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Modern Jewish History Slides 2

18th Century: Hasidism, Haskalah, Enlightened Absolutism

Jess Olson

on 22 February 2018

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Transcript of Modern Jewish History Slides 2

Europe: 720,000
540,000 E and SE
Asia: 200,000
5,000 Ottoman Palestine
Africa: 175,000
170,000 N Africa
Americas: 5,000
Europe: 2,020,000
1,675,000 E and SE
Asia: 260,000
7,000 Ottoman Palestine
Africa: 212,000
Americas: 8,000
Ya'akov Yosef of Polonoye
R. Elimelekh m'Lizhensk (1717-87)
R. Menahem Twerski m'Chernobyl (Me'or Eynayim, 1730-97)
R. Zev Wolf, Zhitomir (d. 1797)
R. Shneur Zalman (1745-1812)
R. Aharon ha Gadol m'Karlin (1736-1772)
Emden-Eybeschutz Controversy, 1740-60
It was about this time that I conceiv’d the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wish’d to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined…I concluded, at length, that the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping, and that contrary habits must be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of conduct.
Menaham Mendel Levin
Bn. Satanow, Poland,1749
Moves to Berlin, late 1770s
Associate of Mendelssohn, other Maskilim
Returns to Podolia/Galicia, lives rest of life in Poland, c. 1784
His patron: Prince Adam Kazimirz Czartoryski, proponent of Polish enlightenment (Oświecenie)
Shul of Besht, Mezhibozh
Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski,
August Aleksander Czartoryski
The Modern Yeshiva: Volozhin, 1803
Elite movement (to a degree a rejection of Hasidut)
Mixed level of diversity
Relatively small number of students (Volozhin: <400)
Limited primarily to Lithuania
Major impact: transmission of ideas
The Haskalah:
Extremely elite movement
little social diversity
little success (in early years) or following (more in west, little in east)
Located primarily in urbanizing settings (18th c.: esp. Berlin, Frankfurt, Prague, Vilna, Shklov)
Enlightened Absolutism: Transformation from corporate identity to individual interaction with the state
Frederick the Great, Prussia, 1712-86
Catherine the Great, Russia, 1729-96
Maria Theresa, 1717-80
Josef II, 1741-90
Musar/Ethical literature
Reaction to ecstatic and conservative religiosity
Reaction to political trends
Early Stages: Common purpose and methods
Emphasis on internal Reform (with state as partner – or dictator)
Conflicted engagement with reform
Late or no engagement with vernacular(Russian)
No surrounding model of integration
Emphasis on internal and external reform(state as recipient of reform as well as partner)
Deep engagement of Jewish society in vernacular(German)
Positive model of integration
Western Haskalah, 1750s-1800
Eastern Haskalah, 1750s-1860s
(Not) The Besht
Josef Perl
R. Shneur Zalman m'Lyadi
R. Eliyahu of Vilna (The GR"A)
Moses Mendelssohn
David Friedlander
Excursions into Modernity:
The Modern Turn in the 18th Century
Increased political centralization and state interference
Decline of kehilla authority(?)
Spiritual crisis(?)
Hasidism and Haskalah
Two "modern" movements
No geographic boundaries (east/west)
But beginning of split
Similar impact: undermining of traditional Kehillot
Both "internal" movements that evolve into two poles of internal vs. external
Two different approaches to "modern" anxiety
Dov Ber, Magid of Mezheritsh
Finding the Historical Besht
Question: How do we know so little about the origins of one of the most (the most?) important modern Jewish intellectual movements? What are the implications of this?
Shivhei ha-Besht, Published by Yisrael Yoffe (Chabad)
Igeret Aliyat ha-Neshamah, 1750-1
Transformation from hevra to movement
Geographic distribution
The crystalization of the Tsadik
Popularization of early Hasidut
Mystical continuity:
Ascetic, Isolated
Small group of enthusiasts
Leading the way to Modernity: 1750-1790s
A voice from a time of transition: Glikl of Hameln
The idea of "enlightened absolutism"
The partitions of Poland
Three approaches in Germanic lands: absolutists engage with the Jews
The early Haskalah -- fact or fiction?
What is the Haskalah? What are its ideals?
Jud Suess, cont'd.
(Tomorrow: meet in library, rm. 408)
The Impact of Haskalah:
Religious Reform and Denominationalism
Jewish Studies (Wissenschaft des Judenthums)
German-Jewish Neutral Identity
To do list, Week 2:
Field Trip on Wednesday
Choose topic for paper and presentation
Places we are visiting: Berlin, Leipzig, Weimar, Jena, Dresden
Topics due NEXT MONDAY
Readings for tomorrow: Articles on synagogue reform
"Light of Splendor"
"These are the Words of the Covenant"
"A Reply Concerning the Question of Reform"
"Last Will and Testament" (Chatam Sofer)
"Mendelssohn's Biur is Heretical"
"The Question of Patriotism"
"Hebrew as the Language of Prayer"
"The Question of Messianism"
"This is our Task"
"On Changes in Judaism"
"Religion Allied to Progress"
"The Manifesto of Ultra-Orthodoxy"
Bobov: Galicia, Monsey, etc.
Spinka: Romania/Hungary, Brooklyn, Monsey, Israel
Satmar: Hungary/Carpathians, Rockland County, Brooklyn
Nikolsburg: Moravia, Monsey
"Now, in order to educate the youths of Israel in the proper manner, two types of studies should be established. The first type is the study of 'human knowledge,' [torat ha-adam] that is, those matters which earn for their possessors the title "human," since he who lacks this knowledge hardly deserves this title...The second type is the study of the Torah of God, that is, God's laws and teachings, matters that are above human reason and that were made known to Moses through prophetic revelation...In general, human knowledge as opposed to revealed knowledge is comprised of etiquette, the ways of morality and good character, civility and clear, graceful expression; these matters and their like are implanted in man's reason...
"...It is proper that in his youth man should crown himself with the fear of God, with the rules of etiquette and with knowledge to which the appelation "human" is appropriate. With this knowledge he will prepare his heart to learn the laws and teachings of God...This "human knowledge" benefits the commonweal, as it teaches know how to avail oneself of all things under the sun. It is responsible for man's success in all his worldly endeavors and provides a means for every man to be an aid to his fellow through his affairs and actions. Therefore he who lacks human knowledge, even though he has learned the laws and teaching of God and lives according to them, gives no pleasure to others for two reasons. First, his fellowship is burdensome to other people. He will constantly err in the manners of men, his speech in worldly affairs will not be in conformity with reason and his actions worse than useless. Second, even though the laws and teachings of God are far superior to human knowledge they are closely correlated to it; where human knowledge ends, the divine teaching begins. Therefore he who is ignorant of the laws of God but is versed in human knowledge, even though the sages of Israel will not benefit from his light in the study of Torah, he will benefit the remainder of humanity. But he who is ignorant of human knowledge, though he knows th elaws of God, gladdesns neither the wise of his own people nor the remainder of humanity."
His Majesty, Joseph II...Aside from the tidings of his wisdom, his counsel and his military might, imperial statements that have recently issued from him have brought us tidings of even more heroic deeds. These statements -- words of peach and truth to all his subjects -- have been tried in the crucible of reason and are founded on the love of mankind.
"The bitter Egyptian exile was unlike the experience in Persia. Although we were in exile there, we were considered important and respected. Cyrus and Darius were compassionate and merciful toward us. This is also the case in our own time, when our lord his Majesty the emperor has decided to help us and to raise us from our degradation....
"We Jews should not ...become insolant and begin to behave with haughtiness and arrogance. We should act respectfully toward the inhabitants of this kingdom. it is their own land, while we are only guests. A sense of submissiveness is good when it comes from within. It is enough that his Majesty the emperor has extended his protetion over us, so that no one will use force to harm or degrade us...
"Envy of worldly things, such as the wealth of a rich man, or arrogance because of them, is reprehensible. Nothing good results from it...
"But now, because of our many sins, I have seen everything overturned. How can one envy the study of Torah, when an evil man has arisen from our own people and brazenly asserted that the Torah is not all important, that an animal carcass is worth more than Talmudic scholars, that etiquitte is more vital than Torah? This man is certainlly blind to his own faults. He is worse than an animal carcass, and in the end his corpse will like like dung upon the field!
"Now as to the substance of the matter -- the value of ettiquitte and grammatical knowledge of the languages spoken by our neighbors -- I too esteem these things. The government has done a great favor in deciding to teach our children to speak [German] correctly. Even in Bible we were criticized for not knowing how to speak the various langauges of one's neighbors. Therefore his Majesty has done us a great favor in commanding us to learn the language grammatically so that we can speak it properly...
But we, God's people, are obliged to sacrifice our lives for our sacred Torah, both the written Torah and the oral one. Whatever we are admonished in the Tlamud must be equivalent in our minds to what is written in the Ten Commandments. What do we care if these sects mock us? We shall walk in the name of the Lord, in the path trodden by the Rif, the Rambam, the Rosh and the Ba'alei Tosefot, who found bright light as the walked in the apth of the Tlamud, who had no interst in esoteric doctrines, yet were deemed worthy of eternal life. The foundation of all is faith!"
Text 1:
Text 2:
German Jews on the Cusp of Modernity:
Hofjuden and social evolution
Government and emancipation
Debates over legal change
The intellectual culture of Berlin
"Religious enlightenment"
The impact of haskalah
Full transcript