17th century Polish and Ukrainian Jewry faced genocidal massacres, communal collapse, poverty, and social rifts, followed by the unbearable disappointment of a false Messiah, and the rise of corrupt rabbinical leadership. Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov then stepped into this void with the teachings of Chassidism.

This video was produced for Lesson 5 of Great Debates in Jewish History, a course by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute.