But, they are both equally valid formulations of the divine wisdom. At issue is the acceptance or denial of the mystical core and revolutionary undercurrents. However,A shaky atmosphere of mutual respect occasionally undercut by an ancient rift that represents itself in sniping and vicious mudslinging. There has always been a rift at the heart of the Jewish experience, a polarization, a ying/yang in which mutually exclusive views seem beyond the pale of a negotiated settlement. Whether this is another classic case of the narcissism of small differences is unclear, depending on that other conflict between the practical and theoretical.
At heart, the differences are rather profound, hinging as they do on that moment of crossing from dream to reality; a coarsing of the purity.a reality that actualizes the dream, but which also coarsens its purity. This is the moment, says the Sifri, in which to give expression to all that we know and sense about the Holy Land. For though our knowledge may be primitive and unformed by the standards of daytime reality, it comes from a place in us that will no longer be accessible when we have ventured further into this realm of conscious knowledge and feeling. Only by expressing it now, on the threshold between supra-conscious awareness and conscious knowledge, can we carry over from the perfection and purity of our supra-conscious selves into the tactual reality of our conscious lives.
To the Chassid, the Talmudist is filled with contradictory opinions, obscure passages and unresolved questions; a dimension loaded with darkness and shadow. Almost akin to being responsible for the Fall, since he was not exactly content with his tranquil work tilling in Eden, a disinvolved and inglorious achievement.
Man was drawn by the lure of the unknown, by the spiritual anti-matter that lay beyond the pale of his world. He was tempted by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil tempting him in full view in the center of the garden–the tree that offered insight into and affinity with all realms of god’s creation He wanted to wrestle with his enemy rather than wage war by remote control from behind walls of unknowing bliss. We know the rest. An embrace of a world where even evil has a trace of good and every good has a dose of evil. Poets and thinkers have always gazed onto the possibilities of reversing these assimilative and destructive patterns and arrive at a triumph over grief and suffering as an uncertain visionary longing.
It is necessary for man as he begins to pray to have the sensation of being in the world of action. Afterwards, he should have the sensation of being in the world of formation, the world of the angels and the Ophanim. Afterwards in the world of creation, until he has the sensation in his thoughts that his thoughts have soared so high that it reaches the world of emanation. Just as a man strolls from room to room so should his thought stroll in the upper worlds. He should take care not to fall from his most elevated thoughts in the upper worlds but should strengthen himself with all the power at his disposal so as to remain above with his thoughts exceedingly high in the upper worlds. He should do this by having a bit and a rein on his thoughts so that he makes a kind of vow not to descend. …Read More:http://www.kmsynagogue.org/Eikev5769.htm
Among some of the main criticisms of Chassidism, such as by Joseph Perl are that it requires total subordination of the Chassid to the Rabbi, who may even become, in his followers eyes, superior to God. Also, that it rejects the state and its legal authority; that it sexualizes religion ; that it rejects all secular learning ; that it condones the cheating of Gentiles ; that it allows the Rabbis and their families to become inordinately rich ; and, that it encourages neglect of the family and of all practical activities. And that was just the introduction to his book. Other currents of anti-chassidism were a vainglorious attitude over victories in hairsplitting, and a total indifferent to
burdens he may imposes on his wife. By contrast , critics insisted on the democratic nature of Talmudic commentary,at least in theory, which must be open to everyone. Much much reverts back to the direct conflict with the well-attested tradition of the chassid’s subservience to the rabbi, a tradition that is denounced with special bitterness.
This was part of a Richard Lemm article on A.M. Klein and reveals the two competing strains of thought as they manifest themselves through the poetry of Klein resulting in some radically different but not necessarily antagonistic positions and atmospherics:
The importance of this poem ( Ballad of the Dancing Bear ) within the framework of Klein’s Zionist vision involves the elements of miracle and Chassidic dance and celebration. Chassidism was a dominant force in his parents’ native Ratno, as it was throughout the Ashkenazic communities of Eastern Europe and Russia from the mid-1700s onward. Klein’s father was a pious Talmudist, rather than a Chassid, but his mother brought with her some of the essence of Chassidism: an equally pious devotion to Jewish folklore and what Dimont, commenting (condescendingly) on Chassidism, calls “the triumph of ignorance over knowledge. The Talmud said that no ignorant man could be pious. Hasidism preached the reverse. It affirmed the Jewish spirit without the Jewish tradition …. Hasidism was strength through joy, an affirmation of the ecstatic …. In one fell swoop, the Bal Shem Tov turned weakness into strength, defeat into triumph” . The belief in miracle and the power of the dance were central to Chassidism. In the hard-pressed shtetls, Jews could commune with God through song, dance, simple prayers; they could support one another with religious folk-tales and belief in divine miracles. This, too, was a path to Zion….
…Klein took an increasing interest in Chassidism in the 1930s. In “Ballad of the Dancing Bear,” he shows there are more ways to survive, rescue the Princess, prosper, and be “cousins met” than “fierce militancy.” Moreover, Motka is an analogue and solution for the poet who languishes under Northern skies and cannot bring himself to “unsheathe an avenging sword.” Motka “Leaps and dances,” thereby transforming enemies into comrades. Motka restores the Princess to herself and to “God’s unforsaken things.” The poet, too, can restore the Jews to Zion and Zion to the Jews Read More:http://dev.hil.unb.ca/Texts/SCL/bin/get.cgi?directory=vol16_2/&filename=Lemm.htm
On Rosh Hashanah of 5507 (1746), the Baal Shem Tov had a vision wherein he ascended to heaven and entered the chamber ofMoshiach. The Besht asked Moshiach, “When will the Master [Moshiach] come?” Moshiach responded, “… when your wellsprings [the teachings of chassidism] will burst forth to the farthest extremes.” For a detailed account of the Baal Shem Tov’s vision, see The Chamber of Moshiach….
…Despite, or perhaps because of, his popularity, the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings were met with strong opposition from much of the traditional Talmudist movement. The opponents of chassidism were driven by a desire to retain their elite positions as well as by their suspicion that the Kabbalistic undertones of the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings belied his true intentions—to promote himself as a Messiah, just as Shabtai Tzvi, who had also taught Kabbalah, had done not a century earlier. Their growing distaste for the Besht’s glorification of the ignorant, and his unconventional claim that G‑dliness permeates even the most mundane of matters, led them to reject his entire doctrine.Read More:http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/the-baal-shem-tova-brief-biography/question-1439629/
The Baal Shem Tov gained a reputation for performing miracles in order to help Jews in dire straits or to teach his students a profound lesson. Many tales have been told of the Baal Shem Tov’s supernatural ability to elicit cures for the desperately ill, or to enable hopelessly barren couples to have children. In many of these stories, the Besht is said to have miraculously traversed vast distances in unusually short times, a phenomenon known as “kfitzat haderech”—shortening of the way. Read More:http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/the-baal-shem-tova-brief-biography/question-1439629/
The Talmud’s conception of bikurim expresses the notion that true gratitude for something can only come after a person has come to understand its significance and appreciate its impact on his or her life. Unless we have “taken possession” of something by studying and analyzing it, unless we have “settled in it” by experiencing it in an aware and informed manner, of what value are our pronouncements and proclamations?
The Sifri, on the other hand, holds a Modeh Ani-like vision of the mitzvah of bikurim, insisting that our very first moment in the land that G-d has granted us should be one of recognition and acknowledgment of the divine gift.
For forty years, as the people of Israel wandered through the Sinai desert, they dreamed of the land designated by G-d as the environment in which to realize their mission in life. Then came the great moment of crossing from dream to reality — a reality that actualizes the dream, but which also coarsens its purity. This is the moment, says the Sifri, in which to give expression to all that we know and sense about the Holy Land. For though our knowledge may be primitive and unformed by the standards of daytime reality, it comes from a place in us that will no longer be accessible when we have ventured further into this realm of conscious knowledge and feeling. Only by expressing it now, on the threshold between supra-conscious awareness and conscious knowledge, can we carry over from the perfection and purity of our supra-conscious selves into the tactual reality of our conscious lives.Read More:http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/2493/jewish/Crossing-the-Border.htm