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The Gaon of VilnaThe Man and His Image$
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Immanuel Etkes

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223943

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223943.001.0001

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The Vilna Gaon and the Beginning of the Struggle against Hasidism

The Vilna Gaon and the Beginning of the Struggle against Hasidism

(p.73) 3 The Vilna Gaon and the Beginning of the Struggle against Hasidism
The Gaon of Vilna

Immanuel Etkes

University of California Press

This chapter discusses various aspects of the controversy between the Hasidism and the Mitnagdim and evaluates the role of Vilna Gaon in the struggle against Hasidism. The findings contradict the view that the struggle against Hasidism began as an initiative of the oligarchy, and that the Gaon merely served as a figurehead that the establishment was pleased to use. The result reveals that the basic motives underlying the struggle against Hasidism were spiritual and religious, and not political and social.

Keywords:   Hasidism, Mitnagdim, Vilna Gaon, oligarchy, spiritual, religious

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