Hassidic thought is a journey into the spirit in the deepest possible sense. Not satisfied with mere theory, the Hassidic masters taught how to make the most sublime mysteries of Kabbalah an integral part of life. The ideas found in their published works were meant to make the soul soar to the loftiest heights and give the individual a taste of the Divine. Although many books have been written on Hassidism, to date nothing has been written about the great ideas of the Hassidic masters. Only too often, these masters have been presented as naive, simple, almost childlike individuals, who could, at best, tell an interesting story or produce a sharp bon mot. In this book, for the first time, we see the words of the masters, and we find a well developed Jewish philosophy. Largely based on Kabbalah, it deals with all the classical questions of Jewish philosophy, such as the nature of G-d, the purpose of creation, the role of man, the mission of Israel, and the goal of the commandments. But instead of dry philosophical answers, the masters present insights that can help each individual in the quest of the divine. When the first Hassidic work was published 1780, it brought about a revolution in spirit. The idea were so lofty and pure that they drew the soul like a magnet, lifting it on wings of holiness. Even today, these ideas can infuse new spiritual life into any person who reads them.
by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan