Movement within Judaism founded by the “Baal Shem Tov” in 1736. It emphasized prayer, joy and “kabbalah,” Jewish Mysticism. After the debacle of Shabtai Tzvi, the false Messiah who converted to Islam, the Jewish community needed a boost in spirit. This was provided by Chassidut. The movement was vigorously opposed by the “Mitnagdim,” the Opponents (of Chassidut), under the leadership of the Vilna Gaon.