When Rabbi Boruch Hertz asked Simcha Kanter to prepare a maamar in English for Chicago anash, he didn’t know that he was starting a revolution in anash learning materials.
The Simply Chassidus program (simplychassidus.com) began five years ago as a local project for Anash in Chicago after taking a community-wide Simchas Torah hachlata to increase in the learning of the Rebbe’s maamarim.
At the height of this farbrengen, Rabbi Baruch Hertz, the Rov of Bnei Ruven and the broader Anash community in Chicago, encouraged all members of the community – both men and women – to learn one maamar of the Rebbe every month. In order to make this possible for all skill levels, he asked Simcha Kanter, a member of the local Anash community, to prepare the program materials.
Seeing that there weren’t any translations available tailored to the needs of Anash, Simcha began creating new translations of the Rebbe’s maamarim written in simple modern English that focused on clarity and comprehension rather than a literal word-for-word translation. The translations followed a “text-based shiur” format focused on explaining the meaning and structure of the maamar, as well as providing helpful background information that enhances the reader’s comprehension.
The program quickly grew in popularity across a broader audience than was originally imagined: the concepts were approachable enough for use in a Chabad House setting, but still provided enough insight and clarity to benefit experienced students of Chassidus who were able to learn the maamar directly from the Hebrew text.
From the original program in Chicago, it quickly spread to distribution online to Anash throughout the world and was distributed locally in several communities, prominently Crown Heights, Pittsburgh, Melbourne, and London.
As the popularity grew, Rabbi Fishel Oster from Oholei Torah started to review the maamarim for accuracy and clarity. Between writing, research, and editing, each maamar took more than 40 hours to prepare. Feedback on the series was very positive, with many readers commenting that the translations even brought new clarity to maamarim that they had learned in the past.
After completing more than 50 of the Rebbe’s maamarim in this format, Kehos has started working on publishing a multi-volume set of the Simply Chassidus series. Preparations will include extensive editing and review by Kehos’ editorial staff and an updated layout and design to enhance the reader’s experience.
The Simply Chassidus team is currently raising funds to cover the expenses of preparing the book for publication. On this day of Yud Kislev, take part in this incredible opportunity of hafotzas hamayonos.
Click here for a new maamar for Tes / Yud Kislev.