Hasidic Thought and the Holocaust (1933–1947): Optimism and Activism
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Polish hasidic thought during the Holocaust exhibited optimism about the outcome. This was tied in part to the power of the inner point of faith (nekudah penimit) to impact upon the dialectical movement from darkness to light, on both the historical (sin-punishment) and metahistorical (exile-redemption) levels. Exponents of this view included the Admorim (rebbes, hasidic leaders) of Alexander, Bobov, and Gur, and Kalonymus Kalman Shapira (Warsaw). Immediately after the war, other Admorim from these streams continued with their optimism and faith-activism, even though they viewed the Holocaust through the lens of its non-redemptive aftermath. There was also a pessimistic and passive strain, shared by representatives of the Kotsk, Sokhachev, and Sokolov dynasties, in apparent response to the failure of inner faith to affect the catastrophic historical reality.
KeywordsHasidism Eastern Europe Holocaust Twentieth Century Theology
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