Hello Chaveirim! Welcome to my first vort on Chassidus.(Mild disclaimer: most ideas I write on this article aren’t my own and just things I have learned, however I find it important if you are a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov, that this is important). On my search for emes in the world of lies, I stumbled across the Chasidic Movement and it’s various different outlooks (Chabad, Breslev, Karlin-Stolin, Pshische-Kotzk, etc.). However, if you look closely ALL Chasidishe Drachim can be categorized into two main Stam Derechs.
Avoide ubkoiach ubemunah peshuta
This is fairly true for all forms of Chasidut as if you look at the Seforim of one Rebbe and compare it to the other to see what type it is. However, in my so-far ceaseless look for haemes, I peeked (I would be doing both myself a disservice and you an untruth if I told you I “studied” them) at both of these types of Drachim and I would say in my humble opinion that both of these Drachim are valid for different types of Yidn however there comes a question:
Is there a right one?
My answer to that question is this:
Chassidus, especially in the early years, was meant to motivate the down-trodden Jews after the false-messiaship of Shabatai Tzvi (YSH”Z) and the gezeirah tach vetat. From my own personal knowledge of stories I have heard and from what me, a simple yid, “understands” from the way the Baal Shem Tov (Ztz”l zy”a) and the Maggid (ztz”l zy”a) is that they and the majority of their talmidim served Hashem with Avoide ubkoiach ubemunah, and the Toire they taught was based on that derech. However, there was an exception with the Alter Rebbe miLiadi (ztz”l zy”a), who taught that his Chasidim should strive not be “poshut” and that in davening they should know what they’re saying in the Tefiloh and to do meditation on what they had learned in Chasidus and etc. and this gave birth to Chasidus Avoidas bMoiach. And this also eventually came to be the dominant form of Chassidus in Russia, as well as the Poilisher form of Chasidus bmoiach created by the Yid Hakadosh (zy”a). I have heard many people (Most notably from Rabbi YY Jacobson, Zol Gezunt Zain) that Avoide ubkoiach and emunah no longer works because the Rebbeim weren’t as they were back in Russia, and the Rebbe should not be the one who kindles your spiritual fire, but rather, it should be you who lights it, etc. To a certain point I agree with that and I have always been a fan of learning (first select secular subjects that I enjoyed and now Torah) but, we DO, Boruch Hashem, have very big tzadikim that are alive today and if a yid is “poshut” or does Avoidas bmoiach does excite him and he wants to be a chosid, then he should go with the latter option, he shouldn’t contemplate too deeply about Tefiloh and Teyre and the like, that’s my answer, Every Yid is special we each have a spiritual derech that we feel we need to go on and with regards to Chasidut, whatever Rebbe your Neshomo is drawn to or whatever teachings, go with that…
Zol Gezunt Zain Chasidim,