Skip to main content
18 votes

Did the Ba'al Shem Tov actually exist?

I think the Ba'al Shem Tov had to have existed in some way (even if it's not the way we've been taught), as I doubt an entire branch of Orthodox Judaism would base itself off the teachings of a ...
ezra's user avatar
  • 18.7k
12 votes
Accepted

Who is Rebbe Nachman referring to when he mentions "Sheid Yehudi" (Likutei Moharan 12)

The source is the Zohar Pinchas 253b. There the Zohar says ואוף הכי דפרשין דמלכא הוו מארי משנה דאינון כמלאכים משמשין לון שדים יהודאי דאינון רשימין באות שדי (ס"א באת י') ואית שדין ומזיקין מסטרא ...
ertert3terte's user avatar
  • 40.5k
12 votes
Accepted

Bish'vili nivra ha'olam/Anochi afar Papers

This practice was advocated (possibly first suggested) by R. Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, as brought in his name in the collection of Hassidic Torah and lore entitled 'Siach Sarfe Kodesh' (n. 233): ...
Oliver's user avatar
  • 12k
11 votes

Did the Ba'al Shem Tov actually exist?

Aside from the fact there are countless prominent Rabbis from his time who state clearly that they met and learned with him face to face, such a the Maggid of Mezerich, any student of history is aware ...
Yaacov Deane's user avatar
  • 14.9k
10 votes

The Yiddish Language and its Sanctity

In a letter to the Tog–Morgn Zhurnal, February 24, 1961 (also printed in דרשות און כּתובֿים), Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik wrote that Yiddish can be considered as a tashmish kedusha. He says that ...
magicker72's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

From where does Rabbi Nachman know that King David's Lyre possessed 5 strings?

This comes from Tikunei Zohar Tikuna Asira'ah (here page 25b), in discussing numerical connections between the 5 knots on tzitzis and the 5 first words of Shema and the 5 strings on King David's lyre: ...
רבות מחשבות's user avatar
9 votes

Hassidim and their socks

You cannot determine sect solely by the socks, but often you can tell something based on the socks. Combining sock style with hat/jacket/girdle/shoe/glasses/shirt style will narrow things down even ...
Adám's user avatar
  • 6,801
8 votes

Gerer Chassidishe Minhagim

Gur Tefillin: Square knot (edit: some wear single dalet) , Shel Yad Ashkenaz, Wrapping also Ashkenaz way, Brachos on both must be said standing. Ksav: Ari Zal with Shin of Beys Yosef which is called ...
Eliyahu Yosef P's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Chassidish pronunciation: הוא and היא

Most American and European Chassidim use what is often (wrongly) called Chassidish pronunciation. However, Hungarian is probably a more precise term, as even non-Chassidim that stem from parts of ...
Adám's user avatar
  • 6,801
8 votes
Accepted

How did the Lubavitcher Rebbe react to the Crown Heights riot?

Chaim Miller, in his biography Turning Judaism Outward (p. 396-397), discussed the Lubavicher Rebbe's response to the riot when Mayor David Dinkins publicly met with the Rebbe, surrounded by members ...
Aryeh's user avatar
  • 11.6k
7 votes

A rabbi asked me to light candles before weekday Mincha/Ma'ariv. Is this customary? Is there a bracha?

I agree with DanF's answer above. This has nothing to do with yahrzeit candles. If someone has a yahrzeit they should light a 24 hour candle to help remind him to think about the special qualities of ...
R Yisroel Meir Vogel's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Is there definitive breakdown/explanation of the various philosophical differences of Hasidic dynasties?

For a historical work that also dives deep into the divergent philosophies of different Hasidic sages, it is hard to beat Hasidism: A New History by David Biale, David Assaf, Benjamin Brown, Uriel ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 5,423
7 votes

Looking for an easy to read chassidic commentary on the Torah

As @sam said his comment, the Nesivos Shalom is a classic. It's been translated to English as well.
Yehuda's user avatar
  • 1,962
6 votes

Halachic Justifications for the Amshinover Rebbe

Regarding Havdalah during the week, I believe the reason why you find the Rebbe doing is so is because he actually keeps Shabbas until Tuesday. I heard this from a well-known story that the Gedolim ...
DoreshEmet's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Gerer Chassidishe Minhagim

I have been trying to reconnect to my Gerrer roots. This is what I've discovered. Tefillin: They are standard size, not oversize like Chabad. The parchments are k'sav Beis Yosef (source: a Gerrer ...
Chaimy's user avatar
  • 136
6 votes

Arguments FOR Radzyner Techeiles

The Radzyner Rebbe wrote three books about it, so that would be a good place to check. Dr. Mendel Singer wrote an article about techelet, and in the course of the article, he mentions how the ...
josh waxman's user avatar
  • 20.9k
6 votes
Accepted

Was the Hasidic gartel influenced by Zoroastrianism?

No, the Chassidic practice of wearing the gartel, which is properly called Avnet (אבנט) in Hebrew, was not influenced by the Zoroastrian practice. It is worth pointing out that after listening to the ...
Yaacov Deane's user avatar
  • 14.9k
6 votes

Rabbi Nachman on connecting to Tzaddikim and Tefillah

Yes, one attaches oneself to G-d, but that is not in conflict with the comment of Rabbi Nachman. A better translation would be: Everyone needs to intend during their prayer, that he will bind himself ...
Yaacov Deane's user avatar
  • 14.9k
6 votes
Accepted

Why do some people split the third and fourth wrap on their arm when wrapping tefillin?

I didn't mean to post a question and then answer it myself, but in my searches on Chabad.org I found this question and answer page which discusses why there is a custom to leave space between the ...
ezra's user avatar
  • 18.7k
6 votes
Accepted

Who wrote Piskei Hasiddur?

The Sefer Piskei Hasiddur was written by Rav Chaim Naeh, and it's based on the writings of the Alter Rebbe. So both statements are true. As you can see in the picture below, under where it says פסקי ...
aBochur's user avatar
  • 3,859
5 votes
Accepted

What are some fundamental chasidic works of philosophy / theology?

In a comment OP notes interest in "anything really" but also what "chassidim themselves use to inform their philosophy as chassidim"; I'll attempt to list some of both types. Of the same genre as ...
Oliver's user avatar
  • 12k
5 votes

Tefillin - Are there any others who wear 4 x 4 battim besides Chabad?

There is a large type of tefillin called shimusha rabba which sefardi kabbalists wear at mincha. You can read a good deal about them at http://www.torahmusings.com/2011/08/tefillin-shimusha-rabba-and-...
ykay says Reinstate Monica's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

"The Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Prizite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite,"- What is the Noam Elimelech's source?

Here is a page from a fairly recently published translation of the Tzetel Katan that has accompanying elucidations as well as prayers and exercises. While this doesn't point to a source per se for the ...
Shmuel Brown's user avatar
  • 1,348
5 votes

Is there an authoritative source on the similarities and differences of the denominations?

The Economist had a good report on Judaism and the Jews - alive and well. They used the following illustration to describe some key denominations of Judaism.
mbloch's user avatar
  • 51.9k
5 votes
Accepted

Difference Between Imrei Emes and Toras Emes

Finally got my hands on a cop of each. Toras Emes was penned by R' Leibele Eiger himself, while Imrei Emes are teachings recorded by his talmidim.
Bochur613's user avatar
  • 4,657
5 votes
Accepted

Is being on welfare if you can work against the will of Hashem?

Your question cited Christian Scripture in support of your point -- that's not going to support it from this audience, and we'd ask you not to bring that here. (This site has accepted questions asking ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 133k
4 votes

Are there any misnaged works?

The most important misnaged was the Gaon of Vilna. The most substantial collection of his metaphysical teachings is his commentary on ספרא דצניעותא, which you can find here: http://www.hebrewbooks.org/...
paquda's user avatar
  • 4,901
4 votes

Rule of first occurrence?

Rav Zaddok HaKohen of Lublin writes in Yisrael K'doshim (ot zayin): וקיבלתי שבכל דבר וענין במקום שמלה זו נזכר פעם ראשונה בתורה שם הוא שורש הענין I have been taught that regarding everything, ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
  • 35.6k
4 votes

Good sefer on chassidus

There is a book called שפתי חן - הקדמה לספרי חסידות by שמואל קרויס and חיים מענדלאוויטש that is meant to provide premises that come in useful in understanding hasidic teachings. As a commentary around ...
paquda's user avatar
  • 4,901
4 votes
Accepted

Asterisks in the Noam Elimelech

I'm not sure what you're referring to specifically; are you talking about dots between paragraphs? That may be just delineating separate pieces. On the other hand, in the earliest editions of the ...
Shmuel Brown's user avatar
  • 1,348

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible