Writings on Devotion, Community and Life in the Modern World
Editors: Ariel Evan Mayse and Sam Berrin Shonkoff
The modern Hasid marks not only another example of a Jewish pietist, but someone who is committed to an ethos of seeking wisdom, joy, and intimacy with the divine. The documents included in this volume wrestle with a core set of questions which permeate modern Jewish thought and religious thought more generally: What is the relationship between God and the world? What is the relationship between God and the human being? But they are cast with mystical, psychological, and even magical accents.
The editors draw selections from a vast array of genres including women’s supplications; sermons and homilies; personal diaries and memoirs; correspondence; stories; polemics; legal codes; rabbinic responsa; and historical documents. These selections consciously move between everyday lived experience and the most ineffable mystical secrets, reflecting the multidimensional nature of this unusual religious and social movement. The editors include canonical texts from the first generation of Hasidic leaders to present-day ultra-orthodox as well as neo-Hasidic voices and, in so doing, demonstrate the unfolding of a rich and complex phenomenon that continues to evolve today.