What’s the difference between Haredi and Hassidic jews?

What’s the difference between Haredi and Hassidic jews?

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Answer by Mark S, JPAA
Hasidism comprises part of contemporary Haredi Judaism, alongside the Talmudic Lithuanian-Yeshiva approach and the Sephardi and Mizrahi traditions.

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3 Responses to “What’s the difference between Haredi and Hassidic jews?”

  • kaganate says:

    Haredi is a generic term — it realy just means “all Jews who dress funny”

    Hassidim are Jews who follow one of the branches of the Hassidic movement — a mystical populist Judaism which was started by the Baal Shem Tov (Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer) in 18th century Ukraine.

  • SheyneinNH says:

    “Haredi” means “trembling”, those who tremble before G-d. It’s our way of saying “ultra-Orthodox”, very observant. Hassidim are one subset. Not all Haredim are Hassidim, but all Hassidim are Haredim.

    Hassidim are distinguished by being followers of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and other Hassidic rebbes. They follow a particular kind of Jewish mysticism. Other Haredim don’t .
    That’s as simple as I can make it.

  • Ben says:

    In English, Haredi Jews are usually called Ultra-Orthodox. They are Orthodox Jews who adhere to tradition very strictly, make religion a central aspect of their lives, and often avoid wider secular society. This is to contrast with Modern Orthodox, who follow the letter of Jewish law just as strictly (which is the defining factor of Orthodoxy) but are more open to taking modern approaches to anything not strictly in the Law. For example, while all Orthodox Jews wear a kippa or other head covering because covering your head is mandated by Jewish law, Haredi Jews will dress the same way their parents did to avoid being influenced by secular society, while Modern Orthodox Jews are fine with imitating secular style trends that are compatible with their philosophy.

    In Judaism, different “styles” of Judaism developed, that have nothing to do with level of observance. This comes from being separated in different countries throughout the world over the centuries. Most of the differences are cosmetic or trivial. No one group claims to have a superior form of Judaism, and all agree it is appropriate to observe the customs of your parents.

    Hasidism is one such group, primarily coming from Poland and Western Russia, but also Hungary and other Eastern European countries. What is unique about Hasidism is due to its structure, virtually all Hassidic communities are Ultra-Orthodox. Almost all other “styles” of Judaism exist in both Modern Orthodox and Haredi forms, and many exist in Conservative or Reform Judaism forms also. However, there are almost no non-Haredi Hasidic Jews. Therefore, Hasidism is often called a subset of the Haredi community, although properly, it should be overlapping categories.

    To summarize:
    Haredi refers to a very high level of religious observance. Hasidism is one of many styles of Judaism based on county of origin. Unlike other styles of Judaism, virtually all Hasidic Jews are Haredi. Not all Haredi Jews are Hasidic- there are Haredi Jews from all styles of Judaism.

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