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Has Hasidism has been essential to the continuation of Judaism?
The first 200 words of this essay...
Tom Walker 13N
16th December 2009
'Hasidism has been essential to the continuation of Judaism' (20)
I believe that Hasidism has indeed been essential to the continuation of Judaism. The Hasidic movement arose in the early eighteenth century as a result of persecution and arguably too much academic study of the Torah. Its founder, the Baal Shem Tov (Master of the Good Name) was not a scholar, however. He was a simple villager who lived in the 1700's. According to Lavinia and Dan Cohn-Sherbok, "Hasidism was primarily a response to the dry intellectualism of much Talmudic study." Judaism became a much more practical religion for Jews who were previously unable to practice their faith due to persecution by Cossacks and Russians due to many of them working for the Polish nobility. Hasidism was also a lot more accessible for Jews who were less well-educated and could not read Hebrew. It was focused on the personal and spiritual aspect of worship, as Lavinia and Dan Cohn-Sherbok put it, "worship became part of the religious experience of everyday Jews."
Hasidism began to emerge after many Jews began to question their own relationship with
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