Sunday, June 18, 2006

Stop and Think

From Chabad Library - Shulchan Aruch 1814 has printed a synopsis of a shiur given by Horav Heller of the Crown Heights Beis Din. The shiur was "adapted by Yaakov Ginsburg and Yaakov Paley" and appears here.

Many of the points in this article appear basic and obvious but how many of us are guilty of some of the "sins" that he talks about. My favourite bits are:

One's household must be aware that a large property, honor, wealth, fame, and the like, are by no means more worthwhile than the study of Torah. That notion is dependent upon the choice of people that one's household hears being admired; if they generally hear the praise of wealthy businessmen, tough sportsmen, accredited professors, etc., they will understand that materialism and physicality are the ultimate. Conversely, when they hear admiration for a worthy Chossid, or someone known for his learning, Yiras Shomayim, Tzedakah, and the like, they will take these matters to be the ultimate.


People must realize that they cannot be "Chassidish", i.e. act in the manner of Chassidim in certain aspects, whilst simultaneously disregarding the laws of the Shulchan Aruch; one does not justify, compensate, or excuse the lack in the other.


Being Chassidish is not a replacement for Yiddishkeit. The necessary stages of development are: Being a Mentch, being a Yid, being a frum Yid, and finally being a Chassidishe Yid. The third level (being a frum Yid, a religious Jew,) can only be attained via keeping the laws of the Shulchan Aruch; and the final level (a Chassidishe Yid) requires the backing of the third level (a frum Yid).

From what I read in the comments here many of us believe that we are already extremely Chassidish and have little to learn from others. If your first reaction on reading this article is that it doesn't apply to you maybe you should stop and think again.

Whatever your point of view or derech in Yiddishkeit - many, if not all, his points apply to Yidden no matter what their derech - at the very least I believe that all of us should take what he has to say seriously and try to apply some of these points to our own life.