When in XVIIIth Century Eastern European Jewry saw a rise of a strong Hasidist movement, as well as a rise of non-religious education movement of Moses Mendelson, Kagals energetically suppressed both. In 1781 the Rabbinate of the city of Vilen announced hasids to be herem (punishment in form of religious banishment) and in 1784 in Mogilev, hasids were outlawed (by rabbis, not by state authorities - Theo) and their property was to be considered vacant .
Following these decisions, the mob of certain cities initiated a pogrom of hasid houses, i.e. an inter-jewish pogrom. [...] Nevertheless, Hasidism continued to spread, in some regions it was especially successful. R abbinate organized public burning of hasidic books , while hasids positioned themselves as defenders of the people, against the abuses of Kagals. At that period, religious struggle seems to overshadow every other issue of Jewish life.