Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Question On Today's Spirituality

I have been wondering for a while why Breslov has become so popular in recent years. More or less concurrently with the J-Blogger convention I came up with a working hypothesis. The more society becomes Facebook or equivalent, with everybody in your face everywhere, the more people long to go off and meditate in the forest. Thesis-antithesis. I hope this is a good talking point for readers. Maybe we'll get some good comments.

8 comments:

Batya said...

goyish, davka, on Shabbat Rav Brom, Rosh Yeshiva Yeshivat Hesder Shiloh, spoke about Bretzlev on Shabbat to the Shiur Nashim.
The real BR. chassidim aren't the singing, dancing and meditating. There heavy learning.

Anonymous said...

Hitbodedut is anything but goyish.

I have done so a few times in my life - just me and the RBS"O.

Nothing to do with Breslev or Chasidut.

I'm not commenting on singing and dancing, which have their place and time. So, too, meditation. I don't think I've tried meditating since junior high. :)

I believe the popularity of these groups is due to the self-satisfying feel-good benefits of a quick spiritual and emotional high. U'mitoch sheh'lo lishmah, bah lishmah!

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
I've also read and heard that the draw is the spiritual high. I could be that the reputation a certain segment of BR hassidim have for singing and not seriously learning - which is not what Rebbe Nachman intended - draws youth who don't want to put much effort into their Judaism.
Rav Bar-Hayim commented in one of his classes that it was a shame that meditation is getting a reputation of being associated only with hassidut. Meditation should be a part of every Jew's life.
The set prayers are an answer to a weakness in the general situation of the entire Jewish people, not a given.

goyisherebbe said...

Thanks for your comments. Meditating, singing and dancing are good in the appropriate place and time, but it should be obvious that they are not a substitute for learning Torah. An ignorant person cannot attain real piety. But the point I was really trying to make is that as the Rambam says, we have to have balance. When the world is Facebooking and Twittering us to distraction, we need to take a time out and be alone with Hashem. After that you can be more balanced and return to the world in a more constructive way, like learning Torah with a hevruta.

Keli Ata said...

I think a lot of people are searching for more intimacy with Hashem; not to mention privacy in a world virtually devoid of it.

Look around--no more real phone booths. Everything is open. Cell phones are another intrusion into one's privacy.

And, hate to say it, but I have a friend who stopped going to shul because there was too much talking at times he felt certain required silence.

He knows a great deal about the Torah and Talmud but somehow all the talking at his shul has caused him to question whether G-d exists. Possibly because he doesn't feel the intimacy with Hashem, I don't know.


Still, Hitbodedut isn't a substitute for worship and praise in a synagogue and keeping commitments to Hashem by regular worship. We still need that as well as study.

Very interesting post, BTW:)

josh said...

A bit of ignorance here and an attempt to correct it though.

IMO, Breslov happiness has become popular simply because the religious do not seem to make Judaism more attractive. The media has brainwashed many into thinking that the settlers (national religious) and Haredim are fringe lunatics. White kippahed Breslov on the other hand are considered lunatics, but at least they are happy, and most people are not.

Like said before, Breslov is certainly not only dancing and handing out booklets, and this is only one small/minority aspect of Breslov.

goyisherebbe said...

Shy Guy,
Nobody said hitbodedut is goyish. Batya was just addressing me in my capacity as the Goyisher Rebbe. That is a little bit of a joke, but it comes from my having been involved for years as a Jewish advisor and supporter of Bnai Noach.

goyisherebbe said...

Shy Guy,
Nobody said hitbodedut is goyish. Batya was just addressing me in my capacity as the Goyisher Rebbe. That is a little bit of a joke, but it comes from my having been involved for years as a Jewish advisor and supporter of Bnai Noach.