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I've heard of these people who wear chasidic garments, pray nusach sfard, and learn chassidus but don't follow one chassidus exclusively or have one rebbe they follow. Does this fit in with a normal chasidic system? Is this a new thing? I just want clarification because I am a chussid, have a rebbe and I follow one chassidus or I learn from other chassidusen (whatever my rebbe thinks is appropriate for me).

  • You mean wears levushim like this? – Shmuel Brin Jan 8 '14 at 22:56
  • I guess. I don't mean based entirely off of levushim, I just mean people who do chassidishe things, without having a specific rebbe or chassidus that they follow. – Yechiel Jan 8 '14 at 23:00
  • Doesn't this question contain its own answer: "the chassidei klali [are] these people who wear chasidic garments, pray nusach sfard, and learn chassidus but don't follow one chassidus exclusively or have one rebbe they follow." What is a normal chasidic system? (Regading novelty: History is full of people who had several rebbes and lone chassidic tzaddikim without any rebbe at all.) – Adám Jan 12 '14 at 13:44
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As far as I know, these people aren't coalesced per se into one group but are comprised of individuals in various communities coming from various backgrounds who have either been drawn to chassidus from other paths of Judaism or see themselves as returning to their (albeit recent in historical context) roots.

To use myself as an example: we descend from chassidic stock on both sides of my family - my father's father A"H came from a family of Satmar (previously Sighet) Chassidim whereas the rest of my grandparents came from Vizhnitz. All four were from the same area of Hungary-Romania and grew up or studied in the same vicinity. After the upheaval of WWII they emigrated with my folks to the States and while they maintained their Judaism they by and large left the external trappings of chassidus behind, although many of our family minhagim are rooted in chassidic traditions. My father went as far as to incorporate a gartel into his regular prayer ensemble and has worn a tish bekishe at Shabbos meals, but nothing much beyond that.

I myself was looking for more than that, having been reared in primarily Lithuanian-style yeshivot and emerging very much dissatisfied with that weltanschauung. I was drawn to chassidus initially by the stores of mysticism and miracle makers, which gelled very nicely with my background of sci-fi and fantasy, et al. The stories and teachings of Elie Wiesel and Shlomo Carelbach brought me in much deeper until I knew that I had to continue my study much more seriously. I briefly explored my roots (e.g. Satmar, Vizhnitz and other Hungarian courts) but did not find very much appeal there. While I began to delve deeply into (early) Chabad and Breslov torah I also recognized that there were aspects of both that I couldn't make peace with. I have yet to affiliate myself with any particular strain of chassidus, nor do I only focus exclusively on chassidus either. I have identified individuals who I would love to study from and possibly follow but distance makes that difficult.

At this time I consider myself a "Ronin" and I have met others like me. That doesn't mean that we're not searching but we haven't found "the one" yet.

However, there are some communities such as that of Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY that is also comprised of disparate types from various backgrounds; a common factor is a search for deeper meaning in their avodah and their Rav, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger is a dynamic personality. See his article from the Jewish Action a number of years ago.

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