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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 11Focusing on Aspects and Experiences of Religion$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774051

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774051.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

‘A Thread of Blue’: Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner of Radzyń and his Search for Continuity in Response to Modernity

‘A Thread of Blue’: Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner of Radzyń and his Search for Continuity in Response to Modernity

Chapter:
(p.31) ‘A Thread of Blue’: Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner of Radzyń and his Search for Continuity in Response to Modernity
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 11
Author(s):

Shaul Magid

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774051.003.0003

This chapter argues that the mid- to late nineteenth-century hasidic dynasty of Izbica–Radzyń constitutes an intellectual renaissance in hasidic creativity. The canonical tradition of medieval philosophic, kabbalistic, and pietistic literature emerged in mid-nineteenth-century hasidic discourse, specifically in Congress Poland, with surprising regularity. Rabbi Gershon Henoch of Radzyń revisited medieval Jewish philosophy and kabbalah and attempted to represent this rich tradition within the ideological framework of hasidic spirituality. His project seemed to have numerous goals, none of which was explicitly developed in his writings. First, he apparently sought to root hasidism in medieval philosophical and kabbalistic tradition in an attempt finally to put to rest the criticism that hasidism departed from normative Jewish practice and ideology. Second, Rabbi Gershon Henoch's entire programme was founded on an overt messianic impulse. This programme, including his attempt to reinstitute the lost tradition of tekhelet, should be seen as representing a mid-nineteenth-century hasidic response to modernity.

Keywords:   hasidic creativity, Congress Poland, Gershon Henoch, medieval Jewish philosophy, kabbalah, hasidic spirituality, hasidism, Jewish practice, Jewish ideology, modernity

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