H asidism. Mysticism and Joy. H asidism. Mystical movement of devout Jews Chasid = devout, religious, pious 12th & 13th c. – Jehuda Chasid: Sefer Chasidim Best known is though the chasidism that was formed in the Eastern Europe in the 18th c. Ukraine, Poland
Mysticism and Joy
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.”
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.”
Moses Mendelsohn, 18th c., Berlin
1) Reform movement in Germany
Organ music and quires introduced into the service
Service more in the national langugage
Skipping of some controversial parts (against assimilation) of the prayers
2) Conservative Judaism
New ortodoxy against reform judaism
Unity of the jewish people, continuity of the jewish tradition, importance of jewish science
Developed from the conservative judaism in North America since 1920´s
Judaism = a type of civilisation
Halakha is not considered binding, but is treated as a valuable cultural remnant that should be upheld unless there is reason for the contrary.
Secular morality has precedence over Jewish law and theology. It does not ask that its adherents hold to any particular beliefs, nor does it ask that Jewish law be accepted as normative.
Jewish Personalities of the 19th Century
Emancipation liberated exceptional intellectual capacities