Compare And Contrast Zionism And Hasidism

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Zionism and Hasidism are two entirely contrasting responses to one of the greatest questions in Jewish thought: how are the Jews to rule themselves without a sovereign? The immensity of this pondering has birthed many movements, though Zionism and Hasidism were both particularly successful at capturing the imagination and allegiance of many. While Hasidism adopted a highly spiritual outlook on exile, redemption and the return to Zion, Zionism supports a territorial and political approach to the question of Jewish sovereignty. Hasidism tackles the issue of sovereignty through the embracement of seclusion, anti-modernity and spirituality, while Zionism embodies a much more politicized, nationalized and modernistic approach: while Hasidism takes…show more content…
His ideologies, which became focal points of the following Hasidic movement, differed greatly than those taught at a yeshiva: rather than focusing upon the details of Jewish law, Ba’al Shem Tov taught that one’s personal communication and connection with God was of the greatest importance, and that this spiritual significance of God mattered more and went far beyond the realm of what the Talmud could teach. This belief was underlined by the Talmudic phrase, “God desire the heart” (Sanhedrin 106b), which Ba’al Shem Tov was drawn towards. “The whole world is full of His Glory” is another Talmudic phrase stressed by Ba’al Shem Tov, which he used as a response to the Mitnagdim through the reasoning that God would want you to experience the world rather than hide from it in study. This would result in the development of spiritual and religious prosperity. Ba’al Shem Tov as well taught the essentiality of joy and its importance to prayer. This influenced Hasids to exclude Jewish practices that would diminish joy, such as asceticism through regular fasting and so on. While Ba’al Shem Tov stressed the importance in revering the Tzaddick, he did not place nearly the same attention upon its importance as his Hasidic successors did, who made the Tzaddick into an extremely powerful figure—the rebbe came to be viewed as a direct connection with God. The rebbes…show more content…
This yearning for autonomy was expressed in the arguments vocalized by the Polish Zionist leaders at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, who demanded representation in parliament, an institution based around a kehile and a national Jewish council elected by Jews, among other requests. This clear desire for self rule and the parallel unlikelihood that such a demand would ever be fully rewarded framed Zionism in an attractive light: a land in which the Jews could be fully autonomous was sufficiently alluring. The Polish government’s failure to entirely follow through with their promises of the Minorities’ Treaty, as well as their blatant efforts at assimilating the Jews, added further fuel to the Zionist flame. For instance, schools were not provided (although they could be opened privately), and equality for the Jews was a concept unanimously disagreed upon by the Polish government. From a secular, political and territorial standpoint, Zionism evolved into a persuasive solution to centuries of hardships endured by the Jewish people. However, Zionism encountered an incredible ideological backlash, largely from the

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