When you hear the term “Hasidic Jew”, what do you think of?
Presumably, a group of men with long beards, long black jackets, high socks, black loafers and fury hats.
Today, you are going to actually find out the truth behind Hasidic Jews and their traditions.
You will likely see them in a more positive light and realise that they are not too different from you and me…
We’re all searching for the same thing:
The history of Hasidic Jews goes back over 300 years. An incredible Rabbi known as the Baal Shem Tov pioneered the movement.
Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer (Baal Shem Tov) set the path for what would be many great scholars to build on his work and grow the teachings of Judaism to more and more people.
One of the many Sects that came from Baal Shem Tov is: Chabad
Fast forward to today, there are over 100,000 Hasidic Jewish families.
There is no doubt that the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov has played a huge role in helping spread more Torah and learning amongst Jewish people…
Hasidic can translate into the word “Pious”. Pious translates to “devoutly religious”
Therefore, we can gain a better understanding of Hasidic Jews beliefs by understanding their approach to life:
Develop a deep, personal relationship with G-d
Hasidic Jews are devoted to learning all aspects of Judaism that is provided by The Creator.
Consequently, everything from their clothing all the way to time management is centred around strengthing that connection.
In the next section, you will begin to see that the modern world we live in does not always allow for the ability to solely focus on Torah study.
Finances and putting food on the table can interrupt things…
What Do Hasidic Jews Do For Work?
Generally speaking, the Hasidic Jewish wife will take care of the family. And the Hasidic Jewish husband will work in a standard job to bring money for the family.
Of course, the exception to this would be the Hasidic Jewish Rabbi that serves as the Rabbi for the community. In this case, the community would donate to the Synagogue and these donations would partially support the Rabbi in his work.
As far as specific a job profession goes, there is no exact sector that all Hasidic Jews work in.
It very much depends on the location they live in and the work that is available.
It is not uncommon for a Hasidic Jew to work in a business environment, nor is it uncommon for a Hasidic Jew to work in a supermarket.
Hasidic Jews are just like you and me, they need to work and provide for their families.
However, they also understand the importance of dedicating their time on earth to the Master of the Universe.
“Why do Hasidic wives shave their heads?”
First of all, it is pretty rare for a Hasidic wife to shave their head.
When a Jewish woman gets married, she is supposed to cover her head with a wig (known as a Sheitel) so that she keeps all her beauty only for her husband to embrace.
Nevertheless, shaving their heads has nothing to do with looking better or worse for anyone.
The custom for a Hasidic wife to shave her head is down to her taking upon a Chumra which translates to “extra stringency”.
The Chumra is done to ensure there is no chance that their natural hair shows by mistake (underneath their head covering).
Do Hasidic Girls attend high school?
Yes, Hasidic Jewish girls attend high school.
After high school, Hasidic Jewish men go to Yeshiva to study Torah whereas Hasidic Jewish Women do not go to Yeshiva.
Where do Hasidic Jews live?
Geographically, Hasidic Jews are spread across the world.
Most notably, they live in America, United Kingdom, South Africa and Israel.
Well known communities are:
- Monsey (New York, USA)
- Borough Park (New York, USA)
- Stanford Hill (London, UK)
- Golders Green (London, UK)
- Johannesburg (South Africa)
- Jerusalem (Israel)
- Tzfat (Israel)
That being said, there are many Hasidic Jewish communities that stretch all over the globe.
Famous Hasidic Jews
One of the most famous Hasidic Jews is the Baal Shem Tov as he pioneered the Hasidic Jewish movement.
Other Famous Hasidic Jews would be Jewish Scholars such as:
- Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (Also known as "Arizal"
- Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri
- Moses ben Jacob Cordovero
As Hasidic Jews dive into a wide scope of Jewish Law, their individual scholars that they take inspiration from will vary. However, those mentioned above are very famous Hasidic Jews.
Hasidic Jew Hat (Shtreimel)
The Shtreimel is a hat worn by Hasidic Jews on Shabbat and on Jewish Holidays.
Shtreimel’s are very expensive and can cost anywhere up to $8000!
The Shtreimel was actually a punishment from the christians…
They wanted the Jews to wear a hat that is made from non-Kosher animals.
However, the christians did not understand that while Jews cannot ear non-Kosher animals…
Jews are allowed to WEAR non-Kosher animals.
The Shtreimel is typically made from the Russian sable, however Jews are not allowed to kill the animals for the fur.
What is the purpose of a Shtreimel?
There is no specific purpose to wearing a Shtreimel other than it has been worn for hundreds of years.
The reason for Jewish men to wear a head covering (known as a Kippah) is:
To show respect to G-d and that there is a Master Creator above him at all times.
Jewish Sidelocks/Sidecurls (Payos/Payot)
There is a commandment in the Torah that says:
We are supposed to leave over 1/4 of our fields for poor people.
For example: if you have a field and it is ready to harvest.
You would harvest 3/4 of the field for yourself and then leave over the corners (1/4) of the field so the poor man can cut for himself.
For Jews, the head is like the field in the example shown above.
Therefore, you leave over the 2 corners of where your hair starts and those are called Payos.
According to Jewish Law, you have to be able to grab onto it.
It could be super short but as long as you can grab onto it that’s what matters.
It does not say in The Torah that you have to grow LONG Payot.
It does say you should not shave your Payot off.
But, those who choose to grow it long is a way of beautifying The Mitzvah.
There you have it.
The deep dive into Hasidic Jews.
It’s incredibly inspiring to see communities so devoted to dedicating their lives to the Master Creator of the Universe.
It’s something we all need to do more of…
Till next time!
Since you've made it this far, sharing this article on your favorite social media network would be highly appreciated 💖! For feedback, please ping me on Twitter.