::This fellow basically repeats all of the standard anti-Torah garbage sold by the extreme left-wing of Modern Orthodoxy, i.e. that Chassidus (a "style of strict, superstitious Judaism") was a break from the true "rationalist" Judaism of the "Geonim" and "Spanish rishonim" (the reference to Spain is very deliberate, as it leaves out the purportedly "anti-rationalist" Baalei Tosafos and their "ilk"). ::
1 - Does LAZAR disagree that chasidut opposes (ie: is a break from) the Spanish Rishonim on questions like the value of Kabbala, magic, superstition and the role of rationalism in Judaism?
ANSWER: if he does, he is an ignoramus. Chasidut and the Spanish Rishonim are not in accord on these an similar issues.
2 - Does LAZAR think the Spanish Rishonim were anti-Torah?
ANSWER: It looks like it. Though maybe he only thinks that people who rely on the Spanish Rishonim for matters of hashkafa are anti-Torah. If the RAMBAN lived today perhaps LAZAR would not consider him anti-torah, but it appears that LAZAR would consider the RAMBAN'S talmidim to be anti-torah.
3 - Does LAZAR think the Baalei Tosafos and their "ilk" were rationalists? They were many things - including sages, authentic Jews, and great mean - but they certainly were not "rationalists." LAZAR seems not to "get" this.
4 - Does LAZAR think that the Ashkenaz Rishonim and the Spanish Rishonim were in accord on matters of hashkofa and theology?
ANSWER: I think he must. Bizzare.
5 - Can LAZAR digest that authentic Judaism can exist on both sides of the rationalist vs. anti-rationalist divide?
ANSWER: It seems this idea is too difficult for him. It seems he imagines that all "real" Jews think, act, and dress alike. Perhaps LAZAR needs a break from Flatbush.
6 - Does LAZAR object to Rager's descriptiion of hasidut as "strict and superstitious?" Does he live in a strange and mysterious parralel world where the hasdim except leniancies, and discount superstitions???? Can I come visit it? Sounds marvelous.