Hasidism, the eighteenth century Jewish spiritual revivalist movement, was barraged with theological attacks from emergence. One of the critiques of the movement, which has remained prevalent in modernity, is Hasidism’s de-emphasis on Judaism’s commandments. There are few factors which justify this reputation, and its historical proximity to Sabbateanism, combined with its focus on mystic theology, likely lead the contemporaneous rabbinic leadership to take precautionary measures against the fledgling movement. Rabbi Elijah, one of the most influential eighteenth-century European rabbis, also came out heavily against the movement, sealing its fate as the “antinomian” Jewish movement for the next 200 years.
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