Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Definition of Chassidus

Torah, the ultimate source of truth, asserts that G-d is one (Deut. 6, 4). That is, whatever you sense and whatever you don't sense, everything all about - it's all one, and that one all-inclusive "thing" is G-d. In other words, despite our conceptions and perceptions, where we see the world as particulate in nature, and despite the fact that we sense physicality of a physical world, we are experiencing an illusion. For the real truth behind this apparent multiplicity and variability is that all of it comprises one "spiritual thing" - G-d!

But what about Torah's other assertions, as for example the one in its opening verse - which asserts the creation of a physical world? Is this then not true; Is this world's existence an untrue fact?

My understanding of it is, that the world we percieve as real, should be considered real from our perspective - but only as it concerns our behavior and how we interact with the infinite situations confronting us in our perceived physical environment.

We are wired to perceive and conceive this panorama as real and the Torah then instructs us how to behave in this environment for our benefit.

But, if we could disregard ourselves and perceptions for a moment, the actual fact is - there's nothing physical or variegate "out there" whatsoever. It's all "spiritual"; Some unexplained power turned us, and all that's around us, into figments of our own imaginations. That power, and only that power, exists, is real, and what we call "G-d".

Can we get to understand this power well? This question can be answered with a question. Can a computer, the greatest human invention, understand its human creator? So how much more unrealistic is it to expect for us to comprehend what G-d is?

This is, in essence, the essence of what Chassidus is. Chassidus takes the whole Torah, all its 300,000 letters, all its 80,000 words, and recognizes these as interconnected metaphors for the one G-d. It rises beyond the simple meaning of the words and explores them from the "all is One" perspective and the mechanisms of how "from One we get to many", albeit in an "unreal" fashion.

In the Rebbe's own words, "Chassidus Chabad [Lubavitcher Rebbes' teachings] opens the gates to the chambers of wisdom and understanding, enabling us to know and recognize G-d." (Hayom Yom, 17 Kislev)

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