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Hasidic Judaism

1. Beliefs and Practices of Hasidic Judaism: – Hasidic theory emphasizes the immanence of God in the universe. – Hasidim are organized in independent sects […]

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1. Beliefs and Practices of Hasidic Judaism:

– Hasidic theory emphasizes the immanence of God in the universe.
– Hasidim are organized in independent sects led by a hereditary male leader, a Rebbe.
– Historical evolution of Hasidism from the 18th century by Israel Ben Eliezer.
– Challenges in researching Hasidism, including its philosophy and historical evolution.
– Misconceptions about Hasidism, such as its emphasis on joy and rejection of asceticism.

2. Spiritual Concepts in Hasidic Philosophy:

– Panentheistic concepts derived from Lurianic Kabbalah teachings.
– Devekut (Communion) emphasizing connection with divine immanence.
– Bitul ha-Yesh (Negation of the Existent) focusing on spiritual elevation.
– Avodah be-Gashmiyut (Worship through Corporeality) elevating material acts.
– Hamshacha (Absorption) drawing divine power into the material world.

3. Leadership and Doctrine in Hasidism:

– The role of the Tzaddiq as a saintly leader in Hasidism.
– Different schools of thought within Hasidic courts.
– Transformation of evil into goodness and the social role of the Tzaddiq.
– The Messianic capacity of the Tzaddiq and the hereditary leadership principle.
– Feuds between Hasidic courts and schisms within the movement.

4. Customs and Traditions in Hasidic Communities:

– Practices such as Rebbes holding feasts for male adherents called Tisch.
– Chozer committing texts to writing after the Sabbath.
– Pidyon (Ransom) involving submitting written petitions.
– Wedding celebrations including the Mitzvah tantz.
– Challenges faced by apostates, including societal integration difficulties.

5. Contemporary Issues in Hasidic Communities:

– Sexual abuse in segregated communities and the challenges in addressing it.
– Rise of Mashpiim (Influencers) providing guidance in Hasidic communities.
– Silencing of dissent within Hasidic leadership.
– Feuds between Hasidic courts and the impact on the community.
– Tensions and disputes within Hasidic sects, including succession disputes and their consequences.

Hasidic Judaism (Wikipedia)

Hasidism, sometimes spelled Chassidism, and also known as Hasidic Judaism (Ashkenazi Hebrew: חסידות Ḥăsīdus, [χasiˈdus]; originally, "piety"), is a religious movement within Judaism that arose as a spiritual revival movement in Poland and contemporary Western Ukraine (then Poland), during the 18th century, and spread rapidly throughout Eastern Europe [where?]. Today, most of those affiliated with the movement, known as hassidim, reside in Israel and in the United States.

A tish of the Boyan Hasidic dynasty in Jerusalem, holiday of Sukkot, 2009

Israel Ben Eliezer, the "Baal Shem Tov", is regarded as its founding father, and his disciples developed and disseminated it. Present-day Hasidism is a sub-group within Haredi Judaism and is noted for its religious conservatism and social seclusion. Its members adhere closely both to Orthodox Jewish practice – with the movement's own unique emphases – and the traditions of Eastern European [which?] Jews. Many of the latter, including various special styles of dress and the use of the Yiddish language, are nowadays associated almost exclusively with Hasidism.

Hasidic thought draws heavily on Lurianic Kabbalah, and, to an extent, is a popularization of it. Teachings emphasize God's immanence in the universe, the need to cleave and be one with Him at all times, the devotional aspect of religious practice, and the spiritual dimension of corporeality and mundane acts. Hasidim, the adherents of Hasidism, are organized in independent sects known as "courts" or dynasties, each headed by its own hereditary male leader, a Rebbe. Reverence and submission to the Rebbe are key tenets, as he is considered a spiritual authority with whom the follower must bond to gain closeness to God. The various "courts" share basic convictions, but operate apart and possess unique traits and customs. Affiliation is often retained in families for generations, and being Hasidic is as much a sociological factor – entailing birth into a specific community and allegiance to a dynasty of Rebbes – as it is a religious one. There are several "courts" with many thousands of member households each, and hundreds of smaller ones. As of 2016, there were over 130,000 Hasidic households worldwide, about 5% of the global Jewish population.

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