Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Collected EssaysVolume III$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113997

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113997.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

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: 18 October 2021

Three Themes in Sefer Ḥasidim

Three Themes in Sefer Ḥasidim

(p.5) Chapter One Three Themes in Sefer Ḥasidim
Collected Essays

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses how R. Yehudah he-Ḥasid's sense of right and justice, what he termed din shamayim (heavenly law), had little in common with halakhic norms; it resembled instead the 'natural law' of the Stoics, a sense of justice imprinted in all men's minds that guided them to a common perception of the right and the equitable. The meaning often given to din shamayim, the centrality attributed to it in the German Pietists' thought, and the image of the-Ḥasid as torn (consciously or not) between two competing sources of authority reveal more about the outlook of modern Jewish historiography than about the thinking of those medieval German Jews who so aspired to the epithet 'Ḥasidim'. The chapter then questions whether the celebrated remarks of Sefer Ḥasidim about talmud Torah and talmidei ḥakhamim constituted a theoretical evaluation of these institutions and thus expressed a basic axiological critique, or whether these words arose from a distinct historical context and possessed a specific address. It is the tosafist movement that forms the backdrop to Ḥasidei Ashkenaz. Much of Sefer Ḥasidim, both good and bad, is a product of and a response to the disruptive effects of the new dialectic.

Keywords:   din shamayim, halakhic norms, natural law, German Pietists, German Jews, talmud Torah, talmidei ḥakhamim, Sefer Ḥasidim, tosafist movement, Ḥasidei Ashkenaz

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.