The World Around Us through the Lens of Chassidus

Fraida Raskin
Creative 2020 / Finalists

The word for glasses in Hebrew is (משקפיים) Mishkafayim

This shares a root with the word in Hebrew for outlook or perspective, (השקפה) Hashkafa. 

Hashkafa also refers to our worldview and guiding philosophy. It is a perspective and outlook on life that works in conjunction with Halacha, the laws and commandments derived from Torah that direct and enrich the day to day life of observant Jews. 

Our Hashkafah defines many aspects of our lives, and as Chabad Chassidim, this outlook is tempered with the lessons and guiding principles as defined by the Alter Rebbe in his seminal work of Chassidic Philosophy, the Tanya, and many other works by the Chabad Rebbeim that followed in his lead. 

I drew my own hands for this particular drawing, referencing the idea that I have been through many challenges in my life so far and have come to the realization that my perspective and outlook on life, is truly in my hands, and this can change everything. In addition, all these experiences have moulded and shaped me into the person I have become, and I am infinitely better for it. 

The tree in my drawing looks like a normal tree, but when viewed through the proper outlook, the glasses of Chassidus, you can clearly see the words “אין עוד מלבדו” winding their way around the pattern of the bark.  

The chopped down tree stumps in the background represent the different life challenges and issues that I have encountered in my life, that have caused me to stumble and fall at times. These are the times in my life that I failed to look at the world with the right perspective, that “there is nothing but Him [Hashem]”. On these occasions I gave up, lost hope, and felt I was ‘chopped down’ so to speak. 

The Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Chassidism, explains that “There is nothing but Him” helps us to understand that there is nothing to be afraid of, that all of these challenges too, come from Hashem, and there is a reason that everything happens the way it does. (לקוטי שיחות חכד ע‘ ,שער היחוד והאמונה

We are currently in Golus (exile), and it is often hard to see things clearly, and with the proper perspective. So many outside pressures and influences try as hard as they can to skew the proper path and twist our outlook and perspective on life. In addition, the many challenges we face can often make things blurry and unclear for us, hiding the G-dliness, and disrupting the way we live our lives, preventing us from following the right path.

We are so fortunate to have been given the teachings of Chassidus as the perfect pair of glasses – Mishkafayim – to enhance and sharpen our Hashkafah – our perspective on life. Chassidus helps us to see the world with 20/20 vision, understanding that nothing and no-one can exist or function, without G-d willing it to be – אין עוד מלבדו! 

In this way, we can relax, we don’t have to worry, because no matter how big our problems may be, or how blurred our path is at this point in time, G-d is bigger and brighter than we can possibly imagine. 

The world, when viewed through the lens of Chassidus, is a better, brighter and clearer place for us all!