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What's the difference between Chabad and other Chassidism?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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An Orthodox Jew is someone who abides by all the commandments of the Torah and all Rabbinic decrees. This description applies to Chabad as well as many other streams within Orthodox Jewry. The difference between the different groups of religious Jews is emphasis.


The Baal Shem Tov founded the Chassidic movement in the early 1700s. His teachings stressed the importance of serving G-d with joy and warmth, and the importance of having a Rebbe - a holy person who can guide a person's journey to spirituality. In the next 100 years, many different chassidic sects branched out, each with its own individual emphasis and stress.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi established the Chabad movement. Chabad (which was based in the Belarusian village of Lubavitch) means intellect. Chabad chassidus emphasizes the importance of studying and understanding G-dliness and the esoteric parts of Torah.


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COMMENTS

What are other Chassidic Movements?

Posted by: Nathan, Iowa City, IA, 52240 on Feb 04, 2007

I think the question asks, what are other Chassidic movements and what makes them unique? I am only aware of the Chabad-Lubavitcher and the followers of Nachman of Breslov. What are some other Chassidic courts?

Editor's Comment

There are many sects of Chassidism, all are unique in one way or another. To list some of the popular ones: Ger, Belz, Kotzk, Satmar, Tzanz, Bobov, Square, Viznitz... It would require an extensive article on each Chassidic group to just touch upon the differences. Modzitzer Chassidim, for example, have unique Niggunim (Chassidic melodies), others are singled out for their style of prayer, garb, customs, family lineage etc. The common denominator - uniting all Chassidic sects, is the desire to make the worship of G-d a more personal experience.

Chabad

Posted by: Anonymous, Colorado on Apr 21, 2008

So, is Chabad philosophy better than other sects or are they all different leading to the same goal? How do I know if this is the right path to follow or not?

Editor's Comment

Any Jewish path that leads to true love and fear of G-d and full mitzvah obervance is a valid one. If you ask a Chabad chassid if his is the best way, he will likely answer 'Yes!'. But if you have chosen another path that leads you to the above goals and you are happy, then that is wonderful for you.

RELATED CATEGORIES

Jewish Identity » Who/What is a Jew?
Jewish Identity » Jewish "Labels" » Chabad

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Baal Shem Tov
Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), Polish mystic and founder of the Chassidic movement.
Lubavitch
Also known as “Chabad,” Lubavitch is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. “Lubavitch” is the name of the Belarusian city where four of the Chabad Rebbes (leaders) were based. Today, the movement is based in Brooklyn, New York, with branches worldwide. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.