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HasidismKey Questions$
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Marcin Wodzinski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190631260

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190631260.001.0001

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(p.87) 3 Leadership

Marcin Wodziński

Oxford University Press

This chapter attempts to add yet another perspective to the already extensive scholarship on the tsadikim, which has been based so far mainly on elitist, rabbinical sources of a normative, rather than a descriptive, nature. It asks what simple pilgrims expected to achieve from their visits to a Hasidic court and how they expressed it. By analyzing a mass source of popular petitions brought to one Hasidic leader by thousands of his followers, the chapter arrives at the conclusion that the simple pilgrims expected from the tsadik mainly intervention in the matters of health, income, and family matters, most typically connected to fertility and business problems. It also shows inroads of a modernizing vision of the world in the way the image of the tsadik and his powers were constructed in the petitions.

Keywords:   Hasidism, tsadik, zaddik, leadership, kvitl, petitions, Peter Brown, Eliyahu Guttmacher, fertility

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