Chasidim vs. Misnagdim: A Compilation of Mocking Humor

23 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2019

See all articles by Hershey H. Friedman

Hershey H. Friedman

City University of New York - Department of Business Management

Linda Weiser Friedman

Baruch College, CUNY - Zicklin School of Business; CUNY - The Graduate Center

Date Written: February 20, 2019

Abstract

A schism that dates back to the 18th century divides what is commonly known as ultra-Orthodox Judaism – the Chasidim and the Misnagdim. Chasidic Jews (the term means “the pious one”) base their practices on the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, a mystic who lived in Eastern Europe in the early 1700s, serve God with joy. They believe that even the simplest Jew can achieve spiritual growth by helping others and loving God. The Misnagdim (“the opponents”) ascribed to a more austere philosophy, feeling that one should refrain from levity and excessive joy; they considered the surest way to become close to God was through intense study of the Talmud. They tended to be more ascetic than the Chasidim. This paper will show how the two groups used humor to mock each other, based on mutual stereotypes. The differences between the two groups have narrowed considerably, but they still tell jokes about each other.

Keywords: Baal Shem Tov, Chassidim, Misnagdim, Jewish Humor

JEL Classification: J50, M12, M14, M54

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Hershey H. and Friedman, Linda Weiser, Chasidim vs. Misnagdim: A Compilation of Mocking Humor (February 20, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3338989 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3338989

Hershey H. Friedman (Contact Author)

City University of New York - Department of Business Management ( email )

Linda Weiser Friedman

Baruch College, CUNY - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cisnet.baruch.cuny.edu/friedman/

CUNY - The Graduate Center

365 Fifth Avenue
New York,, NY 10016
United States

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