Chasidim and Old Order Amish A Comparison

Chasidim and Old Order Amish: A Comparison
The two groups to be examined are the Chasidim and the Old Order Amish.We will begin with a brief look at the history of each group.
The Chasidim, or Hasidim, as more commonly known, are a cult within the tradition of Judaism.The word "Hasid" derives from the Hebrew word for "pious".Hasidism dates back to the early eighteenth century and originated in central and Eastern Europe.Its founder was a man named Israel ben Eliezer (c.1700-1760).He is otherwise known as the Baal Shem Tov.In Hebrew "Baal Shem" means, "master of the [good] name".It is a title given to men who are endowed with mystical powers.According to Hasidic belief, Adonai (God) chooses these men.
The Baal Shem Tov taught a new way of practicing Judaism that was strikingly different than what was considered acceptable at that time.It was his contention that God was everywhere and in all things-including man.There was no need for rigorous study of Torah (the Pentateuch, or Five Books of Moses).A man's education-or lack thereof, is unimportant.Accordingly, an honest prayer from an unlearned Jew is just as powerful than a prayer made by a talmid chachem (an expert in Talmud).The Besht insisted that unity with God was possible through spontaneous prayer, ecstatic emotion, song, and dance.Jews were to embrace their raw emotions, release their passions-and not to suppress them as they might interfere with the analytic study of Judaism.This new way of worship was unlike anything that had been previously seen in Judaism.It appealed to great numbers of Jews, namely the uneducated masses.
The rise of popularity of Hasidism was also aided by its timing.As Leo Rosten writes about the Baal Shem Tov in his book The Joys of Yiddish, "He brought the excitement of hope into the lives of Polish Jewry, who had been decimat…

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