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Unread 09-26-2003, 08:26 AM   #1
Yankel Nosson
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Excerpt from exchange between R' DuBrow and R' Furmanski:

Q: What is the greatest danger, G-d forbid, facing the Jewish people today? Assimilation? Arab terrorism? Something else?

A: There is a core danger, that is the real root of all that is a "danger"...

The world in its present state puts in front of you a picture that tries to capture you in any way possible (e.g., tricky and logical) to "believe" in it, to worship it, to go according to its image, fall captive to the rules of its systems, march in rhythm with the way it wants you to move.

It is the essence of kelipah that at every instant it tries to make you forget that the world is G-dly, that He and only He runs the show, and that a Jew is totally and completely unaffected by the world, not connected to it, independent of it. Indeed, if a Jew is on the right level and has a proper perception, he can dictate to the world anything he wants, being totally, axiomatically above it.

But if you fall even slightly into the "worldly" ways of thinking, speaking, acting, planning,etc. etc., you will have no hope and no real free choice. The freedom of choice ends when you give up even slightly. Then it bursts into chinuch, family, work, everything, and weakens you to be more easily assimilated, weaker in front of the nations and the enemies.

This is THE ASSIMILATION, "believing" in the "world". It is a very difficult avodah (service,practice). Even you, who agree to, and know of, these ideas find yourself "governed" by the world, as if you must "act" according to the "worldly" rules. To completely peel away that dependence, is really a big task, especially in this poor generation. For most people,just having pure faith and cleaving to the Torah & Mitzvos is already a big thing. For the other, the expectation and the demands are higher, penetrating into every moment/instant of one's cognition, awareness and consciousness.

It is simply that today's world and its state are the real threat to true and pure Jewish perception. It is all beginning from this. Look at most people, how they talk, what they take into consideration, even if they learn and daven. Eventually they get involved in politics, media, the economy, even, G-d forbid, sports. And then they get to the point as seeing it all as real!! They are at those moments really there - in that false reality!!

These are the cracks through which all the foreign winds burst in. Slowly, little by little, they captivate you completely, paralyze you, make you worldly even when you daven and learn, even when you are convinced that you are serving H-ashem.

The only key is simple, real, true faith and devotion, not believing the world, not believing yourself and in yourself, not believing anyone, just HIM ALONE....

Chassidim must study Chassidus--HaYom Yom 21Kislev
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Unread 03-11-2004, 09:22 AM   #2
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One of the key things that the Rebbe instituted in terms about how one goes about relating to their Yiddishkeit, to Chassidus in general, and the Rebbe in particular, is that traditionally, a Jew saw himself as an individual who has a private life which includes many areas of interest and involvement.

Part of that life includes obligations to your Maker. It may be an important part of your life, or a key part of your life, perhaps the most important part of your life - but, a part of your life, not your whole life. There are other things, other issues, which are not directly involved or related to serving your Maker. There are interests, talents, activities - other things going on. So one's obligations are written in Shulchan Aruch, and they cover many things, and of course we do them, but then we go about life. We eat because we want to eat, but there are rules - bracha before and after, kosher etc. - all parts of life. They may be the most important part of life, maybe because one remembers that the most important thing is not this world but the next world, so that the more energy one puts into one's obligations in this world, the more points are earned and the more one enjoys the next world.

This is traditional Judaism. For most Jews, this was how Judaism was for thousands of years. Some were more involved and some less involved, but basically that was what it was like. For many Jews it is still this way. It may even be such an important part of life that people are willing to make sacrifices for their Judaism, even the ultimate sacrifice. But in daily life, Yiddishkeit, Torah and mitzvos are part of life and then there is real life, one's personal affairs.

Chassidus says there is no such thing as your own personal life. The Alter Rebbe in Tanya says a radical thing which is important to know: all of Torah is included in the first two of the Aseres ha'Dibros (Chazal). The Alter Rebbe asks how this is so? The first dibra is, “I am your G-d”, and the second dibra is “you shall have no other gods”, so how is everything included in that?

The Alter Rebbe answers that there is a very deep significance to this concept. According to the way Chassidus explains it, the only thing that exists is G-d. The reason we see other things which appear to exist, including ourselves, and we experience ourselves as existing, is because Hashem has the infinite capacity to conceal Himself. When I look at a wall, I think I am seeing a wall, not Hashem, because Hashem can conceal Himself in such a way that I think I am seeing a wall! And not only do I think I am seeing it, but according to Torah it is a wall. But really, the wall is not something separate from Him. It's really Him, but just a different way of manifesting Himself. It appears to me that it is not Him.

But the truth is that everything that exists is Him, but due to His ability to conceal Himself, there are many things which seem to be not-Him, including ourselves. We experience ourselves very intensely as being me and not Him, to the point that people can say He doesn't exist! He is so skillfully concealed, that even though the opposite is true - He exists, and I do not really, at least not independently of Him, I can think I exist and He doesn't!

The Alter Rebbe says that every mitzva and every thought, word and action boils down to one issue – “I am G-d your G-d”, and “you shall have no other gods before me”. The latter doesn't mean to say that there aren't any other actual gods. It means there is nothing in existence aside from You, independent of You. The definition of G-d is that which exists of itself. There is nothing that exists of itself except Me. So every thought can be that which proclaims that the only thing that exists is G-d, or a thought which indicates that you think there are other things which exist besides Him. Every word you say either expresses this idea that the only thing which exists is G-d, or every word you say expresses that you think there are other things which exist. So too for actions you take.

So the concepts of the forbidden - the negative commandments, and the obligations - the positive commandments, and the permitted - that which is up to you, is also an illusion. The idea of there being something up to your own personal choice is false. Every decision you make is either “anochi” or “lo yihye lecha” - proclaiming the existence of G-d. Otherwise you're saying - G-d, you're great and all, but this is for me. There's a lot of stuff I do for You, and this is for me, because it makes me feel good, I like it, it's interesting, it makes me fulfilled, realize myself, whatever it does for me ...

Free choice means choosing G-d's reality or rejecting G-d's reality. Ultimately, one will confront the fact that G-d's reality is real no matter what. By rejecting it you just get into trouble. Those are the two choices: either accept there is nothing besides Me, or reject that. So in a certain way, you are serving false gods. This is said in Tanya and it's a basic concept in Chassidus, the foundation of everything else in Chassidus. Any other thing which pretends to exist outside of G-d is a concealment of G-d, including yourself.
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Unread 05-19-2005, 12:26 AM   #3
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Like the author, I agree that THE source of ALL problems is a lack of the awareness that "there is nothing but Him" (as we learn in Chumish).

Where I respectfully disagree is with the notion that faith in this one liner (or any other) suffices. The entire point of Chabad, and of existence, is to KNOW this one line in a way of UNDERSTANDING which NECESSITATES the study of Chassidus in a particular way, as explained explicitly in many places in Chassidus (such as Shar HaYichud Ch. 4,5, etc.).

Sorry for the CAPS, but it really gets me sometimes. By "it" I mean the fact that we walk around with slogans like "all is One, One is all" and all that other stuff but basically, the way we tend to understand this is nonsensical. And it can't be any other way, without a detailed explanation of how G-d makes the world (down to and including us) from nothing.

By way of a good analogy I heard from a friend: it's like someone explaining simply that "the reason a plane flies is because of the wings." But, he/she doesn't know how they work. This, versus an engineer, who can tell you - in a detailed way- EXACTLY how the wings work. To him or her, the same words mean a whole lot more.

A funny example with myself: I used to imagine to myself the world being made of a glowing white light that condensed to make matter - that white light was supposed to be G-d, or the revelation of Him, or something. I know, it's pathetic.

Now, I am trying to know Chassidus in a more detailed way and overcome more and more of that sort of delusional thinking and get more in touch with Reality (Him) <[;-)

P.S. I heard that a big Chossid of the BESHT HaKodesh said about himself that before meeting his Rebbe, he'd visualize a big lion (or bull, or something like that) to inspire "fear of G-d" before praying.
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