Intellectual and Spiritual Fascination with (Chabad) Hasidism

Thought it's about four decades since I first took an interest in Judaism and about 12 years since I officially joined the club, it's only about a year ago that I became interested in Hasidism. I as a student in the school of life had to become ready so that my "teacher" might appear. In the meanwhile my interest in the teachings of Hasidism in general and of Chabad in particular has grown so much that I've decide to take a course in Chabad Hasidic psychology at a Jerusalem school (Torat Hanefesh School of Jewish Psychology) whose dean is Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a leading world authority on Kabbalah and (Chabad) Hasidism. My fascination is intellectual and spiritually, and has nothing to do with any religious dogmatism or fanaticism.

Though I've only started having glimpses and a taste of (Chabad) Hasidism, my intellectual and spiritual appetite to know more only grows day by day. I'm witnessing the same familar patter of myself repeating itself - when I become really fascinated with something (and often someone, too), I have to know and learn everything possible about it. Some time ago I stopped buying print books, but since I started learning (Chabad) Hasidism systematically, one section of my library of print books has started growing.

What fascinates me in particular about Chabad Hasidism is Tanya. I was first introduced to this classic several years ago by one Chabad rabbi I had become acquainted with in the Jewish community of Kobe a year before when he took me to the "Ohel" during my visit to New York. When he invited me to read the beginning of the book in khavruse or a traditional Jewish manner of pair study, it was neither intelligible nor appealing to me at all. Now it's the book I devote more intellectual and spiritual energy of mine into than any other book not only for myself but for incorporating its teachings into my new, helping, profession I'm learning separately during this sabbatical. Next week I'm also starting to study Tanya in my weekly khavruse with my haredi rabbi-cum-mentor.