(A Bunch Of) Hasidic Facts You Never Knew
1.There are dozens of Hasidic pop, rock, and world bands.
2. The Baal Shem Tov, an 18th century mystic, was the founder of the Hasidic movement which he started in order to help “the little guy” get more in touch with G-d (as well as for deeply mystical and cosmic reasons).
3. Hasidic thought emphasizes developing a joyful awareness of G-d and bringing that awareness into everything one does.
4. Hasidim out-zen the zen. It is considered an admirable goal that one’s every act, from tying the shoes to giving charity to eating a slice of pizza, is done with spiritual consciousness.
5. Hasidic men wear two head coverings when they pray to remind them of the two highest levels of the soul.
6. Hasidic women cover their hair because of modesty and also for mystical reasons.
7. Both men and women dress modestly.
8. It’s true—Hasidic men don’t hug or hold hands with women other than their wives, mothers, and daughters. It’s equally true that Hasidic women don’t touch men other than their husbands, fathers, and sons.
9. In Hasidic thought, women are recognized as being more naturally spiritual than men.
10. Hasidim stress that one must strive to improve and refine one’s character throughout one’s life.
11. Volunteer Hasidic ambulance crews were among the earliest first responders during 9/11.
12. The word Hasid comes from the word Hesed, which means overflowing, loving-kindness.
13. Each article of Hasidic clothing and each sect’s variations have a significant Kabbalistic meaning.
15. The Hasidic divorce rate is said to be below 1 percent (yes, divorce is permissible).
16. Although many Hasidim do marry who their parents suggest for them, many don’t—it is forbidden by Jewish law for a girl or boy to marry against their wishes.
17. Hasidim view the relationship between man and woman as so holy that it is degrading to talk about it in mundane conversation.
18. In any Hasidic or “ultra” orthodox newspaper or magazine, many columns are devoted to free ads for free loan societies called gemachs, where people can borrow anything from extra chairs to a wedding gown to a “ride” somewhere, all for free.
19. Hasidim say a blessing before and after every meal.
20. All Hasidim (as do all religiously observant Jews) tithe, giving a minimum of ten percent of their income to charity, most give far more.
21. Every Hasid, man, woman and child (from as young an age as possible) volunteer their time. Some have the tradition of tithing their work time so that one-tenth or more is given for free.
22. The majority of Hasidic children and adults have never seen television, a movie or a web page.
23. Hasidim are not Luddites. They embrace technology as needed—for outreach, spiritual purposes, life-saving medical needs, many conveniences, and business.
24. The largest Hasidic communities in the world are in NYC, Israel and Los Angeles.
25. There are around thirty main Hasidic groups, and several dozen smaller ones and offshoots.
26. Each Hasidic group embraces all aspects of Jewish belief, but have different emphases.
27. Breslov emphasizes outreach and developing a personal relationship with G-d through meditation called hisbodedus. Breslov Hasidim are known for their sublime mystical melodies. The powerful teachings of Breslov have attracted luminaries from the secular world such as Elie Wiesel and many musicians, scientists, and celebrities. Although there are Breslovers who do wear Hasidic garb, many Breslovers do not. Simplicity, faith, and joy are key, as well as having a relationship with the Tzaddik Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and learning his teachings.
28. Satmar emphasizes Hesed, especially giving charity, visiting the sick, and helping support orphans.
29. Belz emphasize service of G-d, outreach and are also known for establishing one of the largest patient advocacy organizations, a free medical counseling center, and affordable medical help.
30. Modzitz are known for their profusion of powerful spiritual melodies which their Rebbes compose.
31. Chabad emphasizes outreach, joy, and connecting to the spiritual through the intellect. They are known for their Chabad houses which offer a taste of Judaism to travelers and residents of many countries. There is an old saying: Wherever there’s Coca Cola, there’s a Chabad House.
32. Bobov emphasizes avoiding conflict, what in secular terms might be called “gentleman-like” attributes, in addition to prayer, music, joy, and charity.
33. Ger emphasizes service of G-d and self-discipline.
34. During WWII Hasidic Rebbes were particularly targeted and feared by the SS forces because of their powerful spirituality and their incredible ability to inspire their followers.
35. Each Shabbat and Yom Tov (Holiday) dish served has a special, mystical meaning which some Hasidic groups hold dear.
Breslov Hasidic links
BreslovWoman.org (Breslov classes, articles, news and information by HealthyJewishCooking.com’s Chaya Rivka Z.)
BreslovCampus.org (free, live, online classes with Breslov teachers from around the world, including HealthyJewishCooking.com’s Chaya Rivka Z.)
Breslov Research Institute (Articles, inspiration, bookstore, and much more)
Breslov Center (Breslov history, insights, mystical thought, intellectual essays)
If you have questions or comments, please contact me, Chaya Rivka using the contact form: