Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9781684580170 Published September 2020
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9781684580163 Published September 2020
E-book $24.99 ISBN: 9781684580187 Published July 2020


Writings on Devotion, Community, and Life in the Modern World

Edited by Ariel Evan Mayse and Sam Berrin Shonkoff


Edited by Ariel Evan Mayse and Sam Berrin Shonkoff

Distributed for Brandeis University Press

275 pages | 6 x 9
Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9781684580170 Published September 2020
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9781684580163 Published September 2020
E-book $24.99 ISBN: 9781684580187 Published July 2020
Hasidism has attracted, repelled, and bewildered philosophers, historians, and theologians since its inception in the eighteenth century. In Hasidism: Writings on Devotion, Community, and Life in the Modern World, Ariel Evan Mayse and Sam Berrin Shonkoff present students and scholars with a vibrant and polyphonic set of Hasidic confrontations with the modern world. In this collection, they show that 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.

While this volume focuses on Hasidism, it wrestles with a core set of questions that 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 Hasidic thought is cast with mystical, psychological, and even magical accents, and offers radically different answers to core issues of modern concern. The editors draw selections from an  array of genres including women’s supplications; sermons and homilies; personal diaries and memoirs; correspondence; stories; polemics; legal codes; and rabbinic response. 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 up through 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.
Table of Contents
Part I: Emergence, Challenge and Renewal (1740-1815)
The Ba‘al Shem Tov: Disciples and Descendants
Yiddish Supplications (Tkhines)
Dov Ber of Mezritsh
The Brody Proclamation of 1772
The Maggid’s Family
Chernobil and Zhitomir
Shmuel and Pinhas Horowitz, Levi Yitshak of Barditshev, and Uziel Meizels
Hasidism in Lithuania, White Russia and Tiberias
Nahman of Bratslav
Beyond the Maggid’s Circle
Early Hasidism in Poland

Part II: Ascendancy and Dominance (1815-1881)
Avraham Yehoshu‘a Heshel of Apt
The Dynasties of Ruzhin and Talna
Menahem Mendel Schneersohn
Kalonymous Kalman Epstein of Krakow
Hayim Halberstam and Sandz Hasidism
Malka Rokeah of Belz and Eydel Rubin of Brody
The Dynasties of Dinov, Zhidachov and Komarno
The Dynasties of Pshiskhe: Kotsk, Izhbits, Warka and Ger

Part III: Decline, Renaissance, and Destruction (1881-1945)
Ger in Warsaw: Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter
Sokhachev and Ger
Tsadok ha-Kohen of Lublin
Munkatsh Hasidism
Toledot Aharon
Sholom Dov Ber Schneersohn
The Hasidic Yeshivah
Sarah Schenirer
Three Hasidic Memoirs: Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, Yitshak Nahum Twersky and Malka Shapiro
The Belzer Rebbe’s Sermon
The Rebbe of Piaseczno

Part IV: Renewal and Reconstruction (1945–present)
Hasidic Theology and the Holocaust
Zionist Hasidism
Satmar Hasidism
The Seventh Rebbe of Habad
Zelda Schneurson Mishkovsky
Slonim Hasidism in Jerusalem
Ruth Lichtenstein and Feige Twerski

Review Quotes
Don Seeman, Emory University
“The editors have done an extraordinary thing. Succinctly framed by recent scholarship, they have nevertheless allowed some of the most consequential thinkers in the history of Hasidism to speak for themselves. Their selection is impressive, the translations are always lucid and sometimes strikingly beautiful. Mayse and Shonkoff have demonstrated the sheer phenomenological range of this movement and, significantly, made more space for Hasidic women’s voices than any previous collection. This will be the indispensable volume for teaching and research at every level. It deserves all the praise I can heap on it.” 
Naomi Seidman, author of Sarah Schenirer and the Bais Yaakov Movement
“In this latest addition to the beloved Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought, Mayse and Shonkoff address the distinctive modernity of Hasidic thought. In their inclusive vision, letters, memoirs, and responsa speak alongside homilies and works of theology. So, too, do they open the field of Hasidism to a strikingly diverse set of voices: women, neo-Hasidic thinkers, and ordinary Hasidim.”
Daniel Matt, author of the multi-volume, annotated translation, The Zohar: Pritzker Edition
“This dazzling collection will stimulate and enlighten its readers. In addition to displaying gems of famous Hasidic masters, the editors include women’s voices, memoirs, anti-Hasidic polemics, and theological responses to the Holocaust and the State of Israel. A superb resource for intellectual and spiritual exploration.”
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