The Vilna Gaon and the Mitnagdim as Seen by the Hasidim

Immanuel Etkes

in The Gaon of Vilna

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520223943
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925076 | DOI:
The Vilna Gaon and the Mitnagdim as Seen by the Hasidim

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter examines how the persecuted Hasidim regard their persecutor and how did the Hasidic leaders explain to themselves and to their flocks the fact that their chief opponent, Vilna Gaon, was the greatest scholar of their generation. It analyzes the letters written by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady. The findings reveal that Zalman's response to the role played by the Vilna Gaon in the struggle against Hasidism was dual. While he acknowledged the Gaon's eminence as the greatest scholar of his day, he also challenged his authority to determine that Hasidism was a heresy.

Keywords: Hasidism; Vilna Gaon; Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady; scholar; heresy

Chapter.  21382 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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