Polish Hasidism and Hungarian Orthodoxy in a Borderland: The Munkács Rabbinate
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 31 (2019): 199-223 [pre-publication version]
40 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2019
Date Written: 2016
This study focuses on the rabbinate of Munkács, situated in Subcarpathian Rus’. By tracing the epistolary networks of Munkács rabbis, and garnering what we know about the rabbis’ origins and activity, it is possible to sketch the influences that gave this town’s rabbinate its character. This study spans the period from the earliest recorded rabbi of Munkács through to the end of the nineteenth-century when the town’s rabbinate took on a dynastic character. For most of Munkács history – Polish and Hungarian stimuli seemed to take turns in leaving their mark on the town, making this borderland region into a catchment basin for competing ideologies. Hasidism arrived from Poland and Orthodoxy arrived from Hungary. While a cultural and intellectual crossroads implies transfer of ideas, Munkács was not an apparent waystation: Polish Hasidism did not spread from Munkács throughout Hungary; Hungarian Orthodoxy did not travel from Munkács to Poland. Rather, Munkács was a terminus.
Keywords: Legal history, legal literature, rabbis, Munkács/Mukačevo/Munkatch, Jewish law, Hasidism, epistolary network, borderland, Subcarpathian Rus’, Carpathians
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