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The 19th of Kislev: Chassid in Wonderland

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Chassidism » Chassidic Perspective | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Children love fairy tales and are completely fascinated by stories which speak of faraway lands and incredible magical powers. They find pleasure in imagining a world which is so different than the one which we inhabit; a world where good continually prevails, the powers of evil are always eventually subdued, and behind every stone may lurk the genie which could grant all your wishes. By many people, the fascination with parallel universes does not disappear as they mature. Instead, they continue to read novels and science-fiction, desiring to escape – a sometimes harsh – reality, if only for a few minutes a day.

Actually, there is a kernel of truth to all these books. There is in fact a very real parallel universe.

Open up a book of Kabbalah, and you will discover that there are countless spiritual worlds and that in actuality there exists nothing but G-d alone—and we are merely expressions of the Divine energy. Everything which occurs is for the best, because it is all preordained by G-d; and the physical is absolutely trivial, for Torah, Prayer and Mitzvahs are the truly important things in life.

Torah is one reality, and we live in a different reality—but we have the ability to change our perception - the ability to live in G-d’s Wonderland
After you close the Chassidic volume, everything which you have studied suddenly seems to be a myth: Scientists have yet to discover any spiritual worlds; the world we live in is very real and palpable, as opposed to G-d, Whom we “believe” in; bad things happen on a daily basis; and money, material possessions, and physical enjoyment are really what the world revolves around.

The Torah is one reality, and we live in a completely different (false) reality—but we have the ability to change our perception, indeed we have the ability to live in G-d’s Wonderland.

Chabad” is an acronym for Chochmoh, Binah, and Da’at, the three intellectual faculties of the mind. The purpose of Chabad Chassidut is to study about the true G-dly reality to the point that our mind is saturated with the knowledge of G-d and we begin to view the world from the Divine perspective. There is a famous adage: “tell a lie often enough and people will begin to believe it.” If this dictum holds true concerning a falsehood, how much more this applies to the truth!

The 19th of Kislev, is the anniversary of the date when the “Alter Rebbe” Rabbi Schneur Zalman, the 1st Chabad Rebbe, was released from prison in 1798. He was imprisoned due to libelous information supplied to the Czarist government by opponents of the fledgling Chassidic movement. But according to Chassidic tradition the imprisonment was merely the physical reflection of a Heavenly complaint which was lodged against the Alter Rebbe and the Chassidic cause which he was promoting. Are simple human beings worthy of being privy to the G-dly reality to the extent that they can actually identify with the Divine?

On the 19th of Kislev the Heavenly Court ruled that the Alter Rebbe’s path was justified. The time was ripe for the world to understand the Divine mysteries; the time had arrived to prepare the world for the Messianic Era when “The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the water covers the seabed.”

Don’t delay. Join a class on Chassidut and experience for yourself the “magic” of Chassidut.


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Holidays » Chassidic Holidays
Chassidism » Chassidic Holidays

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, 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.
(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).
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
The teachings of the Chassidic masters. Chassidut takes mystical concepts such as G-d, the soul, and Torah, and makes them understandable, applicable and practical.
The ninth month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to November-December. The holiday of Chanukah starts on the 25th of this month.
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.