Heschel and Hasidic Judaism
Abraham Joshua Heschel glorifies Eastern European rabbinic culture as an advanced, pious sect of Judaism, offering equality to men and women, an easily comprehensible and fair hierarchy of religious power, purity of mind and spirit, and a straightforward and simple path to heaven. Heschel; American rabbi, and leading Jewish theologian and philosopher, describes Hasidic Judaism as a near perfect religious society. Heschel references many Jewish ideologies that assist in proving the superiority of Hasidic Judaism to various other religions; including dissimilar sects of Judaism. Though Heschel's argument is strong and he makes many valid points supporting the superiority of the Hasidim, such as the increased vivacity of Jewish life, there exists numerous instances in which he glosses over an ugly, hidden reality of Hasidic life in order to produce a more pristine picture of Hasidic existence. What Heschel fails to mention in his essay, are the numerous power struggles endured by Hasidic leaders, false claims of messianic power, clear evidence of sexism, and an institution that includes an obscure hierarchy that imparts confusion and uncertainty to both leaders of Hasidism and followers alike. Scholars; Jacob Frank, Baal Shem Tov and Solomon Maimon offer new insight, and dissimilar views on the merits of Hasidism in Eastern European culture.
Like the distinguished Christian reformists known as the Puritans; the Jewish sect of Hasidism transpired from the dissatisfaction of a small minority who sought to improve the individual's religious experience by assuming more stringent methods of observations and religious rituals and practices. Eighteenth century Poland served as the venue for this particular religious revitalization. The Hasid recognized strict, relatively inflexible practices that focused even the most mundane, routine chore around the worship of the Jewish God.... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2010, 12). Hasidism. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 12, 2010, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Hasidism-507270.html
"Hasidism" StudyMode.com. 12 2010. 12 2010 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Hasidism-507270.html>.
"Hasidism." StudyMode.com. 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Hasidism-507270.html.