Dancing for Joy
I just got back from an amazing trip to Israel and I wanted to share with you one of the first shots that I took on the day I arrived. I was driving with my cousins to Caesarea for the evening when we came upon this group of young Hasidic men on the side of the highway. The music was blaring from the speaker that was sitting on the top of the van, the sun was low in the sky and these young men were dancing and singing as if a wedding was going on that someone forgot the tell the rest of us.
The Breslov is a branch of Hasidic Judaism. Hasidic Judaism is a branch of Orthodox Judaism and the word Hasidic means “piety” or “loving-kindness.”
The Breslov approach places great emphasis on serving God through the sincerity of the heart, with much joy and living life as intensely as possible. Breslov teachings particularly emphasize emunah (faith) as a means to teshuvah (repentance), and that every Jew on any level of Divine service is required to constantly yearn to return to God, no matter how high or low he or she is situated on the spiritual echelon.
Breslover Hasidim see the study and fulfillment of Torah life as the means to a joyful existence, and their approach to worship is very personalized and emotional, with much clapping, singing, and dancing. Rabbi Nachman said, “It is a great mitzvah (commandment or good deed) to always be happy”. In this same lesson, he notes that even leading intellectuals in the medical field will attest to depression and bitterness being the main cause of most mental and physical ailments.
The Breslov normally conduct on street outreach in this manner but I think the highway pullover was just about spreading some joy.