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FACTIONS-----chasidus and their sefarim

Moderator you said in a discussion about Breslov "the Satmar Rav also held that all Chasidic Seforim were meant only for the talmidim of the Rebbes at that time and although the custom-tailored directives that these seforim contain are extremely useful for us as well, we should not take the advice and the direction in them as if it were literally meant for us."

Are you saying that seforim like Reb Arela Rote's tahras hakodesh and shomrray emunim is only meant for his chassidim 50 years ago?????

And Reb Yoel's sefarim too?

And the Noam Elimelachs tzetel koton also?

ich farshtai nisht!! please explain.

Often when a Rebbi will say something to the talmidim, it is meant specifically for his talmidim; other people, with needs that are different than his talmidim, would have received different advice. This is true even if the advice or direction was stated generically with no indication at all that it is case-specific.

Example: In the Gemora at the beginning of Kiddushin, the Gemora asks a contradiction between two statements of Chazal: (a) "A person should always first get married and then learn Torah" and (b) "A person should always first learn Torah then get married."

The Gemora answers that the two statements were said to two different groups of Talmidim and each one applies depending on the circumstances.

No indication was given that either statement was not meant for everybody, but it happens that a Rebbi will often make a generic statement but only be referring to his Talmidim, since they are to whom the statement was said.

And that's even in the Gemora, when Chazal say things. Chasidus was specifically designed for the Rebbi to tailor-make an approach to avodas Hashem for his talmidim (or for people to become talmidim of a rebbe who provides the approach you need - same diff) And therefore, when the Rebbes gave advice and direction, even if those statements were recorded in seforim, we have no right to assume that had we been the talmidim of that Rebbe he would have told us the same thing.

The Chidushei Harim did not learn any chasidishe seforim because of this, except those of his rebbe.

That having been said, there is still much to learn form the chasidishe seforim even if we are not going to follow their directions to the "t".

A Rebbe is, say, like a doctor prescribing a specific medicine for his patient. You don't want to just mimic the doctor and say "well if he prescribed such and such for his patient, I too prescribe it for mine" Or even "well if the rebbe gave out that medicine, it must be good for me too!" Such a approach to Chasidus is not what the Rebbes intended. That would be being a monkey, not a chosid.

What you do want to do instead, is to learn the formula that the Rebbe used when deciding what medicine to prescribe - the same way we would learn from a doctor - and to see why the Rebb said this to these people and that to other people etc. -- so that we can figure out, or rather, our own Rebbeim can figure out, based on the Rebbe's teachings and actions, what the Rebbe would have prescribed for us.

Not always can you figure this out. And certainly, you don't want to blindly follow everything you see in the Chasidishe seforim, which would be like blindly copying someon else's prescription. That's why you need a Rebbe or a Rebbi or a Chacham for yourself.

The Satmar Rebbe says that the way this works is, if let's say a Rebbe saw his talmidim were for instance not outraged enough by things they should be outraged from, then he might teach them a lot about how we cannot stand by and allow evil doers to flourish; if on the other hand, he would see that his talmidim were too zealous, he may emphasize humility and seeing the good in people etc.

Its similar to what the Rambam says that in order to straighten out a bad middah you have to go to the opposite extreme. Now what would happen if you went to a certain extreme in a Middah because a Rebbe said to do so -- you may be doing just the opposite of what you need to do for your avodah.

So no Rebbe said not to learn Chassidishe Seforim; you just need to know how to use them. You have to be a student, not a monkey.

Note: The Chidushei Harim said an exception to this rule are the Seforim of the Chozeh of Lublin (Divrei Emes, Zos Zikaron, and Zichron Tov) whose teachings were indeed designed for Klall Yisroel in general, with no specific talmidim in mind.

This comment of the Chidushei Harim coincides nicely with a story they tell of Rav Yisachar Dov Ber of Radoshitz, a talmid of the Chozeh, who once asked his Rebbi to show him one one general way to Avodas Hashem.

The Chozeh replied: “it is impossible to tell people what way they should take. For one way to serve G-d is through learning, another through prayer, another through fasting, and still another through eating. Everyone should carefully observe what way is proper for him, and then follow it with all his strength.”

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