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Somewhat distressingly, Chasidim whose traditions include their own seforim seem often to prioritize them, when push comes to shove, over works of nigleh (="revealed," non-mystical knowledge, such as the written and oral Torah, and non-Chasidic machshava, mussar, and halacha). For example, Chassidus is studied in the morning in many Chasidic yeshivas, with nigleh study deferred to the afternoon; according to some, nigleh may not even be studied on Shabbos.

So I am wondering how these Chasidim stack seforim in perceived order of holiness. Do works of Chassidus go to the top of their piles? And since prayer is so important to Chasidim, is a siddur promoted from the bottom?

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    I know many chassidic (non Chabbad) chassidic yeshivot in which the study is almost exactly as the study in livishe Yeshivot. There are special sedarim in Gur Yeshivot but they don't study chassidut. I ame pretty sure that the institutionalization of Chassidut as a part of the limud is only in Chabbad Massoret.
    – kouty
    Feb 26, 2017 at 18:53
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    Are you asking what Hassidic halakhic works state, or what individual Hassidic Jews do, regardless of whether or not it is consistent with Judaism? If the latter, then this seems like Jews not Judaism.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 26, 2017 at 23:22
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    If it is a halakhic question, then it should be noted that according to the Arukh HaShulhan (YD 282:22) printed books all are considered equal in priority with regards to stacking. I assume that the question assumes printed works, rather than Hassidic works written by a scribe on parchment.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 26, 2017 at 23:25
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    @mevaqesh, what the ערוך השלחן has to say may be largely irrelevant to this question, if the (for example) ש״ע הרב holds differently. (I don't know that that's the case, though.)
    – msh210
    Feb 27, 2017 at 7:28
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    The answer to this can be found in the kitzur shulchan aruch which explains how books are to be stacked. According to halacha all books of machshava whether it be nesilas yesharim, derech hashem, the tanya, sefer maamarim, lekute amaron, etc, etc would all have the same halachic status and if someone feels one versus the other is more personally valuable to them is their hergish isn't an issue of halacha
    – Dude
    Feb 27, 2017 at 19:21

3 Answers 3

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In Chabad, many (mistakenly, I believe) place the Tanya on top of all other sefarim (some even put it on top of Chumashim!), basing it off the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe's statement:

ספר התניא הוא ספר התורה שבכתב בתורת חסידות חב"ד.

Any other sefarim are placed interchangeably with nigleh sefarim.

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  • this is false. chabad follows the minhag that most follow in regards to stacking sefarim with chumash going on top. In regards to Tanya it was observed that the Rebbe would neither put a Tanya on top of a chumash nor a Chumash on top of a Tanya. This does not make it a halacha but rather a hergish based on the quote you gave but at the same time cannot go on top of the chumash b/c of the halachic implications. In short one should follow the normal halachic ruling one would otherwise. M'ikar hadin though the comparison of bound books vs scrolls places bound books of sefarim in the same category
    – Dude
    Sep 6, 2022 at 13:06
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Ok, so let's clear some things up.

There's what Chabad chassidim do - very often mistakenly, and all too often from mouth to ear, a broken telephone effect takes place where the original minhag or nohag avalanches into some absurd doing that the newcomers to Judaism through Chabad take upon as a holy war of sorts - and then there's what actually has its source in the ways of Chassidus that the Rebbes of the Chabad movement stated or acted upon unequivically, and which whenever they were approached about such minhagim etc. etc. they always made sure to provide a source.

(A famous example is regarding nicknames - it is common Chassidic practice to give each other simple nicknames, like "Ahrale" instead of "Aharon," Fitche instead of Yosef, and so on, and this is done more particularly by some of the bigger figures in Chassidus, since they did not like emphasizing their egos with high, exalted titles, settling instead for nicknames. The Lubavitcher Rebbe ztz"l was asked regarding this custom and what is the source is Torah- and indeed he provided a specific scenario in Gemara where it is proven that this custom has a source (I will provide that source upon request, I don't have it off the top of my head).

Now, as to the matter at hand. The other answer mentioned the statement by the Previous Rebbe, and it is a commonly known one amongst Chabad Chassidim. When such a tzaddik as the Rebbe says any given statement, it is not taken lightly. So Chassidim of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe tried to place a sefer atop of Tanya, and indeed when the Rebbe approached his shtender, he removed it from the Tanya. The next time, they tried to place a Tanya atop of a Chumash, and again with the Chumash atop the Tanya, and each time the Rebbe removed one from the other.

Chabad Chassidim thereby, based on the Rebbe's actions, took upon themselves the same hanhaga of not placing another sefer on top of Tanya, treating it as the Torah sh'bichtav of Chassidus. Most certainly, the Tanya should not be placed on top of a Chumash, that is against a very clear halacha in Sh"A.

I believe others mentioned the sources, but Halachically speaking, the only issur of placing one sefer atop of the other (and indeed the need to remove one from another) is only in regards to Tanach. Regarding other sefarim, it is silly if Chabad Chassidim have the hanhagga of placing Chassidic works davka atop of other works, and removing other works from atop of Chassidic works. Certainly one must comply with halacha, and then the only real established minhag by Chabad Chassidim is regards to Sefer haTanya, which is treated as one might Tanach, but certainly not at the expense of the latter.

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Here is an answer from Rabbi Braun ( a Lubavitcher Rav): https://asktherav.com/11715-seforim-atop-one-another/

Firstly, yes, a Tanya should be treated like a Chumash in this regard (the Rebbe was seen removing Tanya’s from atop Chumashim and vice versa).

Regarding a Chitas, it should be treated like a Chumash or Tanya, because all one-volume compilations containing Seforim with various levels of Kedusha are treated like the most Kadosh Sefer they contain. Therefore, one may place a Chitas atop a Chumash or Tanya (as it contains both), but not the other way around (as it would be like placing a Tanya over a Chumash, and vice versa).

[Since you mentioned a Siddur, it should be noted that its Kedusha is comparable to that of Neviim, Kesuvim, and Torah Shebaal Peh. And unlike a Chumash and Tanya, they each may be placed atop one another.]

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