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01297-- Write a note on Eastern European Orthodoxy [Judaism].


Hassidism was the reform or renewal movement of Eastern Europe that promoted individual piety and devotional posture while maintaining halachic commitment.
        1. The figure associated with the founding of Hassidism is Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, the “good master of the name” (1700–1760).
        2. One of the essential claims of Hassidism is that religious virtue is not a monopoly of those most learned in the Talmud and traditional Jewish literature. Love for and devotion to God can be expressed beyond Talmud Torah.
        3. Hassidism was a popular movement that greatly simplified the Kabbalah, while still preaching divine immanence, and appealed to the masses of Eastern Europe.
        4. Although for the first three generations of Hassidism, leadership was in the hands of charismatic individuals called tzaddikim, by the 19th century, leadership became largely dynastic.
        5. Each tzaddik imprinted his own personality on his Hassidim. Some, such as the Ba’al Shem Tov, emphasized divine service through joy, song, and dance. Others, like the Kotsker, demanded soul searching and purity of intention.

   The Mitnagdim (opponents of Hassidism) were skeptical of this new mystical movement, especially given that it contained a handful of halachic innovations and challenged the supremacy of Talmud.
        1. The last popular mystical movement, that of the false Messiah Shabbatei Tsvi, was still an open wound.
        2. Initially, there were mutual recriminations between these groups, but they eventually perceived that they were better served as allies against their common foes.

    Today, we use the term Haredi (quakers) to include what we have called the Hungarian Ultra-Orthodox, the Eastern European Hassidim and their opponents, the Mitnagdim.
        1. Easily recognizable by their black garb, the Haredim tend to live in a few cities in the United States, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, and Israel.
        2. Among the most famous sects in Haredi Judaism are the Lubavitch (also known as Chabad), the Ger, and the Bratslav.
[Courtesy: Professor Shai Cherry]

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