Why Are Hasidim So Happy?

Popular images of Hasidim show them dancing. They have a reputation for happiness.

Why are Hasidim so happy when compared with other types of Jews? Because they are the most insular. They are the least interested in the goyim.

The stronger your in-group identity, the more likely you are to be happy and the less likely you are to be troubled by doubts.

Why is Japan such a harmonious happy country? Because it is 99% Japanese. It has a strong in-group identity.

Why are Los Angelenos so much less happy than residents of Oregon? Because Los Angeles is the most racially diverse big city in America and Oregon is largely white and harmonious.

Diversity breeds disruption, discontent and distress.

If I were to peer deeply into the sacred texts of Hasidim, I would find negative opinions of non-Jews. If I were to peer deeply into the sacred texts of Western civilization, I would find negative statements about Jews and other non-whites and non-Christians. If I were to peer deeply into the key texts of Japan, I would find negative statements about non-Japanese. Big deal. If you have a strong in-group identity, you are likely to have hostility for outsiders.

The Modern Orthodox are not as passionate about their religion, in general, as the Hasidim, because the Modern Orthodox live in two worlds — modernity and Orthodoxy. They have to constantly make judgments about what they can and cannot do. For the Hasid, life is much simpler. Life is within the Hasidic community. Everything else is just for making a living.

In this class on Tanya, the rabbi says: “Jose might be a nice guy, he doesn’t have a Jewish soul.”

According to Tanya, the Jewish soul is willing to give away all physical pleasures to cleave to HaShem.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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