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Founder of HasidismA Quest for the Historical Ba'al Shem Tov$
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Moshe Rosman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764449

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764449.001.0001

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Light from the Archives

Light from the Archives

(p.159) Chapter Ten Light from the Archives
Founder of Hasidism

Moshe Rosman

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explains how Jewish scholars tended to view the Besht, Hasidism, and the relevant sources as quintessentially internal Jewish phenomena that grew out of a genuinely and exclusively Jewish tradition. It points out how the scholars emphasized the Besht’s thought and actions without much reference to the physical, social, and economic framework within which these have taken shape. The chapter also provides evidence how Besht was not isolated. By virtue of his being a ba’al shem, the Besht had to be concerned with the personal problems of the people among whom he lived. His own letters and the traditions about him depict that Besht both as involved in issues on the public agenda and as active in helping individuals recover from illness, finance their marriages, exorcise demons, and escape from danger.

Keywords:   Jewish phenomena, Besht, Hasidism, ba’al shem, Jewish tradition, Jewish scholars

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