Monday, January 24, 2005

Someone Else's Traditions

Following the advice of Rabbi Brody, I have made some changes in my daily lerning schedule. I stopped lerning Tanya and began lerning Likutey Etzos. Once I finish Rambam's Mishneh Torah I will also start lerning Mishnah Berurah. In the mean time, I am supplementing Rambam with some Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.

These changes are in addition to my daily schedule of lerning Chumash with Rashi, Gemara, Tehillim, and Degel Machaneh Ephraim.

I came to the realization that over the years I had adopted many Chabad minhagim by mere osmosis - minhagim down to how I put on tefillin. I adopted these in the absence of minhagim taught to me by my parents. Lately, I realized that my adopted Chabad minhagim just didn't fit anymore. My heritage is from a tiny shtetl in Ukraine, not from White Russia, not from the shtetl of Lubavitch.

I am not writing this to denigrate the minhagim of Chabad. If a person comes from a Lubavitch family, these minhagim are indeed his heritage and what he should proudly follow. I am writing with the recent realization that these are, however, someone else's traditions.

Genealogy and Yiddishkeit go together hand in hand. For this reason I have stopped lerning Tanya and putting on tefillin according to the Chabad minhag. Doing otherwise would be intellectually dishonest.

--
Be careful to perpetuate the custom of your fathers that is in your hands.

(Talmud - Beitza 4b)

11 Comments:

At January 24, 2005 at 7:45:00 PM EST, Blogger Akiva said...

My Dearest Friend (though we've never met),
I am envious of you having found the path of your fathers. If you have been able to find the path, there is no doubt you are obligated to follow it.

While I understand the urge and excitement to dive right in to the path of your fathers, I don't understand why "learning Tanya...would be intellectually dishonest"?

This is Torah and that is Torah. I have been fortunate to learn Tanya and some of Nefesh HaChaim (the litvishe' comparison with Tanya). Now I'm fortunate to be learning a little of the Torah of Breslov chassidus.

I have met many chassidim, Viznitz and even Satmar who have learned Tanya and Likutay Torah and had much to discuss about it.

Ok, don't learn Tanya because that's part of the daily learning schedule for Chabad chassidim. It is, however, a source of unique insights into the tasks of the soul.

 
At January 24, 2005 at 9:28:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If a person comes from a Lubavitch family, these minhagim are indeed his heritage and what he should proudly follow."

I would add, or if they choose to live in a Lubavitch community. The same would apply to any other Jewish group; insert group of choice for Lubavitch.

As a complete aside, the extreme form of basing ones minhogim on genealogy would be to revert to the Yiddishkeit of Moshe Rabbeinu's times, or the Gemara - find the latest time period when all minhogim were kept by all Jews. Would that be dangerous?

 
At January 24, 2005 at 9:29:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At January 24, 2005 at 9:29:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At January 25, 2005 at 6:39:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Akiva:

Thank you for your thoughts on learning Tanya. I do realize that this is a sefer intended for all Klal Israel and that other rebbes such as Rebbe Zusia of Anapol gave haskamos for the sefer. I have gone through it a few times - by no means as deeply as I should - however, I have been trying to explore other Chassidic seforim outside of the world of Chabad. I appreciate Chabad's beauty, but I appreciate it from the outside, not from the insiders perspective - something I will never have.

You wrote that Tanya "is a source of unique insights into the tasks of the soul". I couldn't agree with you more. I am just putting it aside for the time being.

 
At January 25, 2005 at 6:41:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Anonymous:

You raised a valid question, unfortunately I don't have an answer.

Nevertheless, thank you for posting.

 
At January 30, 2005 at 10:17:00 PM EST, Blogger DovBear said...

Kol Hakovod, SJ.

You've done the right thing. The misnagdim on your family tree are breathing a sigh of relief.

The old ways are the best way, I always say, and for this Ashkenazic Jew, the Tanya and the Hasidic practices are still much too new.

DovBear

 
At January 31, 2005 at 3:26:00 PM EST, Blogger High_m said...

My grandfather ob"m also came from a shtetl in Ukraine, and from Podolya. Nevertheless he told me that in his shtetel there were only two customs - Sadiger and Lubavitch...

 
At February 9, 2005 at 5:26:00 PM EST, Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

By saying tanya is Lubavitch you have advertised the lie of two houses .
1]litvakas in their small mindedness and don't know any better
2]Chaba'd in their selfihness have hoarded the Alter rebba
3]the Mishna Berura [no white russian] quotes him for halachic purposes on almost every page ,proving all 3 of my points one RS"Z ZT"L is not exclusive lububvitch ,litvakas can learn his works and where you are from(in the chafetz chaims case radin) has no bearing on what you learn because when it comes to learning torah all of this nonsense is just that nonsense you have to do as NIKE says just do it !!
PS Dov bear im surprised at you a modern foward fellow such as yourself buying into that yeshivish crap Rav yosha Ber Soloveichik gave shuir in the Alter rebbas likkutai torah for years every friday and according to rabbi h.Schter the Rav davend nussach Ari chabad

 
At June 30, 2005 at 2:19:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DEAR YID --IF YOU HAD LEARNED TANYA PROPERLY -THEN YOU WOULD HAVE REALIZED THAT YOUR DILEMMAS WERE THE ONLY WORK OF THE GENIUS -THE YETZER HARA.AS TO WHICH MINHAG YOU USE FOR YOUR TEFILLIN IT IS NEITHER HERE NOR THERE.IT IS VITAL FOR PEACE OF MIND TO INTERNALISE YOUR LEARNING AND DAVENING AND HENCE BE A LIVING EXAMPLE OF EVERYTHING YOU LEARN,AND TO HAVE WHEREVER POSSIBLE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FAMILY.
WITH RESPECT
DOVID

 
At January 27, 2006 at 6:35:00 AM EST, Anonymous Aviel said...

The nusach of Chabad is not more according to the Arizal then any siddur that is nusach sefard. The difference lies in the name. The Baal ha-Tanya picked the version of nusach Sefard that he favoured best and did some changes and that's the history of "nusach al pi haAri" or whatever was the name.

 

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