Hasidic Tales

by Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield

There have been—Hasidim, which literally means “individuals of exceptional piety,” throughout the history of Judaism. The modern Hasidic movement, based on Jewish mysticism, originated in Poland in the eighteenth century. The movement was founded by Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer of Mazbigh, known as the Baal Shem Tov (1700-1760). The Baal Shem was a wise and a charismatic man; legends and tales about him have been handed down through the generations. By the second decade of this century, the Hasidim included about half the population of the Eastern European Jewish Community. Martin . . .

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