Jewish law from the Shulhan Arukh to the Enlightenment

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Because of the invasions brought about by the Swedish, and the Cossack revolts that occurred during the period between 1648 and 1658, the Golden Age of the Polish Jewry in 1600 was brought to a halt. These wars caused several Jewish communities to be dissolved, and also resulted in the westward migration of many Jewish constituents. While Hasidism became a movement that was furthered by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov's successors during the mid-eighteenth century, ‘court Jews’ came about in absolutist States of Germany. Such Jews were able to adjust quickly into society because they had significant influence over politics and wealth that traditional Jewish communities and rabbinic authorities could not restrain or reach. This chapter illustrates how Islamic law enabled Jews with judicial autonomy and the right to practise their religion, and that Jews were still able to observe ritual law despite occasional violations of commercial law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAn Introduction to the History and Sources of Jewish Law
EditorsNeil S. Hecht, B. S. Jackson, Daniela Piattelli
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780191682360
ISBN (Print)9780198262626
StatePublished - Mar 1996


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