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The Hasidic movement was born in the early twentieth century. They identified women as a valuable resource and recognized them as human beings. Today, women play an increasingly important role in the Hasidic community. However, this movement has also faced challenges. In this article, you’ll learn about the Hasidic movement and how women are treated in the community. You’ll also learn about Hasidic literature and the structure of Hasidic families.
Hasidic Jews are distinctive in their practices. They generally marry young, raise large families, and remain within the fold. In the past, Hasidic groups were rare but are now becoming increasingly widespread. Not everyone who practices Hasidic beliefs joins a Hasidic group, but many of those who do follow their way of life. There are some differences between the various Hasidic dynasties, however.
In a book by Glenn Dynner, Hasidism explains that common acts can be consecrated. “Avodah be-Gashmi’yut” has an antinomian edge, as it equates everyday activities with the sacred. In this way, Hasidism has a strong antinomian tendency, and can be described as a radically antinomian sect of orthodox Judaism.
Hasidic Jewish people tend to have large families, usually six to 12 children. The general idea is to reproduce as much as possible because it is considered a commandment by G-d. Though many of these sects were nearly exterminated in the Holocaust, they continue to flourish today. The Hasidic communities are packed with tens of thousands of people, with school buses and small children everywhere. Even male teenagers might attend school at eight in the evening five days a week.
Hasidic leaders adapted dynasticism, claiming legitimacy through right of descent from Besht. Using a jester, Boruch of Medzhybizh held a lavish court and demanded that his supremacy be recognized. After Boruch, his followers followed him, and Menachem Nachum Twersky of Chernobyl succeeded him. Liadi’s acolyte eventually defeated Strashelye and Dovber Schneuri remained in power for the next eighteen years.
Most Hasidic dynasties use the Nusach Sefard liturgy, which was developed by Rabbi Isaac Luria. Each dynasty has their own adaptation of Nusach Sefard, with some following the Ashkenazi-style Nusach, while others follow the Munkacz-style version closer to the old Lurianic style.
Hasidic literature is a branch of Jewish spirituality that evolved in the late 19th century, largely as an antidote to the modern Jewish world. Hasidic thought stressed the immanence of the Divine in all things, even pollution. Therefore, it is necessary to correct the wrong. This is why Hasidic texts, such as the Mishnah and the Midrash, are highly respected and regarded as classics of Jewish spirituality.
Hasidic texts stress the importance of relating to G-d through the mitzvot. They strive to emulate the lifestyle of the ancient Europeans. Their hope is to hasten the coming of the Mashiah, the Messiah, and end all the earthly persecution of all Jews. In addition to religious observance, Hasidic practices emphasize a deeper connection with G-d.
While Baal Shem Tov did not leave any writings of his own, his disciples did. One of his students, Toldot Yaakov Yosef, documented his teachings. Another disciple, Dov Ber, later known as Maggid of Mezritch, wrote his own works. Hasidic leaders and students also authored their own works. Some of them were renowned for their mysticism and miracle-working.
The second branch of Hasidism is called Chabad. The first Lubavitch rebbe in Russia began the Chabad school. Its name means Wisdom, Learning, and Faith in Hebrew. Hasidic songs, or dvaykus, are aimed at attaining mystical union with God. The music is slow and introspective, and the songs are often sung while dancing or meditating.
The Great Maggid and the Great Mission are compilations of the lives of Hasidic rabbis. These are published by the Jewish Publication Society and Yeshiva University. The Religious Thought of Hasidism is edited by Norman Lamm and published by the Michael Schaf Publication Trust of Yeshiva University. It is also widely available in English, Hebrew, and French translations.
The early twentieth century saw a development of Hasidic education for girls, paralleling the feminist movement in pre-war Western Europe. The academies, however, only lasted a generation before being destroyed during the Holocaust. Most Hasidic communities fled to North America and Israel. So, the Hasidic literature of this time period continues to reflect the social, political, and religious life of Hasidic women.
Hasidic family structure
Hasidic Jewish people have large families, usually six to ten, and sometimes 12 or more. They practice reproduction as a top commandment from G-d, though some sects of this tradition were virtually eradicated during the Holocaust. Today’s Hasidic communities are packed with families and children, often on school buses. Male teenagers spend significant amounts of time in school and are rarely seen alone.
In Eastern Europe, hundreds of Hasidic communities flourished before the Holocaust, often in small towns or villages. The Holocaust was especially hard on these communities, and because of their clothing and religious practices, they were often unable to escape to pre-state Israel. Many Jews who studied the Hasidic way of life chose to remain, but many others decided not to. Hasidic communities are not part of any larger religious movement, but they are members of various communities that aspire to practice orthodoxy to its fullest.
The Hasidic tradition has strict rules for dress. Women wear skirts that cover the knees and wear sleeves that are longer than usual. Men wear hats that cover their ears and keep their hair covered. Some Hassidic women shave their heads during public events. Their heads are covered with wigs, so no one can see their hair. But even if they do shave their heads, they can still wear their traditional outfits.
In the Hasidic movement, every sect of Hasidim has a rebbe. Succession is dynastic. Menachem Mendel Schneerson was the son-in-law of the previous Chabad rebbe. Moshe Teitelbaum, the Satmar rebbe, died in 2006 after serving as the communal leader and spiritual authority.
While the Hasidic family structure is different from the other two structures in Jewish society, it still reflects the traditional structure of the community. Orthodox Jews value privacy within a close-knit community, which allows them to protect their spouses and children from abuse. However, if the husband is a violent person, the wife may not be able to adequately conceptualize his actions. In addition, it is difficult for an Orthodox woman to fully understand how violent her husband may be, given the fact that the Hasidic law allows him to touch her in any situation.
Hasidic women’s organizations
Unlike other Jewish communities, Hasidic women may not be able to leave their abusive partners. This is because Hasidic women often lack the social support and resources needed to begin a new life. Women’s organizations, religious holiday gatherings, and collective housing may be able to help them create a new sense of belonging. Organizations like Bat Melech, for example, work to provide women with resources on domestic violence. Another example is the Shalom task force, which provides education and support to Orthodox couples facing domestic violence.
Although most Hasidic communities are closed to outsiders, many of them have risen up as powerful outreach activists. The movement of Satmar Hasidic communities, or the Lubavitcher movement, has sought greater religious autonomy and separation from outside control. Despite this, the Lubavitcher movement, or Chabad, has been accused of deliberately recruiting non-observant Jews. But Hasidic women are highly influential outreach activists and multilingual.
Hasidic communities are governed by a single leader and include Jerusalem, Israel, the greater New York area, and other places. Boys are educated in private schools called Yeshivas that focus on teaching Yiddish and Hebrew, while girls receive more secular education. Many Hasidic women, particularly those in their twenties, are discouraged from pursuing higher education.
The Hasidic movement in the United States continues to face challenges. While the Lubavitcher women are promoting traditional roles as wives and mothers, Hasidic women are also accepting of secular employment. Some of these women are bringing Hasidic women into the secular world through college campuses. However, in the United States, these women are not religious leaders. In fact, some of them are secular activists.
The role of women in Orthodox Jewish life is growing. Many women now lead synagogues in New York and Massachusetts. In addition, a female rabbinic leader, named Hadas Fruchter, recently announced that she would move to Philadelphia to start a new congregation. Fruchter is being aided financially by a new nonprofit, established to help new congregations in the United States.