Sunday, February 05, 2006

I Blame Chassidus

The other day, R' Stroch caught himself saying "whatever" and quickly corrected himself in his normal mode of self-deprecating humor by saying, "Wow, that is the most un-Chassidish thing to say - a Chassid never says 'whatever'".

I was thinking about it, and...I think he said something so huge, so true. I think right there, in a crowded and crumbling room at Machon Alte, he defined the antithesis of Chassidus, and a "Chassidishe lifestyle".

The more and more I'm learning Chassidus, the less "whatever" I'm becoming. I've become so clear and direct with my opinions, so unwilling to sacrifice truth for a second, so in tune with a MISSION, so craving more...unable to rest.

I will admit, though, that last night, I had one of my first "whatever" nights in a while. I found myself feeling a little bored, a little detached from the fire, a little removed from all the excitement and drive. Not depressed, not bothered..just stagnant, just "blah".

And it actually hurt. Because once you gain the flash of knowledge, the insight, and you trust the depths - you can't rest with anything less. Sitting in my room, not knowing what to do with myself...I actually felt my soul rejecting my "whatever" moment. And it was painful.

Sometimes I want to wage war against all the Chassidus I'm learning. I just want to see a tree as a tree. I want to read a Pasuk and not know that there are layers and layers to uncover. I want to lie on my bed and stare at the wall in superficial thought.

The other day, while saying Shema, I almost started to cry. And not because I was touched by the words, or moved to any sort of level of understanding - it was just the opposite. They say that a whole Torah can be written on the six words of Shema, and I've learned only a fraction of a fraction of what there is to know. And why do I have to say Shema everyday knowing that I'm not even coming close to saying it with all the proper intentions and mindsets, that I don't even understand the top layer of it's beauty and power? Why can't I access the layers? Be in touch with the snap of a finger?

It's all just too demanding of me. I'm way too little.

When you learn Chassidus - REALLY learn Chassidus - you just can't run from the action, can't escape the world, the realness of life, the truths of this world. There's a focus, a directed energy of reality and clarity and power and insight.

I just can't seem to chill out.

And I have Chassidus to blame.

[I tried to think of what my teachers would tell me...and what would the Rebbe say? What's the remedy to "whatever moments"? I immediately jumped into "typical Machon Alte girl" mode and wrote to the Rebbe, straight up asking for advice. The letter I opened to spoke of the tremendous importance of Prayer. Hmmm...]


nahama said...

To quote the kids in my Hebrew High class, "That was deep."

Thank you for your thoughts! Delightfully deep! Poignantly poetic! Classically cool... Okee dokee...Let's stop while we're ahead...

Your writing is powerful (powerfully passionate? ok, sorry) and personal. It's like being stung by a sting ray. In a good way of course. (You: "Right! Of course!") Any person reading your work will undoubtedly by moved by it.

Something useful (perhaps):
"Ain hamikrah yotzei medai peshuto"- the literal never loses it's value- even amongst layers and layers of meaning. The simple understanding still stands. The deeper awareness and sensitivity come, but appreciate each layer for it's own worth.

Or maybe that's just my new and improved form of escapism :)

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

ouchful piece; succint and raw.
-small thought coming up-

youre right, theres layers and layers. you pose two problems

1- why cant we ever get it all? like eat the siddur and have it all by osmosis?
2- if i cant, then why am i saying it every day, in and out, still at its superficial level?

to 1): you can ejoy the "having", or the "being". the "having" of the shma is inaccessible. however, the "being", the act of discovering it, is always there, and ALWAYS accessible, precisely because the "having" isnt.
enjoy the "being" of the shma. seeing each layer unfold. ignore that there are more layers- no layer is more true than another. a layer isnt a means to an end. it just is. thats one of the properties of Truth. it just is.

to 2): realize, that in the physical saying of it lies the value. the angels, cognizant beings, would die (if they could) for the chance to say it. saying it and realizing its value is a perk; the real point is the saying.
why? its like "a picture is worth a thousand words". the meanings each refer to a different angle. when you see the stark picture, a simple painting, when you say the words of shma, you know that you have therein everything possible, you are tapping into the mnotherload. every layer is inside. you have it.

when you move an arm, youre employing myriads of muscles and systems and senses. do you know how it al works? no. but theyre more real than if you knew from a textbook inside out the mechanisms.


Mushk said...


You have more than just the Chassidus to "blame", you must also blame yourself.

Chassidus allows insights into what was once thought of as the mundane, yet you too are choosing to see deeper.

Many, I am sure would have overseen the depths of R' Stroch's comment, yet to you, you noticed something much deeper, more real.

You are looking for the answers Mim, finding meaning in all you can. And that is a beautiful thing.

Chassidus may have grabbed hold of you, but you grabbed it right back.

Don't let go Mim.


Saad said...

Wow, Mushky, your words are inspiring me. Beautifully expressed.



Mimi said...

Nechama: Thank you. You make me smile. I love having your support. :)

Anonymous: Wow. Thanks for taking the time to totally jump into my post! Loved the (helpful)perspective. I'd love to discuss more...

Mushk: Welcome to the blogging world! Thanks for the comment, my dear sister. Your words are totally drilling and real..and I need to hear them.

Saad: You're are to my blog like the bum that constantly hangs outside the coffee shop - and I love it.

Mommy said...

Hey I also want to be apart of this crazy blogging world.

Your passion and love for Torah and Chassidus are so inspiring. May your blood be transfused by Chassidus and may we all merit the coming of Moshiach Now!

Altie said...

that really hit home. my favorite word s 'whatever'. i always say though that its such a cover up word, to get away with saying wut u really mean. instead its just, 'wtvr'.
and all that u said abt chassidus is so true. sometimes i just want it all. and when i realize 'all' is waaay too much, then i say, 4get it, and tak nothing. wrong aproach.
gave me something to think abt.