Hasidic Prayer

The ecstatic prayer of the early Hasidim reflects the rediscovery of God's presence in the world.

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The name of the redemption to be brought about by prayer was also transformed in Hasidism. Largely because of the tragic failure of messianism in the religious uprising led by the false Messiah Shabbatai Zvi, the use of prayer as a direct vehicle for historic redemption was underplayed by Hasidic teachings.

By means of devekut, or intimate attachment to God, one could come to personally transcend all the trials of life in the world, while the external historical situation in fact remained unchanged. Redemption within this world became the goal. For some Hasidic authors, the devekut state as attained by the individual came to replace tikkun, eschatalogical world-redemption, as the central goal of the religious life.

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Rabbi Arthur Green

Rabbi Arthur Green, Ph.D., is Lown Professor of Jewish Thought at Brandeis University and Dean of the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College. Among his many books are Tormented Master: A Life of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav, Seek My Face, Speak My Name: A Contemporary Jewish Theology, and Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow.