The history of Hasidism from Rabbi Israel baal Shem Tov, the founder of the movement, to its leaders in the twentieth century.
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"Good morning to you, Lord of the Universe," intoned Rabbi Levi Isaac (1740-1809) in his famous daily monologue. His prayer exemplifies the personal rapport that Hasidic Jews have always maintained with their Creator. Half of this colorful, vigorous history of the Hasidic movement focuses on celebrated rebbes and tzaddik , teachers who combined the roles of father figure, counselor and confessor. For example, we meet Rabbi Jacob Hurwitz, sad-eyed seer of Lublin; "Holy Rebel" Menahem Mendel, fiery opponent of the trivialization of religious life; and messianic mystic Hannah Rachel, the Maid of Ludmir. In the book's second half, Rabinowicz, himself an English rabbi and descendant of Hasidic rabbinical families of Poland, ably summarizes the importance of prayer, music, dance, Torah study and customs among Hasidic Jews. He shows how the Hasidim, once opponents of Zionism, became staunch supporters of Israel. This is a revision of the author's 1970 book, The World of Hasidism.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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