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Hasidim or Chassidim (both: häsēˈdĭm, khä–) [Heb.,=the pious], term used by the rabbis to describe those Jews who maintained the highest standard of religious observance and moral action. The term has been applied to movements at three distinct times. The first Hasidim, also called the Assideans or Hasideans, were an ancient Jewish sect that developed between 300 B.C. and 175 B.C. They were the most rigid adherents of Judaism in contradistinction to those Jews who were beginning to be affected by Hellenistic influences. The Hasidim led the resistance to the hellenizing campaign of Antiochus IV of Syria, and they figured largely in the early phases of the revolt of the Maccabees. Their ritual strictness has caused some to see them as forerunners of the Pharisees. Throughout the Talmudic period numerous figures were referred to as Hasidim. During the 12th and 13th cent., however, there arose in Germany a specific group known as the Hasidei Ashkenaz. Influenced by Saadia ben Joseph and with messianic and mystical elements, it held as its central ideology the unity of God, the application of justice in all situations, social and economic equality, and martyrdom at the hands of the crusaders rather than compromise of any kind. The chief ethical work that derived from the group was the Sefer Hasidim (tr. Book of the Pious, 1973). The third movement to which the term Hasidim is applied is that founded in the 18th cent. by Baal-Shem-Tov and known as Hasidism.


See S. Lieberman, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine (1962); S. G. Kramer, God and Man in the Sefer Hasidim (1966); A. L. Lowenkopf, The Hasidim (1973). See also bibliography under Hasidism.

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References in periodicals archive ?
Karas found no merit in the allegation that four Rockland County villages--Pomona, Wesley Hills, Chestnut Ridge, and Montebello, all in the Town of Ramapo--were established to discriminate again Chassidim. (145) But it was acknowledged in the course of this litigation that the founders of these villages sought land use control, and that many suburban neighbors who observed land use choices made in Chassidic-governed villages did not want them duplicated in their own communities.
Rabinowicz ended by bringing the reader/listener/participant into the Hasidic tradition through the medium of group singing: "Chassidim believe that in the highest heavens there is a sanctuary that song alone can unlock.
(188.) RABBI YEHUDAH HA-CHASSID, SEFER CHASSIDIM, [section] 155, at 316-17.
Some people, I think the Chassidim, use this rigid law for that; and I think dancers use dancing, and other people use, unfortunately, bombs.
song, have been integral to the practice of chassidim from its founding
Life in a Religious Community: The Lubavitcher Chassidim in Montreal.
But elsewhere she hastens to qualify her visionary proposition: for the backward "semi-Orientals, Kabalists and Chassidim, who constitute the vast majority of East European Israelites, some more practical meas ure of reform must be devised" (Epistle 77).
Amazing!--and all the more so when I learn that over a quarter of these black-clad chassidim work for Microsoft!
The development of Jewish and Catholic scholasticism and mysticism in pre-expulsion Spain and of later Christian Pietism and Chassidim in Eastern Europe are obvious examples.
Since 1950, the Board of Deputies no longer represents British Jewry, which has become "pluralized" and "polarized" among chassidim, the younger orthodox anxious to escape their parents' assimilationist past, the Sephardim, liberal and reform Jews, and the upwardly mobile (377).
"Montreal's Chassidim Revisited: A Focus on Change." Essays in the Social Scientific Study of Judaism and Jewish Society.