The Hassidic Tzaddik as Archetypal Holy Person

Rabbi Dr. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
the Elijah Interfaith Institute

Rabbinic theology is described here as cosmically oriented, and rabbinic thought as associative, nonsystematic, and hermeneutical. Hassidic literature returned to these early forms, especially midrash, and developed an image of the Tzaddik as a figure of cosmic significance, divine association, and later as a master of Torah. Incarnational theology viewed the Tzaddik as the aleph of adam, a man-God, and as the presence of Moses in each generation. This theology is associated with historic instances of Jewish messianism.