Highlighting Our Own: The chance to join an in-depth shiur on a ma’amar or a farbrengen with a renowned mashpia is now accessible anytime, anywhere, thanks to the efforts of one man, and his YouTube channel.
By: Anash.org reporter
Not so long ago, the experience of joining a genuine chassidishe farbrengen or a shiur with a renowned mashpia was a precious commodity, hard to come by. That is thankfully changing, thanks to one individual and his YouTube channel.
Growing up in the Chassidic community in Monsey, Rabbi Shlomo Zalmen Friedman watched his father go learn Chabad chassidus at Heichal Menachem and was inspired. As he went to learn in Eretz Yisroel, he also got the opportunity to attend the farbrengens of renowned mashpi’im Rabbi Chaim Sholom Deitch, Rabbi Zalman Gopin, and Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Ofen.
During that time, he got close with Rabbi Deitsch who launched the Chasidut.net website to publicize his shiurim and farbrengens. The shiurim were immensely popular, and he would sometimes have 1,000 live viewers join in at a farbrengen. Rabbi Friedman saw the outstanding impact the shiurim had on people and decided to take the idea further. He began getting involved in recording the farbrengens and shiurim of all the many other mashpi’im in Eretz Yisroel at the time and posting them on the site. Such, the seed of the Chassidus YouTube Channel was planted.
“When I moved back to America, I realized the huge lack of in-depth shiurim available online. If someone wanted to learn a ma’amar in-depth or listen to a genuine farbrengen of great mashpi’im, there wasn’t much available,” shares Rabbi Friedman.
“I felt so motivated and inspired by what I had seen so far with the Chasidut.net website, that I wanted to make that available to more people. I started to record the shiurim and ma’amarim in Bais Menachem in Boro Park which Reb Yoel Kahn would give every week. He gave a Thursday ma’amar shiur and a Motzei Shabbos one on Tanya. I also began recording Rabbi Shlomo Kaplan at his Likkutei Torah and Derech Mitzvosecha classes as well. I would upload those to a new YouTube channel simply called ‘Chassidus.'”
Rabbi Friedman then added Reb Yoel’s shiurim he gave in the upstairs zal in 770 and many of his farbrengens as well as farbrengens by Rabbi Pinye Korf a”h and Rabbi Yisroel Friedman a”h. All of these were recorded, edited, and posted on the Chassidus YouTube channel.
The channel kept growing, with more and more mashpi’im, shiurim, and farbrengens added all the time. It quickly gained a large following as well, with people from all around the world watching the farbrengens and listening to the shiurim.
Currently, Rabbi Friedman has a whole network of people helping him in different countries around the world. When it comes to a special day on the chassidishe calendar, it is a huge operation to coordinate multiple events in myriads of locations all over Crown Heights and worldwide. There can often be fifteen recordings happening simultaneously.
Today, Chassidus YouTube Channel is an amazing resource, with tens of thousands of hours of classes and farbrengens up on the site, easily accessible for all. It has 50,000 views monthly, and clocks in over 100,000 hours of content viewed yearly.
Anytime someone wants to learn something on a particular topic, they can find a great shiur explaining and teaching it. If someone wants a series of shiurim on a ma’amar to learn as a preparation for a chassidishe yom tov that is approaching, or participate in a farbrengen about that special day, they can readily choose from multiple classes and series from known teachers such as Rabbi Yoel Kahan a”h, Rabbi Meilich Tzwiebel a”h, Rabbi Pinye Korf a”h, Rabbi Yisroel Friedman a”h, and yblch”t Rabbi Chaim Sholom Deitsch, Rabbi Shlomo Zarchy, Rabbi Laibel Altein, Rabbi Nachman Shapiro, and many more.
In times past, these invaluable shiurim and farbrengens would have been a one-time event. The channel is making that even after the shiur concluded, or the farbrengen dispersed, people can continue viewing and enjoying them. Indeed, it will leave an impact that is felt for many generations.
One group of people who especially benefit from the classes are the shluchim, many of whom find themselves in communities and cities that are far from where live events take place. It is a way for them to access the chassidishe farbrengens and inspiring mashpi’im that they otherwise couldn’t, and enables them to learn with the guidance of teachers right from home.
“The Chassidus YouTube channel changed my life. The things I am learning there completely turnaround my whole view of Torah and mitzvos, and impacts me in a way that nothing else does,” shares a very grateful shliach.
“I am so indebted to the people who are taking the time to make sure all of these valuable farbrengens are recorded and publicized. Especially now, when some of the great chassidim of the last generation are passing, it is a gift like no other that I can go on the channel and instantly connect and listen to inspiring farbrengens from elter chassidim of past,” shares another bochur.
The influence of the classes has moved beyond the channel and has far-reaching effects as well. Many of the farbrengens have been transcribed into articles for the Kfar Chabad, and a few books were compiled from the classes that were posted there. Hisva’adus is a compilation of farbrengens by Rabbi Chaim Sholom Deitsch, that was created off of the recordings from the Chassidus YouTube channel.
Each of the recordings requires someone to set up and manage the equipment, make sure it remains charged and running for the hours of the event, and then edit and upload the footage to YouTube. This is a tremendous operation and it does a huge service for Chassidim and Yidden around the world.
“Our next project is to hopefully make a beautiful website of our own, to put up all the content and have clear categories and search engines so that people can quickly and smoothly find what they are looking for,” says Rabbi Friedman.
To access the channel, you can go to YouTube.com/@chassidus.