Hasidic Judaism Rules & Customs | What Does Hasidic Mean? | Study.com

Posted By on March 28, 2023

How Hasidic Judaism Began

In today's troubled world, we may often watch a news report and feel disillusioned and fearful about what the future may bring. The gap between rich and poor is widening, while conflict and division seem to be everywhere. People seem to have lost their sense of priority, and confusion reigns. However, this isn't the first time in human history that this has happened. In fact, in seventeenth century Poland, there was a similar time when the Polish Jews found themselves in the midst of similar conflict, division and even persecution. It was during this time that Hasidic Judaism began.

Hasidic Judaism is a branch of Haredi Judaism, which itself is a branch of Orthodox Judaism, or conservative Judaism. It originated in Poland around 1740 and was founded by the Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer, who was also called Besht. Those who followed Hasidic Judaism were dedicated to following the laws of the Torah, which is the Bible of Judaism. They were also dedicated to living life according to this law and to bringing God into every aspect of life. Hasidic Judaism is not just a faith but is instead the basis for a whole unique sort of community in which every member is first a servant of God.

The Torah is, technically, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or what's known among Christians as the Old Testament. This is considered to be God's teachings and guidance for humanity. However, Hasidic Judaism also incorporates much of the mystic tradition of the Kaballah. This is a more oral tradition that encompasses ideas about how people can raise their consciousness and develop a more clear perception of reality. Being a Hasidic Jew doesn't just mean following the scriptures of the Torah. It also means being a joyful servant of God, spreading kindness and respect for the world that God created. In Hasidic Judaism, an emotional or heartfelt understanding of God is more valued than a simple technical knowledge of the scriptures.

In Hasidic Judaism, the rebbe is a spiritual leader of the community. This is analogous to the rabbi in more modern Judaism. The rebbe is also considered to be a tzaddik, or righteous man. Members of the Hasidic community come to the rebbe for advice, for prayers when they are ill, or for help with developing a closer relationship to God. Various Hasidic communities are led by different tzadikim, and people look to these leaders as examples of the way to live a pious life.

The Shabbat is the Hasidic Jewish day of rest and the seventh day of the week. It's a dedicated day of prayer, and begins on Friday night, going into Saturday and ending Saturday evening. On the Shabbat, activities are restricted and the focus is on family get-togethers rather than study and work.

Hasidic Judaism doesn't necessarily consider the modern world to be a friendly place. Hasidic Jews don't follow conventional Western fashion trends, but instead have their own dress code, which emphasizes modesty and identifies them as followers of Jewish law. The men wear black suits with a white shirt and wide black hats over a traditional skull cap. Women don't wear miniskirts or show cleavage, but instead dress with great modesty, sometimes even wearing head coverings. Hasidic Jews do use technology as needed, but don't use the Internet or television for entertainment. They're also careful about protecting their spirituality and psychological well-being.

Hasidic men and women are generally kept separated throughout much of their lives until marriage. They worship separately and are educated separately. Although marriages are not often arranged nowadays, the parents may still rely on a matchmaker and may try to bring a couple together if they think the match is suitable. When it's decided that there will be a marriage, a contract is signed.

Among Hasidic Jews, the emphasis of the role of women has traditionally been to serve as wives and mothers. However, just prior to the Holocaust, women were beginning to participate in Hasidic education. The extent to which women are allowed to participate in this education varies by Hasidic sect, as some sects are more progressive than others. For example, the Lubavitcher sect of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, is known for its women activists and its progressive policies.

A Hasidic school is called a yeshiva, and the focus of learning is the teachings of the Torah. Hasidic boys and girls are educated separately from pre-school onward. When the boys are older, their school hours are longer, and they spend most of these hours studying the Talmud, which is an extensive book of Jewish law. Hasidic Jews generally do not favor higher education as they believe it jeopardizes their culture. Instead, they take technical training or become involved in business or a skilled trade.

Hasidic Judaism has been criticized by many for its restrictive and socially isolating policies as well as its patriarchal structure. However, Hasidic communities are still widespread even today, with almost half a million Hasidic Jews living in North America and also with large communities in Israel, and smaller communities in parts of Europe. Perhaps this is because such a tradition is respected for giving structure and meaning to life during times that are once again challenging and often chaotic.

Hasidic Judaism was founded in Poland around 1740 by the Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer during a turbulent time of conflict and division. The holy book of Judaism is the Torah, which is the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Hasidic Judaism also incorporates the mysticism of the Kaballah, which is an oral tradition with teachings that are designed to help people experience clear perception of reality and an insightful understanding of God.

In the Hasidic community, the rebbe is a spiritual leader and is also a tzaddik, or righteous man. Community members see him as a counselor and advisor. The Shabbat is the Hasidic holy day, which begins on Friday night and goes into Saturday evening.

The Hasidic culture has its own mode of dress along with many customs regarding marriage, the role of women, and education. A Hasidic school is called a yeshiva. Hasidic boys have extended school hours and spend many of these studying the Talmud, which is a book of Jewish law. There are still many Hasidic Jewish communities in existence around the world today.


Hasidic Judaism Rules & Customs | What Does Hasidic Mean? | Study.com

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