The hasidic world

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Hasidic Judaism, meaning “piety”, is a prominent sector, within strictly—orthodoxy, that promotes spirituality through the internalisation of mysticism as the fundamental aspect of Judaism. Hasidic Judaism was established during the eighteenth century in Eastern Europe by Rabbi Baal-Shem-Tov as a reaction against the more “legalistic” method of Judaism practised by the “Mitnagdim”—the Litvish. The largest groups are the Satmar, the Belzer, the Bobover and the Chabad. Other London-based communities include the Kosov, the Biala, the Machnovka, the Chernobyl, the Skver, the Rachmastrivka, the Vizhnitz, the Karlin-Stolin and the Sassov. The various Hasidic groups emphasise the practical side of living and the communal experience, profess an emotive religion and devotion based on awe. They encouraged mystical spiritualism, intimate, active, enthusiastic, physical, vocal, spontaneous and joyful lives. The lives of the Hasidim focus around the Admor’s (their religious leader) courtyard, who fulfils the spiritual role of the link between people and God, and is a central leader in the daily lives of his community. Rabbinical leadership is hereditary, usually passed on from father to son. The Hasidim speak Yiddish, and it is common to differentiate among the many different subs- and splinter-groups of the Hasidim by their place of origin. Yiddish is the primary Hasidic language, a means of identifying, socialising and differentiating the community from its surroundings. In this sense, spoken Yiddish serves to linguistically isolate the pious from the outside world.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Book Series
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameUrban Book Series
ISSN (Print)2365-757X
ISSN (Electronic)2365-7588

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020.


  • Communal experience
  • Devotion based on awe
  • Emotive religion
  • Hasidic judaism
  • Mystical spiritualism
  • Rabbi baal-shem-tov
  • The admor
  • Yiddish


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