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Hasidism and PoliticsThe Kingdom of Poland, 1815-1864$
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Marcin Wodzinski

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113737

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113737.001.0001

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Origins: Controversies over Hasidic Shtiblekh

Origins: Controversies over Hasidic Shtiblekh

(p.42) Chapter Two Origins: Controversies over Hasidic Shtiblekh
Hasidism and Politics

Marcin Wodziński

Liverpool University Press

This chapter covers the prominence of the Jewish Question in the political debates of the last years of the Commonwealth, as well as in the later journalism of the Duchy of Warsaw and the Kingdom of Poland regarding interests in hasidim. It analyzes the cradle of Polish Hasidism, Podolia and Volhynia, the south-eastern borderlands of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, where from the 1740s to 1760 the putative creator of the group, Israel ben Eliezer, also known as the Besht was active. Though Hasidism appeared in the lands of central Poland as early as the mid-eighteenth century, the governments that controlled these territories between 1772 and 1830 did not become aware of it until nearly the end of that period that the existence of hasidic groups became an issue in Jewish politics. It explains how the lack of official interest in Hasidism was caused by the very complicated general history of the states of central and eastern Europe at the start of the nineteenth century. The growing wave of interventions in issues related to Hasidism and the fact that the question of the legality of Hasidism became tied up with the issue of religious fraternities.

Keywords:   Jewish Question, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Duchy of Warsaw, Kingdom of Poland, hasidim, Podolia, Volhynia, Besht, Jewish politics

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