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also Chasidim, 1812, adherents of a conservative Jewish religious movement founded 1750 by Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer Baal Shem Tobh, from Hebrew hasidhim, literally "pious ones," plural of hasidh "kind, pious." Earlier used in Hebrew of adherents of an anti-Hellenistic faction during the time of the Maccabean Wars.
member of a pre-Christian Jewish sect of uncertain origin, noted for uncompromising observance of Judaic Law. The Hasideans joined the Maccabean revolt against the Hellenistic Seleucids (2nd century BC) to fight for religious freedom and stem the tide of paganism. They had no interest in politics as such, and they later withdrew from the Maccabean cause as soon as they had regained their religious freedom. Indeed, they fell into disfavour with the Hasmonean rulers.