Children and Childhood in Hasidic Courts before 1939

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The nineteenth century saw the dynamic expansion of hasidism in east and central Europe, a Jewish religious revival with strongly traditional characteristics. Children were venerated in this movement in a manner common to many cultures and religions. However, there was something specific about the way the children of hasidic leaders were groomed for leadership and sometimes even became tsadikim (spiritual leaders) while they were still children. This involved an inversion of roles, since most hasidim viewed tsadikim as spiritual fathers, older men whom they could trust, consult, and rely on in all domains of life. However, a child hasidic leader was invested with spiritual authority, and when he grew up to be a tsadik he came to be seen as a living example of the stability and continuity of the movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-41
Number of pages23
JournalPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Religious studies


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