Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Chassidim and Misnagdim
Great Controversies in Jewish History

Item #: 0967

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The rise of Chassidus was the greatest revolution that ever occurred within the parameters of traditional Judaism. Growing in times of brutal anti-Semitism and terrible social inequalities within Jewry, it revived Kabbalah and emphasized prayer and happiness as the primary means for Jews to serve God. But to the Vilna Gaon and his followers, the anti-intellectualism of Chassidus was dangerous, and actual battles ensued. Finally, by the 1850's, the two opposing forces united against the common enemies of the Czarist government and rising secularism, in effect laying the basis for the preservation of Judaism against the odds.

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