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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 20:35:51 -0500 Subject: A Response on My Views Of Chasidus In response to my recent posting on Chasidus vs Mitnagduth, Rabbi Menachem Schmidt, one of the Shlichim in Philadelphia wrote the following. I remarked to him that other people might be interested in this clarification and he gave me his blessing to have it posted: >> You have expressed the classic misconception about chassidus. the Baal Shem Tov did not intend chassidus for only those not versed in torah, but for everyone. the gemorah states (the Rebbe N"A frequently qutoes this) "that the temple was (also) destroyed because they didn't say a blessing before learning torah" . the idea of being steeped in torah knowledge also brings with it the perils of the ego and the thrill of the intellectual gain, not necesarilly at the expense of one's relationship with G-d, but , these features of learning don't always enhance one's relationship with G-d. the Baal Shem Tov stressed the importance of learning (and certainly the Alter Rebbe did also), but with care that it should create a greater tie with G-d. an idea which scholars did find offensive, and people mistakenly consider anti-intellectual is: tzidkus is not guaranteed by being a scholar,and that simple people can be very great spiritually. Regards Russell Jay Hendel; PH.d;ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu