Hasidic men customarily wear black hats during the weekdays, as do nearly all Haredi men today.
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A variety of hats are worn depending on the group: Chabad men often pinch their hats to form a triangle on the top, Satmar men wear an open-crown hat with rounded edges, and Samet velvet or biber beaver hats are worn by many Galician and Hungarian Hasidic men. Married Hasidic men don a variety of fur headdresses on the Sabbath, once common among all wedded Eastern European Jewish males and still worn by non-Hasidic Perushim in Jerusalem. The most ubiquitous is the Shtreimel , which is seen especially among Galician and Hungarian sects like Satmar or Belz.
A taller Spodik is donned by Polish dynasties such as Ger. A Kolpik is worn by unmarried sons and grandsons of many Rebbes on the Sabbath. Some Rebbes don it on special occasions. There are many other distinct items of clothing. Such are the Gerrer hoyznzokn —long black socks into which the trousers are tucked. Some Hasidic men from Eastern Galicia wear black socks with their breeches on the Sabbath, as opposed to white ones on weekdays, particularly Belzer Hasidim.
Following a Biblical commandment not to shave the sides of one's face Leviticus , male members of most Hasidic groups wear long, uncut sidelocks called payot or peyes. Some Hasidic men shave off the rest of their hair. Not every Hasidic group requires long peyos, and not all Jewish men with peyos are Hasidic, but all Hasidic groups discourage the shaving of one's beard.
Most Hasidic boys receive their first haircuts ceremonially at the age of three years only the Skverrer Hasidim do this at their boys' second birthday. Until then, Hasidic boys have long hair.
Hasidic women wear clothing adhering to the principles of modest dress in Jewish law. This includes long, conservative skirts and sleeves past the elbow, as well as covered necklines. Also, the women wear stockings to cover their legs; in some Hasidic groups, such as Satmar or Toldot Aharon , the stockings must be opaque. In keeping with Jewish law , married women cover their hair, using either a sheitel wig , a tichel headscarf , a shpitzel , a snood , a hat, or a beret.
In some Hasidic groups, such as Satmar , women may wear two headcoverings — a wig and a scarf, or a wig and a hat. Hasidic Jews, like many other Orthodox Jews, typically produce large families; the average Hasidic family in the United States has 8 children. Most Hasidim speak the language of their countries of residence, but use Yiddish among themselves as a way of remaining distinct and preserving tradition. Thus, children are still learning Yiddish today, and the language, despite predictions to the contrary, is not dead.
Yiddish newspapers are still published, and Yiddish fiction is being written, primarily aimed at women. Even films in Yiddish are being produced within the Hasidic community.
Some Hasidic groups, such as Satmar or Toldot Aharon, actively oppose the everyday use of Hebrew, which they consider a holy tongue. The use of Hebrew for anything other than prayer and study is, according to them, profane. Hence, Yiddish is the vernacular and common tongue for many Hasidim around the world.
Hasidic Tales are a literary genre, concerning both hagiography of various Rebbes and moralistic themes. Some are anecdotes or recorded conversations dealing with matters of faith, practice, and the like. The most famous tend to be terse and carry a strong and obvious point. They were often transmitted orally, though the earliest compendium is from Many revolve around the Righteous.
The Baal Shem, in particular, was subject to excess hagiography. Common themes include dissenting the question what is acceptable to pray for, whether or not the commoner may gain communion, or the meaning of wisdom. The various Hasidic groups may be categorized along several parameters, including their geographical origin, their proclivity for certain teachings, and their political stance.
These attributes are quite often, but by no means always, correlated, and there are many instances when a "court" espouses a unique combination. On the political scale, "courts" are mainly divided on their relations to Zionism. The right-wing, identified with Satmar , are hostile to the State of Israel , and refuse to participate in the elections there or receive any state funding. Its Council of Torah Sages now includes a dozen Rebbe s. In the past, there were Religious Zionist Rebbe s, mainly of the Ruzhin line, but there are virtually none today.
In , a study conducted by Prof. Of those, 62, resided in Israel and 53, in the United States , 5, in Britain and 3, in Canada. There is considerable presence in other specifically Orthodox municipalities or enclaves, like Kiryat Sanz, Netanya.
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In the United States, most Hasidim reside in New York , though there are small communities across the entire country. Brooklyn , Borough Park , Williamsburg , and Crown Heights all house a particularly large population. So does the hamlet of Monsey in upstate New York. In the same region, New Square and Kiryas Joel are rapidly growing all-Hasidic enclaves, one founded by the Skver dynasty and the other by Satmar. In Britain, Stamford Hill is home to the largest Hasidic community in the country, and there are others in London and Prestwich in Manchester.
In Canada, Kiryas Tosh is a settlement populated entirely by Tosh Hasidim, and there are more adherents of other sects in and around Montreal. There are more than a dozen Hasidic dynasties with a large following, and over a hundred which have small or minuscule adherence, sometimes below twenty people, with the presumptive Rebbe holding the title more as a matter of prestige. Satmar is known for its conservatism and opposition to both Agudas Israel and Zionism , inspired by the legacy of Hungarian Ultra-Orthodoxy. The sect underwent a schism in and two competing factions emerged, led by rival brothers Aaron Teitelbaum and Zalman Teitelbaum.
For decades, it was the dominant power in Agudas and espoused a moderate line toward Zionism and modern culture. Its origins lay in the rationalist Przysucha School of Central Poland. The current Rebbe is Yaakov Aryeh Alter. The third largest dynasty is Vizhnitz , a charismatic sect founded in at Vyzhnytsia , Bukovina. A moderate group involved in Israeli politics, it is split into several branches, which maintain cordial relations.
In total, all Vizhnitz sub-"courts" constitute over 10, households. The fourth major dynasty, with some 7, households, is Belz , established in namesake Belz , south of Lviv. An Eastern Galician dynasty drawing both from the Seer of Lublin 's charismatic-populist style and "rabbinic" Hasidism, it espoused hard-line positions, but broke off from the Orthodox Council of Jerusalem and joined Agudas in Belz is led by Rebbe Yissachar Dov Rokeach.
The Bobover dynasty, founded in Bobowa , West Galicia , constitutes some 4, households in total and has undergone a bitter succession strife since , eventually forming the "Bobov" 3, households and " Bobov " 1, households sects. Sanz-Klausenburg , divided into a New York and Israeli branches, presides over 3, households. The Skver sect, established in in Skvyra near Kiev , constitutes 3, The Shomer Emunim dynasties, originating in Jerusalem during the s and known for their unique style of dressing imitating that of the Old Yishuv , have over 3, families, almost all in the larger "courts" of Toldos Aharon and Toldos Avraham Yitzchak.
Karlin Stolin , which rose already in the s in a quarter of Pinsk , encompasses 2, families. There are two other populous Hasidic sub-groups, which do not function as classical Rebbe -headed "courts", but as decentralized movements, retaining some of the characteristics of early Hasidism. Critical of all other Rebbes , he forbade his followers to appoint a successor upon his death in His acolytes led small groups of adherents, persecuted by other Hasidim, and disseminated his teachings.
The original philosophy of the sect elicited great interest among modern scholars, and that led many newcomers to Orthodox Judaism "repentants" to join it. Chabad-Lubavitch , originating in the s, did have hereditary leadership, but always stressed the importance of self-study rather than reliance on the Righteous. Its seventh and last leader, Menachem Mendel Schneerson , converted it into a vehicle for Jewish outreach.
By his death in , it had many more semi-engaged supporters than Hasidim in the strict sense, and they are still hard to distinguish. Chabad's own internal phone-books list some 16, member households. In the late 17th century, several social trends converged among the Jews who inhabited the southern periphery of the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth , especially in contemporary Western Ukraine. These enabled the emergence and flourishing of Hasidism.
The first and most prominent was the popularization of the mystical lore of Kabbalah. For several centuries, an esoteric teaching practiced surreptitiously by few, it was transformed into almost household knowledge by a mass of cheap printed pamphlets. The kabbalistic inundation was a major influence behind the rise of the heretical Sabbatean movement, led by Sabbatai Zevi , who declared himself Messiah in The propagation of Kabbalah made the Jewish masses susceptible to Hasidic ideas, themselves in essence a popularized version of the teaching — indeed, Hasidism actually emerged when its founders determined to openly practice it instead of remaining a secret circle of ascetics as was the manner of almost all past kabbalists.
The correlation between publicizing the lore and Sabbateanism did not escape the rabbinic elite, and caused vehement opposition to the new movement. Another factor was the decline of the traditional authority structures. Jewish autonomy remained quite secured; later research debunked Simon Dubnow 's claim that the Council of Four Lands ' demise in was a culmination of a long process which destroyed judicial independence and paved the way for the Hasidic rebbes to serve as leaders another long-held explanation for the sect's rise advocated by Raphael Mahler , that the Khmelnytsky Uprising effected economic impoverishment and despair, was also refuted.
However, the magnates and nobles held much sway over the nomination of both rabbis and communal elders, to such a degree that the masses often perceived them as mere lackeys of the land owners. Their ability to serve as legitimate arbiters in disputes — especially those concerning the regulation of leasehold rights over alcohol distillation and other monopolies in the estates — was severely diminished. The reduced prestige of the establishment, and the need for an alternative source of authority to pass judgement, left a vacuum which Hasidic charismatics eventually filled.
They transcended old communal institutions, to which all the Jews of a locality were subordinate, and had groups of followers in each town across vast territories. Often supported by rising strata outside the traditional elite, whether nouveau riche or various low-level religious functionaries, they created a modern form of leadership. Historians discerned other influences.
The formative age of Hasidism coincided with the rise of numerous religious revival movements across the world, including the First Great Awakening in New England , German Pietism , Wahhabism in Arabia and the Russian Old Believers who opposed the established church. They all rejected the existing order, decrying it as stale and overly hierarchic. They offered what they described as more spiritual, candid and simple substitutes. Gershon David Hundert noted the considerable similarity between the Hasidic conceptions and this general background, rooting both in the growing importance attributed to the individual's consciousness and choices.
Israel ben Eliezer ca. Born apparently south of the Prut , in the northern frontier of Moldavia , he earned a reputation as a Baal Shem , "Master of the Name". These were common folk healers who employed mysticism, amulets and incantations at their trade. Little is known for certain on ben Eliezer. Though no scholar, he was sufficiently learned to become notable in the communal hall of study and marry into the rabbinic elite, his wife being the divorced sister of a rabbi; in his later years he was wealthy and famous, as attested by contemporary chronicles.
Apart from that, most is derived from Hasidic hagiographic accounts. These claim that as a boy he was recognized by one "Rabbi Adam Baal Shem Tov" who entrusted him with great secrets of the Torah passed in his illustrious family for centuries. The Besht later spent a decade in the Carpathian Mountains as a hermit, where he was visited by the Biblical prophet Ahijah the Shilonite who taught him more.
At the age of thirty-six, he was granted heavenly permission to reveal himself as a great kabbalist and miracle worker. By the s, it is verified that he relocated to the town of Medzhybizh and became recognized and popular in all Podolia and beyond. It is well attested that he did emphasize several known kabbalistic concepts, formulating a teaching of his own to some degree.
The Besht stressed the immanence of God and his presence in the material world, and that therefore, physical acts, such as eating, have actual influence on the spiritual sphere and may serve to hasten the achievement of communion with the divine devekut. He was known to pray ecstatically and with great intention , again in order to provide channels for the divine light to flow into the earthly realm.
The Besht stressed the importance of joy and contentment in the worship of God, rather than the abstinence and self-mortification deemed essential to become a pious mystic, and of fervent and vigorous prayer as a means of spiritual elation instead of severe aestheticism  — though many of his immediate disciples reverted in part to the older doctrines, especially in disavowing sexual pleasure even in marital relations.
And yet, he remained the guide of a small society of elitists, in the tradition of former kabbalists, and never led a large public as his successors did. While many later figures cited him as the inspiration behind the full-fledged Hasidic doctrine, the Besht himself did not practice it in his lifetime. Israel ben Eliezer gathered a considerable following, drawing to himself disciples from far away. They were largely of elitist background, yet adopted the populist approach of their master. The most prominent was Rabbi Dov Ber the Maggid preacher. He succeeded the former upon his death, though other important acolytes, mainly Jacob Joseph of Polonne , did not accept his leadership.
Establishing himself in Mezhirichi , the Maggid turned to greatly elaborate the Besht's rudimentary ideas and institutionalize the nascent circle into an actual movement. Ben Eliezer and his acolytes used the very old and common epithet hasidim , "pious"; in the latter third of the 18th century, a clear differentiation arose between that sense of the word and what was at first described as "New Hasidism", propagated to a degree by the Maggid and especially his successors.
Other books were also published.
Their new teaching had many aspects. The importance of devotion in prayer was stressed to such degree that many waited beyond the prescribed time to properly prepare; the Besht's recommendation to "elevate and sanctify" impure thoughts rather than simply repress them during the service was expanded by Dov Ber into an entire precept, depicting prayer as a mechanism to transform thoughts and feelings from a primal to a higher state in a manner parallel to the unfolding of the Sephirot.
But the most important was the notion of the Tzaddiq — later designated by the general rabbinic honorific Admor our master, teacher and rabbi or by the colloquial Rebbe — the Righteous One, the mystic who was able to elate and achieve communion with the divine, but unlike kabbalists past, did not practice it in secret, but as leader of the masses. He was able to bring down prosperity and guidance from the higher Sephirot , and the common people who could not attain such a state themselves would achieve it by "clinging" to and obeying him.
The Tzaddiq served as a bridge between the spiritual realm and the ordinary folk, as well as a simple, understandable embodiment of the esoteric teachings of the sect, which were still beyond the reach of most just as old-style Kabbalah before. The various Hasidic Tzaddiqim , mainly the Maggid's disciples, spread across Eastern Europe with each gathering adherents among the people and learned acolytes who could be initiated as leaders.
The Righteous' "courts" in which they resided, attended by their followers to receive blessing and council, became the institutional centers of Hasidism, serving as its branches and organizational core. Slowly, various rites emerged in them, like the Sabbath Tisch or "table", in which the Righteous would hand out food scraps from their meals, considered blessed by the touch of ones imbued with godly Light during their mystical ascensions. The Shtibel differed from the established synagogues and study halls, allowing their members greater freedom to worship when they pleased and also serving recreational and welfare purposes.
Combined with its simplified message, more appealing to the common man, its honed organizational framework accounted for the exponential growth of Hasidic ranks. From its original base in Podolia and Volhynia , the movement was rapidly disseminated during the Maggid's lifetime and after his death. Twenty or so of Dov Ber's prime disciples each brought it to a different region, and their own successors followed: Aharon of Karlin I , Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk and Shneur Zalman of Liadi were the emissaries to the former Lithuania in the far north, while Menachem Nachum Twersky headed to Chernobyl in the east and Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev remained nearby.
Vitebsk and Abraham Kalisker later led a small ascension to the Land of Israel , establishing a Hasidic presence in the Galilee. The spread of Hasidism also incurred organized opposition. Rabbi Elijah of Vilnius , one the greatest authorities of the generation and a hasid and secret kabbalist of the old style, was deeply suspicious of their emphasis on mysticism rather than mundane Torah study, threat to established communal authority, resemblance to the Sabbatean movement and other details he considered infractions.
In April , He and the Vilnius community wardens launched a systematic campaign against the sect, placing an anathema upon them, banishing their leaders and sending letters denouncing the movement. Further excommunication followed in Brody and other cities. In , during a second round of hostilities, the books of Jacob Joseph were burned in Vilnius. Another cause for strife emerged when the Hasidim adopted the Lurianic prayer rite, which they revised somewhat to Nusach Sefard ; the first edition in Eastern Europe was printed in and received approbation from the anti-Hasidic scholars of Brody, but the sect quickly embraced the Kabbalah-infused tome and popularized it, making it their symbol.
Their rivals, named Misnagdim , "opponents" a generic term which acquired an independent meaning as Hasidism grew stronger soon accused them of abandoning the traditional Nusach Ashkenaz. In , Opponents made accusations of espionage against Shneur Zalman of Liadi and he was imprisoned by the Russian government for two months. Excoriatory polemics were printed and anathemas declared in the entire region. But Elijah's death in denied the Misnagdim their powerful leader.
In , Alexander I of Russia allowed independent prayer groups to operate, the chief vessel through which the movement spread from town to town. The failure to eradicate Hasidism, which acquired a clear self-identity in the struggle and greatly expanded throughout it, convinced its adversaries to adopt a more passive method of resistance, as exemplified by Chaim of Volozhin. The growing conservatism of the new movement — which at some occasions drew close to Kabbalah-based antinomian phraseology, as did the Sabbateans, but never crossed the threshold and remained thoroughly observant — and the rise of common enemies slowly brought a rapprochement, and by the second half of the 19th century both sides basically considered each other legitimate.
The turn of the century saw several prominent new, fourth-generation tzaddiqim. Upon Elimelech's death in the now-partitioned Poland , his place in Habsburg Galicia was assumed by Menachem Mendel of Rimanov , who was deeply hostile to the modernization the Austrian rulers attempted to force on the traditional Jewish society though this same process also allowed his sect to flourish, as communal authority was severely weakened. The rabbi of Rimanov hearkened the alliance the hasidim would form with the most conservative elements of the Jewish public.
In Central Poland, the new leader was Jacob Isaac Horowiz, the " Seer of Lublin ", who was of a particularly populist bent and appealed to the common folk with miracle working and little strenuous spiritual demands. The Seer's senior acolyte, Jacob Isaac Rabinovitz the "Holy Jew" of Przysucha , gradually dismissed his mentor's approach as overly vulgar and adopted a more aesthetic and scholarly approach, virtually without theurgy to the masses. The most controversial fourth-generation tzaddiq was the Podolia-based Nachman of Breslov , who denounced his peers for becoming too institutionalized, much like the old establishment their predecessors challenged decades before, and espoused an anti-rationalist, pessimistic spiritual teaching, very different from the prevalent stress on joy.
The opening of the 19th century saw the Hasidic sect transformed. Once a rising force outside the establishment, the tzaddiqim now became an important and often dominant power in most of Eastern Europe. The slow process of encroachment, which mostly begun with forming an independent Shtibel and culminated in the Righteous becoming an authority figure either alongside or above the official rabbinate for the entire community, overwhelmed many towns even in Misnagdic stronghold of Lithuania, far more so in Congress Poland and the vast majority in Podolia, Volhynia and Galicia.
Less than three generations after the Besht's death, the sect grew to encompass hundreds of thousands by As a mass movement, a clear stratification emerged between the court's functionaries and permanent residents yoshvim , "sitters" , the devoted followers who would often visit the Righteous on Sabbath, and the large public which prayed at Sefard Rite synagogues and was minimally affiliated. All this was followed by a more conservative approach and power bickering among the Righteous. Since the Maggid's death, none could claim the overall leadership.
Among the several dozens active, each ruled over his own turf, and local traditions and customs began to emerge in the various courts which developed their own identity. The high mystical tension typical of a new movement subsided, and was soon replaced by more hierarchical, orderly atmosphere. The most important aspect of the routinization Hasidism underwent was the adoption of dynasticism. The first to claim legitimacy by right of descent from the Besht was his grandson, Boruch of Medzhybizh , appointed He held a lavish court with Hershel of Ostropol as jester, and demanded the other Righteous acknowledge his supremacy.
The principle was conclusively affirmed in the great dispute after Liadi's demise in his senior acolyte Aharon HaLevi of Strashelye was defeated by his son, Dovber Schneuri , whose offspring retained the title for years. By the s, virtually all courts were dynastic. Rather than single tzaddiqim with followings of their own, each sect would command a base of rank-and-file hasidim attached not just to the individual leader, but to the bloodline and the court's unique attributes.
Israel Friedman of Ruzhyn insisted on royal splendour, resided in a palace and his six sons all inherited some of his followers. While populist miracle working for the masses remained a key theme in many dynasties, a new type of "Rebbe-Rabbi" emerged, one who was both a completely traditional halakhic authority as well as a spiritualist. The tension with the Misnagdim subsided significantly. But it was an external threat, more than anything else, that mended relations.
While traditional Jewish society remained well entrenched in backward Eastern Europe, reports of the rapid acculturation and religious laxity in the West troubled both camps. When the Haskalah , the Jewish Enlightenment , appeared in Galicia and Congress Poland in the s, it was soon perceived as a dire threat. The maskilim themselves detested Hasidism as an anti-rationalist and barbaric phenomenon, as did Western Jews of all shades, including the most right-wing Orthodox such as Rabbi Azriel Hildesheimer.
The Enlightened, who revived Hebrew grammar , often mocked their rivals' lack of eloquence in the language. While a considerable proportion of the Misnagdim were not adverse to at least some of the Haskala' s goals, the Rebbe s were unremittingly hostile. The most distinguished Hasidic leader in Galicia in the era was Chaim Halberstam , who combined talmudic erudition and the status of a major decisor with his function as tzaddiq.
He symbolized the new era, brokering peace between the small Hasidic sect in Hungary to its opponents. At that country, where modernization and assimilation were much more imminent than in the East, the local Righteous joined forces with those now termed Orthodox against the rising liberals. Rabbi Moses Sofer of Pressburg , while no friend to Hasidism, tolerated it as he combated the forces which sought modernization of the Jews; a generation later, in the s, the Rebbe s and the zealot ultra-Orthodox Hillel Lichtenstein allied closely.
Around the midth century, over a hundred dynastic courts related by marriage were the main religious power in the territory enclosed between Hungary, former Lithuania, Prussia and inner Russia, with considerable presence in the former two. In Galicia and Hungary, apart from Halberstam's House of Sanz , Tzvi Hirsh of Zidichov 's descendants each pursued a mystical approach in the dynasties of Zidichov , Komarno and so forth.
In , Sholom Rokeach became the first Rebbe of Belz. At Bukovina , the Hager line of Kosov - Vizhnitz was the largest court. The Haskalah was always a minor force, but the Jewish national movements which emerged in the s, as well as Socialism, proved much more appealing to the young.
Progressive strata condemned Hasidism as a primitive relic, strong, but doomed to disappear, as Eastern European Jewry underwent slow yet steady secularization. These institutions were originally utilized by the Misnagdim to inoculate their youth from Hasidic influence, but now, the latter faced a similar crisis. One of the most contentious issues in this respect was Zionism ; the Ruzhin dynasties were quite favourably disposed toward it, while Hungarian and Galician courts reviled it.
Outside pressure was mounting in the early 20th century. In , many Hasidic leaders partook in the creation of the Agudas Israel party, a political instrument intended to safeguard what was now named Orthodox Judaism even in the relatively traditional East; the more hard-line dynasties, mainly Galician and Hungarian, opposed the Aguda as too lenient. Mass immigration to America, urbanization, World War I and the subsequent Russian Civil War uprooted the shtetl s in which the local Jews lived for centuries and were the bedrock of Hasidism.
In the new Soviet Union , civil equality first achieved and a harsh repression of religion caused a rapid secularization. Few remaining Hasidim, especially of Chabad , continued to practice underground for decades. In the new states of the Interbellum era, the process was only somewhat slower. On the eve of World War II , strictly observant Jews were estimated to constitute no more than a third of the total Jewish population in Poland, the world's most Orthodox country. The Holocaust hit the Hasidim, easily identifiable and almost unable to disguise themselves among the larger populace due to cultural insularity, particularly hard.
Hundreds of leaders perished with their flock, while the flight of many notable ones as their followers were being exterminated — especially Aharon Rokeach of Belz and Joel Teitelbaum of Satmar — elicited bitter recrimination. In the immediate post-war years, the entire movement seemed to teeter on the precipice of oblivion. While a century earlier the Haskalah depicted it as a medieval, malicious power, now it was so weakened that the popular cultural image was sentimental and romantic, what Joseph Dan termed "Frumkinian Hasidism" for it began with the short stories of Michael Levi Rodkinson Frumkin.
Martin Buber was the major contributor to this trend, portraying the sect as a model of a healthy folk consciousness. Yet, the movement proved more resilient than expected. Talented and charismatic Hasidic masters emerged, who reinvigorated their following and drew new crowds. He halted the hemorrhage of his followers and retrieved many Litvaks the contemporary, less adverse epithet for Misnagdim and Religious Zionists whose parents were Gerrer Hasidim before the war.
Chaim Meir Hager similarly restored Vizhnitz. The most explosive growth was experienced in Chabad-Lubavitch , whose head Menachem Mendel Schneerson adopted a modern he and his disciples ceased wearing the customary Shtreimel and outreach-centered orientation. At a time when most Orthodox and Hasidim in particular rejected proselytization, he turned his sect into a mechanism devoted almost solely to it, blurring the difference between actual Hasidim and loosely affiliated supporters until researchers could scarcely define it as a regular Hasidic group.
Another phenomenon was the revival of Breslov , which remained without an acting Tzaddiq since the rebellious Rebbe Nachman 's death. Its complex, existentialist philosophy drew many to it. High fertility rates, increasing tolerance and multiculturalism on behalf of surrounding society, and the great wave of newcomers to Orthodox Judaism which began in the s all cemented the movement's status as very much alive and thriving.
The clearest indication for that, noted Joseph Dan, was the disappearance of the "Frumkinian" narrative which inspired much sympathy towards it from non-Orthodox Jews and others, as actual Hasidism returned to the fore. It was replaced by apprehension and concern due to the growing presence of the reclusive, strictly religious Hasidic lifestyle in the public sphere, especially in Israel.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the modern movement. For the Jewish honorific, see Hasid term. For the Judean sect, see Hasideans. For the medieval one, see Ashkenazi Hasidim. Safed School Cordoverian. Main article: Hasidic philosophy. Main article: Yiddish language. Main article: List of Hasidic dynasties. Tanakh Torah Nevi'im Ketuvim. Important figures. Religious roles. Culture and education. Ritual objects. Major holidays. Other religions. Related topics. Main article: Baal Shem Tov.
University of California Press Volume 8, p. Harvard University Press. JTA, February 10, JTA, March 5, Haaretz , 11 August The New York Times. Retrieved 20 February Retrieved Oxford University Press Stampfer, Why Hasidism Spreaf. Jerusalem: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From then on, her fate took on greater importance to the powerful men around her. The leading families in Italy were all keen to connect their fortunes with those of the powerful Pope Alexander, and many sought to strike an alliance.
Even the king of Naples aspires to win her hand!
No family, however, was better placed to put forward a suitor than that of the man who had played a decisive role in the election of Pope Alexander: Cardinal Sforza himself, whose brother was the powerful Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. Cardinal Sforza proposed uniting their house by marrying year-old Lucrezia to his nephew, Giovanni.
The offer was accepted by the Borgias, who thereby gained a powerful ally in the north and center of Italy. On June 9, , Giovanni Sforza made his triumphal entrance into Rome through the Porta del Popolo, and three days later his marriage to Lucrezia took place. Accounts describe how the pope and the cardinals ate and danced all night long at the wedding reception. Then in the early hours, the pontiff accompanied the newlyweds to the palace of Santa Maria in Portico.
The hopes and fears of Lucrezia, little more than a child herself, were of little consideration to the players involved. The young couple were barely allowed the briefest of domestic interludes before a political storm engulfed them. Trapped in Rome, Giovanni was in an impossible position—caught between the loyalties to his uncle on the one side and to his wife and the mighty Borgias on the other.
After this decision, Cesare explained to Lucrezia that her husband would have to be killed. Allegedly warned by Lucrezia of the plan, Giovanni fled to Milan disguised as a beggar.
The Better Sister by Alafair Burke
The Borgias then began the long process of trying to annul the marriage on the grounds that Giovanni was impotent and had never consummated the marriage. After a public proclamation that her virginity was intact, Lucrezia officially became a single woman again in During the annulment negotiations, Lucrezia retired to the convent of San Sisto in Rome.
Even the cloister could not shield her from the exploits and misfortunes of her scheming family. In , Lucrezia lost her brother Juan, who was found murdered in the Tiber. Meanwhile, her other brother, Cesare—who had been made a cardinal in his late teens by his father—was enjoying a meteoric rise to power, having recently been appointed military chief of the Papal States, the area of central Italy around Rome under direct papal control.
This time, the suitor was Alfonso of Aragon, the illegitimate son of the king of Naples, the large kingdom that occupied southern Italy. In , Lucrezia married her second husband in the Vatican. This time, the wedding seemed to have been genuinely desired by both the bride and groom. Lucrezia was 18, and her slightly younger consort Alfonso was considered both handsome and well educated.
The union appeared a happy one, and Lucrezia gave birth to a son, named Rodrigo after his grandfather, in But the conjugal happiness was short-lived. In a startling change of heart, he decided to throw in his lot with his erstwhile enemy, the new king of France, Louis XII. The interests of the Borgias and those of France had now aligned in direct opposition to those of Naples. In the days running up to the jubilee year of , an astrologer warned Alexander that he should take particular care, as misfortune was destined to befall him. In June of that year, the blow fell. The pope was holding a meeting when a gust of wind knocked down the chimney above him.
Three people died, and the pope, seated on the papal throne, was injured. Two weeks later on July 15, while Lucrezia was tending to her wounded father, her young husband and his entourage were attacked by a large group of knife-wielding henchmen on the steps of the Vatican. Seriously wounded, Alfonso was taken to recover in quarters within the Vatican itself. For the second time in her short life, Lucrezia rallied to the aid of a husband.
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