Thursday, July 9, 2015

Extreme Hotspots - Kivrei Tzadikim In Contemporary Neo-Chasidus

Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, Yeshiva University mashpia, and Rabbi of Cong. Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, recently traveled with a group of his followers to burial sites of Chasidic leaders in Europe, before continuing on to the land of Israel.

In one of his talks during the trip, at the grave of the founder of the Chasidic movement, which was recently featured prominently (at the landing page, first page you see when visiting the site) at, he stated (11:40-) (reading from a writeup related to a R. Yosef Dayan of Eretz Yisrael) that

"One hour of Torah and tefillah at the burial site of a tzadik, he used to say, is equivalent to hundreds of such hours in a Beis HaMedrash."

Rabbi Weinberger is viewed as the leader of the neo-Chasidus movement, so his words are significant.

A few things strike me as particularly significant about the statement - 1) the statement is not qualified, e.g. if a person is at the highest level, prepared for the experience thoroughly, but is given as a blanket statement, 2) in addition to the extremely high multiplier effect claimed, the mere fact of quantifying the matter, 3) the mention of learning at the site, in addition to davening.

Is this in line with mainstream Chasidic theology nowadays?

It comes across as quite extreme, even for Chasidim. Do other Chasidim nowadays make such statements? It is one thing to say that praying at such places is powerful, but to quantify such claims, saying they are hundreds of times more powerful than doing the same things elsewhere? Not doubly as powerful, thrice as powerful, or four times as powerful. Hundreds of times as powerful. That is quite a claim.

I suspect that in this, as well as with some other things, neo-Chasidus is outdoing much, if not all, of old Chasidus.

It is not Rav Soloveitchik's Modern Orthodoxy for sure.

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