The secrets from the inner meaning of Torah form the soul of the Chasidic movement’s thought. They inspire, revive, and inflame Jewish souls with a passion to constantly increase observance and devotion. For more than two centuries it has inoculated millions against the ravages of secularism and preserved the spiritual life of the Jewish nation. Chasidus emerged as a protection from the storm winds of modernity.
Today’s Jewish community might benefit from a new look at the Chasidic movement’s beginnings and reflections. Even those Jews who fulfill their religious obligations frequently perform rituals in a lifeless and superficial way. Were we to discover the depth and soulful vitality that fill Chasidic literature, a renewed passion might flame our faltering Jewish experience with the warmth of Torah. Unfortunately, for many of my contemporary American Jews, access to the gem-stones of the Chasidim has been denied. Chasidic works are overwhelmingly in Hebrew, and few good translations exist. This book provides an introduction to the basic terms and ideas of Chasidic texts. It is written for the interested lay reader who may be new to Torah study, as well as the yeshiva student who is knowledgeable about Biblical narratives and Talmudic law but may be new to the world of Chasidus.