Our Rabbi & The Chasidic Movement

Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook

A Chasidic Rabbi wanted to influence a young student to become part of the Chasidic movement. The student came to speak with our Rabbi, who dedicated eight personal discussions to him, the conclusion of which is that one should learn Chasidic books, but not become a Chasid. This is on account of four reasons:
1. Torah takes precedence over prayer, and in the Chasidic movement there is a tendency to reverse the proper order.
2. They teach the secrets of Torah in public even to one who is not worthy.
3. Spiritual leaders must be Torah scholars, and it is impossible – for example – for the young son of a Chasidic Rebbe to be transformed easily into the Rebbe, and subsequently ask an elderly Torah scholar who comes to be blessed by him: What about your fear of heaven? [This statement is based on an incident of the writer Micha Yosef Berdichevsky. He learned at the Volozhin Yeshiva with Maran Ha-Rav Kook, and Maran Ha-Rav had doubts whether his outward religious appearance were matched by his inner religious conviction. When he asked about it, Berdichevesky answered that in his youth, he accompanied his grandfather, who was a Torah scholar, to a young Chasidic Rebbe, who asked his grandfather in Yiddish about his level of fear of heaven.]
4. There are different types of joy. There is one kind of joy based upon purity and holiness, and another which derives from "frolicking" and drinking a "L'Chaim".