Chapter

False Male and Woman Rebbe?

Nathaniel Deutsch

in The Maiden of Ludmir

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520231917
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927971 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520231917.003.0009
False Male and Woman Rebbe?

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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This chapter investigates the possibility that instead of merely imitating male behavior in constructing her social and religious identity, the Maiden of Ludmir drew on male and female influences alike, and in so doing went beyond dichotomous constructions of gender. It addresses the first piece of evidence for the Maiden of Ludmir's gender reversal: her claim that she received a new soul. Her desire to isolate herself was not without precedent in the history of Hasidism. It is argued that the Hasidic rebbe was not the only role model available to the Maiden, although it was probably the most influential. She resembled a particular type of rebbe, a type that was becoming increasingly rare. It is important to stress that for some of her followers, the Maiden's appeal must have been located precisely in her difference from male Hasidic leaders.

Keywords: Maiden of Ludmir; Hasidism; gender reversal; Hasidic rebbe; social identity; religious identity

Chapter.  8791 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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