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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, and an important document
This book is wonderful! In addition to being a good story in and of itself, it is an important work showing the opposition to the hasidic movement in the early 19th century. Give this to your hasidic friends to annoy them! This will strengthen your Misnagedut.
Published on October 16, 1999 by J. T. Reich

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars so-so as a read, but interesting snapshot of Jewish life in 1819
In the early 19th century, there were no Jewish denominations as such. In Eastern and Central Europe, Judaism was instead divided into three major movements: (1) Hasidim, a mystically inclined movement that has survived to this day, (2) more scholarly but very traditional Mitnaggedim, and (3) the Maskilim, modernizers who sought to increase secular learning among Jews...
Published on June 26, 2008 by Michael Lewyn


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars so-so as a read, but interesting snapshot of Jewish life in 1819, June 26, 2008
In the early 19th century, there were no Jewish denominations as such. In Eastern and Central Europe, Judaism was instead divided into three major movements: (1) Hasidim, a mystically inclined movement that has survived to this day, (2) more scholarly but very traditional Mitnaggedim, and (3) the Maskilim, modernizers who sought to increase secular learning among Jews but whose commitment to traditional observance varied. If you were going to compare these groups to modern movements, you might say that today's modern Orthodox Jews [and perhaps more traditionally inclined Conservatives] are ideological descendants of both (2) and (3), not-so-modern non-Hasidic Orthodoxy is the descendant of (2) alone, and Reform Judaism is the descendant of (3) alone.

This novel, written by a Maskil, paints both groups (2) and (3) in a positive light; however, its Hasidic characters are ignorant, corrupt, and superstitious.

Is it fair to Hasidism? Certainly not [though I suspect that there may well have been charlantans in early Hasidism who resembled the characters in the book].

Is it readable? Somewhat; I can't say that this book was impossible to put down.

Did it enhance my knowledge of Jewish history? Absolutely, insofar as it shows who hated who and why in 1819.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, and an important document, October 16, 1999
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This book is wonderful! In addition to being a good story in and of itself, it is an important work showing the opposition to the hasidic movement in the early 19th century. Give this to your hasidic friends to annoy them! This will strengthen your Misnagedut.
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Joseph Perl's Revealer Of Secrets: The First Hebrew Novel (Modern Hebrew Classics)
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