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Israel Salanter


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Lithuanian Talmudist and religious thinker (1810–1883), founder of the Musar movement. Israel's family name was Lipkin, but he is known as Israel Salanter after the town of Salant in which he grew up and where he studied to become an outstanding Talmudic scholar (although he sought, wherever possible, to conceal his great learning). It appears that Salanter did not originally intend that his Musar approach should be elitist but that it should promote greater inwardness in the lives of Jewish artisans and businessmen. However, eventually Salanter's ideas were appreciated only by Yeshivah students, and Salanter's disciples, encouraged by him, established Musar Yeshivot of their own. At first there was determined opposition by traditional Rabbis to the introduction of Musar into the Yeshivah curriculum. The Torah itself, these Rabbis argued, was balm for the soul and there was no need to supplement study of the Torah with Musar. But Salanter's ideas prevailed, so that the majority of the Lithuanian-type Yeshivot became Musar Yeshivot.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.


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