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Messianism and Hassidism 17th and 18th Centuries.

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Presentation on theme: "Messianism and Hassidism 17th and 18th Centuries."— Presentation transcript:

1 Messianism and Hassidism 17th and 18th Centuries

2 Chmielnicki, 1648 Followed the 30 years war (1618-1648) Cossack chieftain – Russian Ortodox Ukrainian peasants, Cossack warriors and Tartar horsemen – uprising against the Polish lords 9 years – S-E Poland – hundreds of thousands people were killed (nobility, catholic clergy, Jews...) Jews often burned alive inside the synagogues on mass scale (25% of Jewish population)

3 Swedish Invasion, 1655 Devastated Poland Turkish war, Russian incursions Famine, fire, epidemics

4 Recatholicisation Counter-Reformation Persecution of Protestants and Jews Witches hunts 1764 – dissolution of Vaad (The Council of Four Lands) – the golden age of Jewry and of Poland was over – Partitions of Poland to follow since 1772

5 Partitions of Poland 900 000 Jews in Poland – 10% of the total population (a relatively large number due to early marriage and lower infant mortality) 1794 – Prussia, Russia, Austria – Jews became subject to the laws of three different powers – more complex and unhappy phase – In Prussia and Austria Jews were recquired to accept Germanic surnames – Prussia – the lowest number of Jews, the poorest Jews expelled from the country, wealthy German speaking Jews lived in the cities and were encouraged to assimilate („protected“ x „tolerated“ Jews – untill 1848) – Russia- 60% of the Polish territory and 45% of its population

6 Pale of Settlement 1791 – Catherine the Great, Russia – Severe restrictions of Jewish rights of residence and movement – since 1822 Jews forced to live in ghettos 1827 – Nicolas I – military service of Jews (read Shtetl p. 115-117) Untill 1917

7 Messianism, 17th C. The liberation of the Jews and their return to the Land of Israel Sabbatean Movement – Sabbataï Zvi Born in Smyrna, Turkey, 1626 Nathan of Gaza recognized him as Messiah and became his prophet – many followers since the1660´s Arrested in Istanbul and converted to Islam (Sultan as a godfather)- with his followers became honoured members of Sultan´s court – Nathan of Gaza Sabbataï sacrificed himself – his conversion is a step towards redemption

8 Messianism, 18th C. Frankism – Jacob Frank From Podolia (Ukraina), 1726 Sexual ecstasy is a means to relate to G-d Converted to catholicism (Polish king as a godfather), with his close followers rewarded with noble titles, and was subsequently accused from a heresy – fleed to Germany where he died

9 Split of Rabbinic Judaism in Poland Leaning to kabbalah and mysticism – S-E Poland Anti-kabbalist orthodox leaders – Lithuania

10 Hassidism Mystical movement of devout Jews – Hassid = devout, religious, pious – 12th & 13th c. – Jehuda Hassid: Sefer Hassidim

11 Hassidism, 18th C. Izrael ben Eliezer Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760)/ BESHT – founder of East European Chasidism – Pantheism – omnipresence of G-d – Attractive democratization of Judaism – His saying reported by his disciplesDd Magid, Rabbi Dov Bär of Mezritch – his student; chasidism  religious and spiritual system – Ukraine, Galicia, Central Poland; sizable groups in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania First criticised by the ortodox rabbis – later became an ortodox movement – to the USA in the 1880´s

12 Hassidism Optimistic movement, underline the role of happiness Emotion placed above the reason and rites Traces of goodness are everywhere

13 Hasidism There’s a Hasidic tale about a famous rabbi who was on his way to teach a village that was very interested in his ideas. This was going to be a very big event, and each Jew in the community made great preparations, pondering what question he or she might ask the wise man. The rabbi finally arrived and, after the initial welcome, he was taken into a large room where people gathered to ask their questions. There was tremendous anticipation and excitement all around. The rabbi walked silently around the room and then began to hum a Hasidic tune. Before long, everyone started humming along with his soft voice. As people became comfortable with his song, the rabbi started to dance. He danced everywhere in the room, and, one by one, every person danced with him. Soon everyone in the whole community was dancing wildly together. Each person’s soul was healed by the dance, and everyone experienced a personal transformation. Later in the night, the rabbi gradually slowed the dance and eventually brought it to a stop. He looked into everyone’s eyes and said gently, “I trust that I have answered all of your questions.”

14 Hassidism Tzadik = Righteous One – spiritual leader and a saint that mediates the communication between man and God Devekut – leads to the communion with G-d with the purpose of uniting with the source of life and influencing it. Dynasties of Rebbes/ Admorim (Adoneinu- Moreinu- ve Rabbeinu) who name their successors Vilna Gaon – Leader of Misnagdim= Opponents to Hassidism – Put Hassids temporarily in cherem (excomunication) Misnagdim and Hassidim got closer to each other x Haskala Surviving well-known sects (mainly USA): Belz, Bobov, Breslov, Ger, Lubavitch, Munkacs, Puppa, Sanz (Klausenburg), Satmar, Skver, Spinka, Vizhnitz

15 Hassidism Martin Buber (1878-1965) – philosopher – wrote popular books on chasidism – important cultural Zionist – promoted Jewish cultural renewal through his study of Hasidic Judaism – recorded and translated Hasidic legends and anecdotes – translated the Bible from Hebrew into German – numerous religious studies – advocated a bi-national Israeli- Palestinian state and argued for the renewal of society through decentralized, communitarian socialism

16 Hassidism When asked which is the right way, that of sorrow or that of joy, Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev said: “There are two kinds of sorrow and two kinds of joy. When a person broods over his misfortunes, when he cowers in a corner and despairs of help – that is a bad kind of sorrow, concerning which it is said, ‘The Shechinah does not dwell in a place of dejection.’ The other kind [of sorrow] is the honest grief of a man who knows what he lacks. The same is true for joy. One who is devoid of inner substance and, in the midst of empty pleasures, neither feels that, nor tries to fill his lack, is a fool. [In contrast,] one who is truly joyful is like a man whose house has burned down, who feels his need deep in his soul and begins to build anew. Over every stone that is laid, his heart rejoices.”

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