It was just another typical morning, crawling through sluggish morning traffic on my way to work. I turned on the radio hoping to find something that might improve my mood and wake me out of my dawn stupor, to give me a kick-start to the day.
As traffic came to a standstill, I heard loud music coming from outside. Turning, I saw a broken down colorful old jalopy with a huge set of speakers on the roof. The car door opened, and out jumped an Orthodox Jew who began to dance and jump and sing at the top of his lungs about God and the Messiah, all to the robust beat of eastern-style music coming from his car.
— Israel Heute (@israel_heute) February 4, 2020
Hopping and dancing and singing, he looked undeniably happy with his lot in life, and was determined to spread the joy and faith in his heart to the drowsy and frustrated drivers around him. I can’t speak for the others, but I found myself suddenly awoken with a big smile on my face. I grabbed my phone and filmed the scene just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming (and that you’d believe me!).
Breslev, a branch of Hasidic Judaism, is well known in Israel for going onto the streets and expressing their joy in God (not unlike many Charismatic Christians). They usually travel in large vans with huge speakers on the roof blasting Hasidic music. When they come to a red light, a group of Hasidic Jews jump out with their payot (sidelocks) flying, singing and dancing to bring joy and a bit more happiness to others.
And it works. Our moods are lifted as the red light changes to green, and like mice the joyful dancers disappear into their vehicle and drive on to the next traffic light.
Indeed, what a great mitzvah (commandment) it is to be happy, and even greater to help others (like me) experience happiness even while dealing with frustrating morning traffic. As it is written, “Rejoice, for this is a great mitzvah.” Praise God.