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Hassidus in Relationship to History, Tradition and Reform

Hosted By: Orange County Community Scholar Program (CSP)

Rabbinism and Kabbalism: Mutually Exclusive Systems?
Jewish life was for centuries based around halakhah (Jewish law). It still is, in the sense that Jews either live within its bounds in one way or another, or they react to it by rejecting it. But how many lawyers you know are also mystics? It would seem at the outset that there is a perhaps unbridgeable gap between the apparently hard-headed down-to-earth pragmatism of the legal profession, and the seemingly transcendent metaphysical concerns of mystics and magicians. In Hassidus, these divergent poles converged. To understand this, we must introduce Kabbalah as a system that tugged Judaism in an antinomian (anti-halakhic) way, but which was “tamed” in a mostly nomian (halakhah-abiding) manner in Hassidus.

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