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Hasidism Reappraised$
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Ada Rapoport-Albert

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774204

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774204.001.0001

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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: 17 September 2021

The Influence of Reshit ḥokhmah on the Teachings of the Maggid of Mezhirech

The Influence of Reshit ḥokhmah on the Teachings of the Maggid of Mezhirech

(p.251) Fourteen The Influence of Reshit ḥokhmah on the Teachings of the Maggid of Mezhirech
Hasidism Reappraised

Bracha Sack

Liverpool University Press

This chapter demonstrates that in both the hasidic concepts of man and of divine service, the ideas of R. Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezhirech, are clearly related to those expressed by the sixteenth-century Safed kabbalist Elijah de Vidas in his book Reshit ḥokhmah. The relationship between hasidism and the ethical literature of the Safed kabbalists has attracted significant scholarly attention; I. Tishby, J. Dan, M. Pechter, and G. Nigal have all noted the popularity of Reshit ḥokhmah and its impact on hasidic thought. It seems clear that although kabbalistic ideas reached hasidism from a wide variety of literary sources, Reshit ḥokhmah was among the most important. Undoubtedly, both the anthropocentric tendency of hasidic teaching and its special concern with the individual soul can be traced back to Reshit ḥokhmah. Most strikingly, there is a particularly close affinity between Reshit ḥokhmah and the teachings of the Maggid of Mezhirech. The chapter then assesses the influence of the book on the Maggid's principal teachings, specifically with regard to the inner purification of man and his service of God.

Keywords:   purification of man, divine service, Dov Ber, Maggid of Mezhirech, Elijah de Vidas, Reshit ḥokhmah, hasidism, Safed kabbalists, hasidic thought, hasidic teaching

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