But upon second glance, I feel I didn't emphasize one aspect enough.
Part of our God-given framework is the type of avodat Hashem we were either born into or adopted later on.
The reason why there are a variety of Chassidic groups and even divergent paths among non-Chassidic Ashkenazim is because Hashem WANTS there to be--just like He wanted there to be different Tribes with different tafkidim and even different pronunciations (like Shevet Efrayim and their pronunciation of "shin" as "sin.")
Hashem WANTS there to be Sefardim--and among Sefardim, Hashem WANTS there to be Bucharian ways, Yemenite ways, Moroccan ways, and more.
There are even differing levels among tzaddikim:
- You have a person defined as a tzaddik because his good deeds outweigh & outnumber his sins.
- Then you have a tzaddik who hardly sins at all.
- Then you have a tzaddik who hardly sins at all and is an active miracle-worker or someone with genuine ruach hakodesh.
But the highest level of tzaddik does not mean that the minimum standard of tzaddik is nothing.
Such a person is still very precious, both to Hashem and to the merit of our Nation!
The Fiery Danger of Denigrating ANY Gadol
But I must tell you that I disagree with the attitude of being mivatel, of putting down, someone else’s gadol.
No; I disagree with that attitude.
Gedolim can be here and Gedolim can be there, and we have to appreciate all of them. Your Gadol doesn’t have to be the only Gadol.
And even though there might be a machlokes, a disagreement, between them; yes, there may be a machlokes between them, but we should stay out of it.
It’s fire! Worse than fire! We shouldn’t say a word. Not a word!
(Source: TAPE #901)
Okay, Fine. I Don't Put Down Other Groups or Their Gadolim, But How Do I Respond When THEY Act Like THEY'RE Superior?
And if they consider themselves superior, so we can ask the same question:
Why is it that most non-Lubavitcher chassidim consider themselves superior to Lubavitcher chassidim? Why do Breslover chassidim consider themselves superior to Lubavitcher chassidim? And why do Satmerer chassidim consider themselves superior to Breslover chassidim?
And the answer is that all idealists who follow certain systems, they do it because they think it’s the best system – otherwise they’d follow a different system. It’s common sense!
What should a man be a Lubavitcher if he thinks something else is better? Why should a non-Lubavitcher be non-Lubavitcher unless he thinks that it’s better.
All idealists follow the system they follow because they think it’s the best.
Now, who is going to be the arbiter and say who is the best? Moshiach will come, and in order to keep peace between everybody, he’ll say, “You’re all the best!”
And the truth is that they are all the best.
But right now, it’s not really a question if the Lubavitcheh feel superior, because if you ask a litvishe yeshiva bochur, he feels he’s superior.
Ask a Satmarer and he feels he’s superior.
And go into a sefardisheh yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel, go into Porat Yosef, and he’s knows that he’s superior too.
Everyone is superior.
And the answer is that’s how idealists have to be. No idealist will do something that he thinks is not superior.
(Source: TAPE # 271)
Why Do We Need All These Groups Anyway?
What’s the benefit of different types of servants of Hashem?
Who needs chassidim and misnagdim and sefardim?
Wouldn’t it have been better if we all walked together on one path towards Hakodosh Boruch Hu?
So I always say: Why is it that you’ll find in the supermarket clover honey and orange blossom honey and buckwheat honey? There are at least ten varieties of honey! Who needs it?!
And the answer is that it makes life more delectable! Variety is a pleasure!
After all, Hakodosh Boruch Hu could have given us nothing but red delicious apples. Let’s say you’d pass a fruit stand and all you would see is bins and bins of red delicious apples.
Now, red delicious apples are a treat; we can’t complain about them, but how much more fun it is when we have ten different kinds of apples!
And even better, to have tens and tens of varieties of fruit. It’s much more fun when you can choose from a wide variety of good things.
And therefore, there are all kinds of methods of serving Hashem, each one that has been cultivated by Hashem Himself, by the separation of kehillos.
Sometimes a person can choose one method and stick to it always. Or sometimes you can choose from the fruit store of the different shevatim.
Sometimes you’ll choose something from the Gerrer, another thing you’ll take from Lakewood, something you’ll pick from Lubavitch, something you’ll take from Belz, and something else you’ll nosh from Satmer. And so on.
Every shevet had something to contribute. You can be sure that there are a lot of delightful fruit in all of these various places that help the Am Yisroel in its avodas Hashem.
Everybody is helping out!
Some kehillos brought to the Am Yisroel the great benefits of mussar to the Am Yisroel, while other kehillos brought chassidus.
From some communities we learn to be kanaaim for the truth and others impress us with their hasmadah in limud hatorah or gemillas chasodim.
I myself have learned from one group of Jews in Flatbush what it means to be michabeid talmidei chachomim.
Because there’s no end to the variety of paths that the Am Yisroel walk toward the One Hashem and there’s what to learn from everyone.
Now I’m not going to tell you what’s best. Someone asked me, what does Hakodosh Boruch Hu want from me? Am I supposed to be chassidish, or litvish or what?
Now that’s some big order. He wants me to make enemies, the one who asked me that question.
Hashem wants you to be the best that you can be.
Some people can be their best if they’re chassidish.
Some people can be their best if they’re litvish.
Other people can be their best if they’re sefardi.
It’s like asking – “What is the best diet for all of mankind?”
The best type of diet depends on each individual person. People are different.
Some people are so different that their diets are radically different.
So whatever it is that you choose, you should make it a principle in your life to always choose whatever it is that will give you the most success in life – and success in this world means preparing for the Next World.
(Source: Parshas Beshelach: Learning to Love All Types of Jews)