Who is the chassid? He has fascinated the 20th century Jew and much of the non-Jewish world. He has been exhaustively researched, fictionalized, dramatized, painted and photographed in the attempt to define or capture his fervor and philosophy, his outlook and ethos, the joy and the devotion which characterize his life.

But why not ask the chassid himself? He will tell you: the chassid is a Jew. A Jew as defined by Torah. A Jew who not only refers to the Torah for guidance and inspiration, but one who lives it fully and unequivocally, from his most lofty spiritual moments to the most mundane toils of his daily grind. A Jew who in living Torah, in delving into its soul, in applying it to every facet of his being, has given us "the chassid."

There is no better way to convey the unique and often subtle "chassidic dimension" to the wisdom of Torah than to tell a story. Hence, Once Upon a Chassid — a collection of stories, anecdotes, conversations and sayings culled from the immense sea of writings, transcribed talks, letters and diaries of seven generations of Chabad-Lubavitch.