While the Yeshivos and Chassidism were carrying Torah education forward, dramatic changes were happening in the larger Jewish world. The Enlightenment swept through Europe, accompanied by reduced religious fervor. Kingdoms formerly hostile to Jewish residents re-examined their relationships with Jewry from a more humane perspective.
These two changes in the larger population—rejection of orthodox religious views and new openness—influenced many Jews, causing them to dismiss or minimize the value of the distinct Torah practices that had held the Jewish nation together through over 1,600 years of exile. Today, the majority of Jews worldwide do not observe Jewish law as codified in earlier eras.