The fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer, once exclaimed:
“What is the purpose of Chassidus?
If the purpose is fear of Heaven and good character traits, then one need not learn Chassidus, as one can learn the book Reishis Chochma, which focuses on developing fear of Heaven.
If one wants to study philosophy, one can learn the works of Rabbi Moshe Cordevero, which is a philosophy based upon the principles of Kabbalah.
Rather, what is our wish with the study of Chassidus? To experience G-dliness—G-dliness can only be experienced through the study of Chassidus.”
(Based on a Sicha from the first day of Sukos, 5704)