that everyone should get the general idea, and then there are inyanim tailored to specific groups or individuals, so that everyone can get something from it. The Rebbe's Torah has something for everyone and for every situation.

The Rebbe also wrote to her that it is not an inyan to learn the Mareh Mekomos in order to understand the sichos, but rather that as you grow in your knowledge of Torah, your appreciation for the sichos will also increase.

These are just some general thoughts. It's probably a good idea in all of these areas to consult with a mashpia to get specific direction.
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Unread 04-28-2016, 03:16 AM   #3
Col
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hishtatchus, wow thanks for the longer answer!
i checked out the kitzurim in the new samech vov and in fact it's just what i was looking for - i had this volume but for some reason never noticed the kitzurim. if only they would have these available for the entirely of chassidus...

this brings me to the next question, is there any goal is knowing (at least basic familiarity) with all printed chassidus? (maybe at least all of the rebbe's chassidus?) or was it all printed so that we should have a big menu to choose from and choose what we like?
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Unread 05-01-2016, 04:54 AM   #4
hishtatchus
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There may not be kitzurim on each specific sefer at this point, but there is a way to put any Chassidus you learn in context. There are a few relatively recent seforim on Seder Hishtalshelus and the kesher with our avodah. There's one by Rabbi Moshe Miller from Chicago, one by Rabbi Ives from England, from Golomb in Tomchei Tmimim, and one by Seligson. Some are shorter, some are longer, but all will help understand the Chassidus you learn and how it fits into the other things you have learned.

In regards to your second question, I never saw that there is an inyan to finish the whole Chassidus. That it should be something a chossid wants, of course!

However, there is a sicha in Chelek Chof (Yud-Tes Kislev?), that explains what we are trying to accomplish with learning Chassidus. There is one inyan to learn Chassidus every day to overcome our Yetzer Hara and serve Hashem with chayus, and there is also an inyan of learning Chassidus beshufi - in every free moment - as a preparation for the Geulah. Learning this sicha will help you develop the proper attitude to learning Chassidus.

If you do have a personal goal of learning all of the Rebbe's Torah (an admirable one), many Chassidim have come up with different systems to complete the different areas of the Rebbe's Torah in an amount of years.

For example, for Likutei Sichos, there are 39 volumes. Alef-Daled are very basic ones. So starting from Chelek Hey, it comes out that if you do one set (i.e. 5 volumes) a year, you finish in seven years. You can make a siyum in Shmita and start again in Hakhel

Also for Igros Kodesh, take at least one year of letters (there are more letters in the earlier years) and make sure to learn the letters from that day each day. You'll see how much time the Rebbe put into these letters every day, and we can give back a little by learning those letters... Learning them at the time they were written also helps because it gives inspiration about inyanei deyoma at the proper time.

The reason to start with Likutei Sichos and Igros is because Likutei Sichos is the Rebbe's horaos to the klal, it's muga, and it's ledoros. It was intended for future times too. It also comprises all chalokim of Torah - Nigla, Chassidus, etc.

(Also, there is a clear hora'ah from the Rebbe about Likutei Sichos, to learn it as an inyan of Inyonei Geulah. Every sicha when learned properly can be seen to be connected to the Geulah.)

But to understand the Rebbe's approach to individuals, and how to address issues in a more specific way, we have Igros.

This is also the idea of Moshe and Aharon - Moshe Rabbeinu taught Torah to the klal, and Aharon helped individuals come to Torah in their own way.
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Unread 05-01-2016, 05:15 AM   #5
Col
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hishtatchus, i genuinely appreciated that you took the time to write all these ideas. they are really helpful!
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Unread 05-02-2016, 02:50 PM   #6
Majorthinker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Col View Post
there's a question that bothered me for a long time: i doubt anyone can answer this, but i'm throwing it out.

the rebbe printed hundreds of seforim on chassidus, but it seems very difficult to get a basic working knowledge of any of them.
Are you aiming to understand chassidus, or understand the sefer?

If you are aiming to understand the Rebbe's chassidus, you should probably start by learning the sources that the Rebbe bases his maamarim/ sichot on, and not just the words that the Rebbe said.

Quote:
by the time you finish a sefer like samach vov, you already forgot the beginning.
This is why you take notes and recap before each learning session. It's also why reading through samech vav (or any maamar) once, isn't enough. Learning means reviewing.

Quote:
is there any practical method for average to accumulate significant knowledge in chassidus (not just to be familar with the concepts, but to actually know many maamorim)?
How do you define "significant knowledge"? How do you define "knowing"? :bites tongue:

The way is simple: Start at the beginning and work through it. There really are no shortcuts.

Quote:
by the way mods, it might be time to refresh the smilies here, they look ancient!
Please no! ChabadTalk has the best smilies. Cutest, widest variety, and it's nostalgic, too. Plus, I really missed these smilies while CT was down.
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