Eastern European Jewry had established itself firmly amongst small villages in Poland since the 13th century . Remaining fairly stable, Jews in Poland uniformly followed and studied Rabbinic Judaism based on oral and Talmudic law. The only differences amongst Jewish Orthodox beliefs were between those who studied Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah, and those who saw it as heretical. During the 17th century, the schism was brought into the spotlight by the False-Messianic movement of Shabbatai Tzvi, who was later forced to convert to Islam by the Ot...
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...ity through mysticism allows the common man to feel importance, and to feel importance is one of the universal goals of man. Knowing this, Hasidism was a great fit for the type of communities it attracted, stemming from the psychological insight provided with Hasidism to answer the common person’s struggle with existence and self importance.
Elior, Rachel. The Mystical Origins of Hasidism. Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2006. Print.
Magid, Shaul. Hasidism on the Margin: Reconciliation, Antinomianism, and Messianism in Izbica/Radzin Hasidism. Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin, 2003. Print.
Mintz, Jerome R. Hasidic People: A Place in the New World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1992. Print.
Sears, Dovid. The Path of the Baal Shem Tov: Early Hasidic Teachings and Customs. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1997. Print.
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