Chassidism 2
Moshe Ben-Chaim
Readers' critique on "Chassidism" article:
"The Gra was given the most vicious lies and misinformation by the enemies of the Jewish people. Based on what he heard, he made the charem.
The bulk of those who call themselves chassidic today are very different from the early chasidim of the gra's period. Yes, they do have a few crazies. Lubavitch extremists are a scar. However, I would not apply the Gra's statement to the typical Chassidic movement of today. I would not say that The Chassidic movement as a whole, as the Gra held, is not a part of Judaism."
Mesora Response:
It is ridiculous to believe that the Gra, or any chocham, would make decisions, let alone charamos, merely based on non validated information. To assume that wrong information reached the Gra means to say that the Gra he was isolated from society and had no means to validate information. I ask you, perhaps if you hold the Gra could be fooled, so YOU too can be fooled (by this statement of yours), and in fact, the Gra DID have correct informaton. Where else do we see such an argument lodged? According to your reasoning, you must say it is equally possible that the Chassidim as a whole are being fooled by the Besht, and he never did miracles. You must admit this.
You also assume that Rav Yaakov Emden, the Nodah B'Yehuda, and many other communities who made similar charamos were all isolated from the real world, and based their charamos on few informants who were really wrong.
Understand how untenable your suggestion is. Don't you know about halachos of drisha v'chakira? Do you think these great minds would casually make charamos without verification? Your statement is not thought out, and it is an attempt to deny history.
Keep the following in mind:
1) Many still believe in miracle workers today, and this is not a few crazies. (See Saadia Gaon's rebuke of this belief "Emunos V'Daaos")
2) Many still believe the Besht did miracles. (See above)
3) Many still alter halacha.
4) Many dress pious outwardly to grab attention to themselves which is wrong (see Tzfania, 1:8 , see the last "yaish omrim" in the Radak).
5) The Besht himself was on overindulger of food(3), not the Torah's view of a chocham.
6) Chassidus has at its core, even today, the belief that God permeates all physical beings. Completely against the authentic Maimonidean principle that God is not physical.(1) It also promotes the incorrect notion that there is good, even in sin, "even in sin are sparks of good". This is completely against God's own words throughout the Torah of avoiding sin.
7) Chassidus promotes descension into sin by a tzaddik in order to facilitate "ascension".
Until atleast these last two grave errors are abandoned from Chassidus, all bans enacted by the Gra and the leaders of that era remain intact, as these were the Gra's main objections.
The Gra was adamant about preserving Judaism. The new uprising of Chassidism was a distortion and a cancer on the pure system of Torah passed down unadulterated throughout the generations.
A movement today which embodies the name of Chassidim of old, displays that the adherents cherish the values of the original movement. Otherwise they would go by another name. This attitude of fondly accepting Chassidism, even if not fully practiced, was viewed by the Gra, Yaakove Emden, Nodah B'Yehuda, and many communities as dangerous. It can reactivate, and therefore there must be precautions.
Reader's Question: What's the proof that Moshe Rabbeinu didn't have the ideas of Chassidim?
Mesora Response: What is the proof that George Washington didn't have a computer? This question is not on the one holding that he didn't have a computer, but the burden of proof is on the one holding that George Washington did have a computer. It is suggesting something new, and less probable.
When less likely facts are suggested, those are the facts which need support. I don't have to prove that Moshe didn't have
Chassidus, as Chassidus historically was thousands of years after Moshe. The burden of proof is on those who hold that Moshe did have chassidus. In truth, the question is as ridiculous as asking one to disprove George Washington having had a computer.

To see sources documented, see "The Hasidic Movement and the Gaon of Vilna", written by Elijah Judah Schochet, Jason Aaronson Publishers.
(1) Ibid, page 66
(2) Ibid, page 68
(3) Ibid, page 67

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