Chassidic Influencers: Mashpi’im & Recurring Themes of Chassidic History

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The Chabad & Breslov chassidic dynasties have always had Mashpi’im – influencers or teachers – who taught chassidic thought and inspired their communities. In recent years there’s been a growing popularity of Mashpi’im around the entire chassidic world and even beyond. Where does the idea of a chassidic mashpia originate from? Does it have historical precedent in the chassidic movement? Is history repeating itself? How did the chassidic movement maintain its vitality so successfully over the centuries? This episode will attempt to provide a macro view with some recurring themes over the course of nearly three centuries of the history of the chassidic movement. In a seemingly cyclical fashion, the chassidic movement’s demographic growth and communal successes have led to institutionalization and a danger of losing the initial spiritual vitality so essential to its essence. At several junctures in its storied history, the chassidic movement has successfully rejuvenated itself in creative ways, never losing its spark or its mission despite external challenges and internal struggles.
 
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