Likkutei Sichos - Contents


Some of the volumes of Likkutei Sichos are devoted to explaining mystical Hasidic philosophy, as it explains the weekly portion of Torah, Jewish festivals, or other ideas drawn from all aspects of traditional Jewish thought. Other talks are devoted to elucidating the "Revealed" dimensions of Judaism, such as Talmudic commentary. In this category are the celebrated "Rashi Sichos". The Medieval, French Rashi is among the most important traditional Jewish commentator on the books of the Torah, and the many volumes of Talmud. His commentary on the 5 Books of the Torah elucidates the simple meaning (p'shat), with some additional meanings from the Midrashic method, which initially appear to be utilised when the simple meaning still leaves questions.

The essential nature of Rashi's explanations on the Torah has historically drawn many sub-commentaries from leading Rabbis, who explain why Rashi says what he does. It can be said that the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Rashi Sichos perhaps represent his personally most innovative contribution to Jewish thought, out of a complete mastery and innovative teaching in all areas of Judaism. In the Rashi Sichos, Schneerson brings a new approach, that initially cites all previous sub-commentaries from earlier authorities, and then proceeds to explain why each of them falls short. Often these earlier explanations rely on Talmudic thought. He elucidates a deceptively simple explanation of Rashi that he often culminates by additionally relating his conclusions to their spiritual, mystical parallels, and practical outcomes.

It can be said that in all of Schneerson's many-dimensional scholarship, he captures the simple essence of Hasidic mysticism, and unites it with the Revealed aspects of Judaism, always seeking to bring ideas into greatest tangibility, and above all practical outcomes ("The main thing is the deed"). This reflects the essential meaning of Hasidism, which uncovers the inner spiritual meaning of Kabbalah, and seeks to bring this Divine essence down to the lowest levels. The talks represent this, as in contrast to the Maamarim (Hasidic discourses), the historically more traditional vehicle for Hasidic mysticism, in the informal Sichos (Talks), the Rebbe tends to avoid deep Kabbalistic terminology. The talks bring Hasidic thought into everyday language. This represents a culminating stage to the historical development of Hasidic thought.

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