Rabbi Hayyim of Volozhin's polemic with Hassidism

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R. Hayyim Volozhin, the main disciple of the Vilna Gaon, set up the Volozhin Yeshiva in 1802. Unlike his mentor, R. Hayyim was not interested in perpetuating the animosity between Hassisdm and mirthnagdim, welcoming Hassidic students in his yeshiva. Despite this, R. Hayyim had a major ideological dispute with the Hassidic world. This is obvious from the collections of questions and answers we have from him, the sheiltot, in which he spells out his differences with Hassidism. His Nefesh Ha-Hayyim, his only autographic work published posthumously, was both a polemic on Hassidism as well as an alternative Judaic-Kabbalistic world view to Hassidism. R. Hayyim's polemic strengthens the point of view that the Vilna Gaon and his students were more ideologically than politically opposed to Hassidism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalScripta Judaica Cracoviensia
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Jagiellonian University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Eastern European Jewry
  • Halakhah
  • Hassidm
  • Kabbalah
  • Mithnagdim
  • Vilna Gaon


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