Ritualization as Religious Renewal in 18th-Century Hasidism

In: Zutot
Gadi Sagiv The Open University of Israel

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Rituals have always been a characterizing and significant aspect of Hasidism. Although ritual practices are often considered rigid and conservative, Hasidism showed tremendous flexibility in composing, reviving, and disseminating old rituals in novel religious settings. Highly visible, easily deliverable, not requiring intellectual background, and embedded in Jewish tradition, rituals and ceremonies were the perfect means by which to popularize pietism and esoteric knowledge among large audiences, while maintaining the prestige of their performers.

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