An ecstatic crowd of religious Jews danced to the sound of hassidic music Monday night, bringing joy to Jerusalem.
Thousands flooded Jerusalem's International Convention Center Monday in honor of the hassidic "New Year," the day on the Hebrew calendar on which the leading hassidic figure and founder of the Chabad sect, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (known to Chabad followers as "the Alter Rebbe") was released from jail. On that day, adherents say, the esteemed Rabbi received a divine message to spread the teachings of hassidic Judaism to Jewish communities around the world.
Thousands of religious Jews - Hassidic and non-hassidic, hareidi-religious and religious-Zionist alike - attended the event. The event included performances by Shlomo Katz, Yonatan Razel, Yosef Carduner, and other well-respected religious artists; it also featured special sales on Torah literature.
"Everything is going very quickly," said Dan Marans, sales manager for Torah publisher Gal Einai. Over 7,000 copies of his company's new disc, Simhat Olam (lit. World Happiness), had been sold within a few short hours.
"I think that the secret of the hasidut," Marans explained, "is that it brings the Torah down to everyone's level. It's not something you need to be academic [about], it's not something you need to be a genius [for] - it's something that you can internalize and live your life with every day."
For the full interview, see the Arutz Sheva video above.