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Still, interspersed between its superstitions and amulets, demons and dybbuks, Hasidism provided broad cosmic perspectives for the wretched ghetto dweller, and endowed him with a sanctity that reached deeply beyond his ragged parochialism and penetrated his soul.

The dour and guilty vision that characterized much of early nineteenth-century Hasidism was a far cry from the free and life-asserting proclamations of the Baal Shem Tov and the blissful singing of Levi of Berdichev.

His tenure in Medvedevka interrupted by a mysterious pilgrimage to the Holy Land and a feud with a prominent opponent of Hasidism, Rebbe Nachman next made his home in Breslov, his final stopping place.

In his shorter tales an affinity may be felt with the parables of Hasidism, that pietist movement within Judaism which emphasized, over against the law of orthodoxy, mystic joy and divine immanence.