Shabbat Nugget, The New Year of Chassidism

This Shabbos comes directly after the Chassidic Holiday called Yud Tes Kislev which was on Thursday.  Yud Tes Kislev is called the new year of Chassidism and is the day that the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman called the Alter Rebbe was released from prison in Czarist Russia.  He was put into prison because opponents of his teachings convinced the Russian government that the Alter Rebbe was aiding the government of Turkey which was Russia’s enemy.

In the Chassidic tradition, these trumped up charges was a reflection of spiritual forces trying to stop the dissemination of the Alter Rebbe’s teaching and the day of his release is a reflection of the decision in heaven to allow for the continued revelation of these teachings.

Why were these teaching so unique?

In the early eighteenth century, the Baal Shem tov came into the Jewish scene.  He uncovered a new level of spiritual explanations of many concepts of the Torah.  His teachings were very inspirational and these teaching began to spread rapidly bringing a new renaissance to the Jews in Eastern Europe who were battered from pogroms and other forms of anti Semitism.

However, spiritual concepts can be hard to define intellectually.  The Baal Shem tov was successful in passing on a glimpse, the flavor and feeling of these spiritual ideas, but did not provide a comprehensive explanation.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman felt the need to fully explain these ideas intellectually since he believed that a person cannot fully identify with an idea if he doesn’t fully understand it.  He therefore labored to explain these ideas in his teaching and his famous book called the Tanya.  He was very successful and his teaching continue to inspire and impact people throughout the world thereby preparing the world for the coming of Moshiach.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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