The Happiest Person in America

....and he's an observant Jew.

Comments (42)

(37) Anonymous, March 22, 2015 2:31 AM

Why are observant Jews so happy?

I think that observant Jews are happier than other people because jews have Hashem as a pillar to grasp onto in there times of need happiness etc and when a person has something to live for he atomatically is a happier person.

(36) Anonymous, March 27, 2011 3:33 AM

having an ethical, doable roadmap to life with a Higher Power to help you on your way

To see the results in the lives of people who have rules/guidance of a historically proven support system in good & other times. Includes social , behavioural, & belief guide .The complete map to a beneficial & growth involved existence , Being Jewish can be as inspiring, comforting & satis fying as you can cope with.

(35) King David, March 24, 2011 9:19 PM

Believing in Hashem

I personally feel that for Am Yisrael to be happy they have to believe in Hashem and connect with Him. One of the main points is to trust in Hashem and never doubt Him. Hashem is always there for his people and always looking after them. The essence is believing He is there and trusting in Him. When one is constantly happy they become wiser and see the emet-truth of the world. From this they will believe and see that Hashem is the creator and master of the universe and will constantly see Hashem hidden in this world. By believing and trusting in Hashem a person should have nothing to fear and can be positive and happy. Am Yisael Chai

(34) Sandy Goodman, March 22, 2011 4:39 AM

Realizing that G-d is always looking out after us

Dear Rabbi Solomon Your blog not not only made me smile, it made me laugh! The answer is simple. We as Torah true Jews KNOW that G-d Who is the Supreme Eternal Omnipotent and KInd Being is always looking out after us. Everything that we have is given to us by Hashem and He gives us EVERYTHING THAT WE NEED; not what we think we need. The Torah teaches us how to live a meanigful life by sharing and is rich with knowledge and insights. It give us a purpose in living. My good wife, Chana, and I enjoy learning and living Torah and we especially enjoy Shabbos where we get away from the aggrevations of some of the everyday living and just enjoy the finer things such a spirituality and each other. Sandy Goodman

(33) Rachel Pollack, March 17, 2011 10:11 PM

Hashem is obviously with us!!!!!

all the rest is commentary.

(32) Vittoria, March 17, 2011 9:54 PM

I am not in control

Let me share my story. I am a doctor and a scientist. Before becoming an observant Jew, my life was full of scientific achievements; I was always looking for the next line to add to my resume. After the next achievement was obtained I never felt full but empty, in the need to start the run again. I was a very successful woman but I was very unhappy. I my late thirties I needed to stop and to look for something more. Something deeper that could have filled my soul. Now I am still a doctor; I have been through several problems that forced me to leave my Country, starting over again. I have been blessed with a wonderful child and with Judaism. Things have not been and are not always easy for me as well as for our fellow Jews but the meaning of the daily activities has changed. The birth of my sone has been a huge miracle and every single action in the daily life is not routine, is an act of love for myself, my family, my patients. And an act of the Almighty that gave me the opportunity to do so. I am not running away anymore. I am able to stop, to feel the relevance of my actions, to acknowledge the presence of Ashem in this world. This gives me a tremendous sense of serenity and calm and peace also when I have to face not so happy times. Knowing that everything comes from Him, that He is behind every single event; that only He is the ruler of the world gives me immediate security; believing that the events I face are there for helping me to fulfill my potential gives me happiness.

(31) Yocheved, March 17, 2011 5:49 PM

Simple!

The Torah is a perfect recipe for happiness. Only Hashem could have created such a thing. The more you study Torah, the more you see its careful plan for happiness. Have a Happy Purim!

(30) Anonymous, March 17, 2011 1:15 PM

Our Connection to G-d

Observant Jews have many opportunities throughout the day to connect to the one and only all powerful, all knowing and loving G-d and that is the greatest level of happiness. We do this through prayer, making blessings and following the 613 commandments.

(29) GILA, March 17, 2011 6:42 AM

HAPPINESS IS HAVING HASHEM

a DEEPLY BELIEVING AND OBSERVANTS JEW KNOWS THAT THE WORD FOR HAPPINESS, SIMCHA WITH AA SHIN HAS A REFERENCE TO THE HEBREW, SAMECH MEM CHES, MEANING KINSHIP/CLOSENESS/RELIANCE UPON...G-D. OUR DEFINITION OF HAPPINESS MAY BE FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT THAN OTHER NATIONS...AND THEREFORE WE ARE AN OR L'GOYIM...LIGHT UNTO THE NATIONS...AGAIN...BH

(28) Tzvi Mordechai Cohen, March 17, 2011 4:34 AM

Pirkei Avot

Living accorfind to Pirkei Avot.

(27) Dr. Moyshe Kalman, March 17, 2011 12:58 AM

His happiness is based on the experience of children

As an Orthodox, observant Psychoanalyst i suggest that part of the Jewish element which figures into this formula is simple. Just as a child is unhappy and insecure if he does not have clear peramiters, clear borders and a clear defination of what he can and cannot do, so an adult is happier if he, too, has a clear guide to right living and right action. Only Yiddishkeit provides this in a wholesome form! By the way, thank you for your insightful articles.

(26) Maxine K Winston, March 16, 2011 9:47 PM

The Happiest Person in America

Dear Rabbi Saloman, I think being observant, studyng torah and our other wonderful books, performing mitzvot places our lives in order and gives us the time and enjoyment to be happy. I think Jews can be happy, as long as they go to Shul. Thank you for your question. Sincerely, Maxine

(25) Meira, March 16, 2011 8:56 PM

Productivity

Judaism is a lot of things, however an underlying theme throughout the mitzvos and hashkafos of Judaism is productivity. In fact, the entire idea of mitzvos has to do with action, making a goal for yourself and sticking to it, and achieving that goal. It is a productive person that is happy, an accomplished person that is happy. One person's goal may seem insignificant or trivial to another person, however, what matters is if the individual themselves feels productive. It is the value of not wasting time or words, and ahavas chinam, and being a Jew inside and out all the time that produces happy people. In addition, it is the sense of achdus and the time shabbos gives for reflection that adds to that happiness. In conclusion, it is not one thing in Orthodox Judaism that makes us happy, it is the whole package.

(24) Leora, March 16, 2011 8:47 PM

I think being an observant jew gives a framework for which one views his assets in life, and that is a tools for something greater. According to my opinion, anyone, whether Asian, a successful business-owner, married, or not, is capable of true happiness as long as he/she views it in the correct light. What is it all for / why has it been given to me? Am I using it all for the correct purposes? I think that as long as this outline is intact, happiness is accessible to anyone.

(23) Ionah Estevez - Breton, March 16, 2011 6:17 PM

Being observant brings you closer to G-d and brings up your self-esteem

Hi. I am a male Family Physicyan and I am 43 ; I am married and have one son (and I am NOT asian-american and I DON-T earn over u$ 120.000 a year !!). I became observant 10 years ago and I am sure that such process has given me many tools to feel closer to the G-d of Israel, but it has also made me a stronger & richer human being. I know that I am -comparatively- quite a happy person. I also feel that I have the wisdom / gift to make other human beings happy. Shalom everybody- from Colombia, South America.

(22) sarah, March 16, 2011 5:58 PM

Comfort level

An observant Jew has a relationship with Hashem that brings comfort and freedom from fear. In the world view of an observant view, we all are important and all have a mission to accomplish. so we all have a reason to get up in the morning. When we face family, health, occupation, school problems, observant jews realize the problems are temporary and that everything will work out in the end because this world is not the end. There are rules to follow so we do not need to founder too much. When we break the rules -- we are human, after all -- there is always the opportunity for teshuva and redemtion, especially after meaningful Yom Kippur prayer. Knowing that Hashem is with you and that you need not fear takes a huge weight from the shoulders of the observant Jew and allows him or her to fly. How can they not be happy?

(21) Jane, March 16, 2011 5:52 PM

This man has everything going for him

I will do some research. I want to know more about this gentlemen. Most of the qualifications for happiness make sense to me. Women's lives are harder than men's. It is just the way of the biology. But, this gentlemen is his own boss, and autonomy is very important for happiness. He has enough money to take care of his needs without worry. The Asian culture values community and respectful and dignified behavior. A close relationship with God, especially if we can have that within a family. What's not to be happy about?

(20) Paul, March 16, 2011 5:44 PM

Certainly something to think about

Certainly something to think about. Happy Purim Rabbi Salomon and everyone.

(19) rf, March 16, 2011 3:06 PM

Judaism is not only a "religion" but a blueprint for living

Judaism is way beyond other religions and it's sad to read that others don't perceive that we're not talking just about the benefits of belief in and relationship with a Higher Being which are so vital. In fact, one of our fundamental beliefs is that Torah is G-d-given, and it is the blueprint for creation and how to live and fulfill G-d's purpose for us. Without Torah guidelines, we can not maximally fulfill G-d's will! Judaism in its fullest sense includes holidays and mitzvas which provide framework and lessons and inspiration; and perspective on world events and life cycle, etc. Imbedded in this is also G-d-given value system and priorities -- and the inculcation of responsibility for choosing, "bechira", with G-d's "hashgocha protis" & infinite love for us and reward & punishment for each & every one of the intentions behind those choices. So much more to say, so much more to do. With G-d's help. May we all merit this Purim to uncover not only G-d's will behind all the tumultous events, but also our own hidden potential to better contribute to the world--and with the greatest possible simcha! Best wishes, RF from the holy city of Jerusalem

(18) Jewish Mom, March 16, 2011 8:28 AM

It's self-control. See the Marshmallow Test!

The marshmallow test video has the answer. Orthodox Jews are well-trained in self-control and delaying gratification (for FFBs, from infancy on) which is what brings happiness and success in life. You'll have young children denying themselves tempting treats offered to them, not just for 15 minutes, but forever, because the candy isn't kosher - they first ask their parent if it is or isn't and accept the answer. Or they'll deny themselves a dairy treat because the requisite time hasn't gone by since they last ate meat. Or they'll face the dark rather than switch a light on in their bedroom on Shabbos if it wasn't set on a timer before Shabbos to switch on and off at appropriate times. The laws for Jewish married couples preserve the excitement and promote the freshness of their relationship, but are impossible without well-developed self-control. The examples are endless, but the rewards are great in this world and the next! An additional answer which others have touched upon, is emuna and bitachon: total reliance (lit. faith and security) that whatever G-d does is good and just and that everything comes from Him. Our understanding is limited, but we feel calm and secure knowing that there is meaning to life and everythink that occurs in it, G-d loves each of us deeply and is concerned about every detail of our lives.

(17) L.S., March 16, 2011 4:32 AM

Interesting!

I read an article about this man and find it interesting. Being Torah observant has brought a lot of happiness, in my life, and connecting to Hashem through prayer and being part of a vibrant and warm Orthodox community has been an incredible experience. That said, I think happiness is, to a large extent, a choice that we can make in so far as choosing to look at our situation favorably. I do not live in Hawaii, am not Asian, and do not make $120,000 a year but am still generally happy in part because I am grateful. Even so, the Orthodox world is not a perfect place, and not everyone in that world is happy by default of being Orthodox, and there are many gentiles and non-religious Jews who are also happy, and there is everything in between. May we all be blessed with happiness! Hatzlacha!

(16) eva, March 16, 2011 4:26 AM

The Torah was designed for a happy life.

Years ago I read an article in Good Housekeeping magazine, in which they interviewed a number of celebrities, and asked them," What would be the best xmas present you could ever get?" I was amazed that the MAJORITY answered: a day without the telephone! That was an eyeopener for me. We observant Jews have that every week, and don't even think about it. Non-Jews can only dream of such a luxury. What a gift we have in our Torah. Since then, I appreciate it so much more. Of course we are the happiest people in the world, when we follow the Torah's guidelines, which were given solely for our benefit and well-being.

(15) J. R., March 16, 2011 2:52 AM

Religious ritual as a framework to build a life upon.

Being an observant Jew means having a framework to build a life upon. All those rituals can be as reassuring and comforting as they can be confining on the other hand. It's all how you look at the picture. To those of you bristling and defending your religion: no need! No denigration of any other religion was intended or expressed in the video. Even though the N.Y.T. came up with "observant Jew" for happiest person, I think that anyone who is truly observant in their religion and finds peace within it can qualify for "happiest person in America", no matter what or who they worship. Peace out!

(14) Ian Davis Hucul, March 15, 2011 8:01 PM

Its in our mission statement

Observant Jew is a very broad term. From the prospective of the world as a whole it could certainly be argued that Observant Jews represent a homogeneous group. However, my personal experiences living in the tri-state area over the course of the last 10 years has certainly rebuffed this assertion. Think about it; Chassiddim, Misnagdim, Yeshivish, Modern Orthodox, Sephardic. This short list hardly accounts for the variations within these sub-groups or the plethora of personalities of the individuals polled. What is the common denominator? Its simultaneously simple and complex. It is our mission statement and the common belief which is the foundation for the entire construct of Jewish thought. In the morning and at night we say Hear O' Israel the Hashem is G-d, Hashem is One. The simple explanation is that we Jews acknowledge the existence of one creator who fashioned the entire universe for an ultimate purpose. The complex is that we know that Hashem is an active participant in the minutia of our life. Hashem is further directing every seemingly insignificant event of our life. For the good or for the bad, Hashem is there and Hashem is rooting for us to improver ourselves. This concept is so fundamental that it alone accounts for the first 4 of the Rambam's 13 principles of faith. All observant Jews carry this thought with us either consciously or sub-consciously. We have the creator of the world by our side and he is interacting with us on a daily basis in our mundane lives. We can speak to g-d (through Tefillah) and he can speak to us (through life and Torah). We are forging a personal relationship with the ultimate creator of the Universe who loves us as we love our own children. What could possibly make a person happier?

Anonymous, April 22, 2011 6:25 PM

Really

Thanks Ian, I dont think anything could make me happier.

(13) Anonymous, March 15, 2011 12:20 AM

Other Happy People in Colombus Ohio

COlombus people are generally happy! The Chabad Colombus crew are also generally a happy crew!

(12) Marc G., March 14, 2011 7:51 PM

Ridiculous

I am afraid I can’t really articulate exactly what I don’t like about this, but I’ll try. Enough about Judaism being the be all and end all. There are plenty of people in the world who are from a variety of cultures and religions who live out a very happy existence. There are far too many variables including intrinsic and extrinsic to be able to ever make this poll truly viable. Jewish people are a very complex and intricate group of people. I often feel that if I don’t belong to the “right” brand of Jewish I’m not considered a viable Jew let alone a viable human being. I have always felt like an outsider among my own people and it’s these kinds of irrelevant observations via a blog, via a well educated individual that keeps me at bay!

Matt, March 15, 2011 7:40 PM

a little off...

Marc, the blog isn't him editorializing, it's him asking what could have contributed to the NY Times coming to that conclusion. Other people are happy- and plenty of observant Jews are miserable- but this blog simply asks the question of "what is it about the observant Jewish lifestyle that correlates to happiness?" As for you not feeling you belong- that's just sad; I hope you find a more open minded Jewish community that can overlook labels. I've found a few that are extraordinarily welcoming and open to all Jews & not judgmental of Jews or non-Jews. wishing you well, Matt

Anonymous, March 15, 2011 8:32 PM

Your are right and wrong

A poll can never account for the individuals possessing variant characteristics. Polls are meant to be general, and I am sure that there are plenty of observant Jews that responded to survey as being unhappy. But I think polls may effectively and accurately identify general trends in a population. I dont believe this article at all implies that non-observant Jews are not happy. As far as the back end of your comment. Your beliefs about how others may or may not classify you might be a misconception. Similar to my comments about polls, As an "observant Jew" I can assure you that the official possition of Judaism views every human being as deserving of the utmost respect. Speak with any leader of a Jewish Community, or Torah Institution and they will reiterate this point. You find me a sincere Jew, and I guarantee you that they would certainly consider you to be far more then a "Viable Jew". I cant account for ALL religous Jews., afterall people are inherently imperfect and tend to struggle with their dealings with their fellow man. However, Hashem loves you unconditionally. And the Jewish People as a whole love you unconditionally. To prove it, I think we should take a poll. Recognizing that love helps you develop your relationship with Hashem and the Jewish community.

(11) Jason, March 14, 2011 6:44 PM

Done paying tuition

This is easy. He's 65 kids are out of the house so he is done paying tuition. Wu Hoo! Happiest person :) e. Just kidding. I hope Aish or Chabad or someone interviews this guy.

liz, August 3, 2011 8:28 AM

lol!!

(10) ed gold, March 14, 2011 2:29 PM

true belief....

someone with true belief in hashem has a more tranquil and serene view of what can be a very tumultous world that we live in....all situations we get ourselves into or of natural occourence will be resolved by the almighty in his time....if we truly believe that within our hearts.....it takes away a whole lot of worrying about things we have no control over.........which can lead one to contemplate the true joy and blessings that hashem has bestowed upon all of us !!

(9) rebecca, March 13, 2011 10:19 PM

All I know is that my favorite and happiest time of the week is Friday afternoon when I come home from work. When I light those Shabbos candles at the end of the day, any stress that I experienced that week seems to magically melt away, leaving me with a a sense of peace and tranquility that I am so grateful for. Shabbos is truly a gift for the mind, body and spirit!

(8) Their Chassidim, March 13, 2011 7:03 PM

Frum Couples in Columbus, Ohio

There are several young, frum couples in Columbus, Ohio and their faces radiate with the Schachinah. Their names are Devorah and Meir Aronowitz , and Binyamin and Ahuva Weinschneider. Their happiness from being frum yidden is evident from speaking with them and having the honor of being in their presence. If it was possible to harvest their DNA and transfer it to unhappy people transforming them into happy people, then they would be multi-millionaires.

(7) haim, March 13, 2011 5:36 PM

There is no other way

Because there is no way a person can keep Torah without being happy!

, March 13, 2011 11:58 PM

sure is if you just keep it for sociological reasons and not spiritual

(6) TMay, March 13, 2011 5:35 PM

my take

So when they met him, was he happy? I don't know why they said Asians are happier than other people. As for orthodox Judaism, I can see that a person is given meaning to life, the answer that if life does not make sense then one has faith that there is a plan, and that God is in control, and that God is good, and that one has a purpose to repair the world, and one is made in God's image, and that there will ultimately be justice even if there is injustice in this world, and a person lives within limits.

(5) Daniel, March 13, 2011 4:27 PM

Interesting

Interesting. But The New York Times? Come on.

(4) abrams, March 13, 2011 4:21 PM

as an observant Jew, you get a day off every week, plus all the holidays. that you don't listen to TV or radio, and you get a rest from all horrible news, that's going on every day. I'll let other people cover all the other reasons

(3) Howie, March 13, 2011 4:12 PM

Peace of mind

I believe it is the peace of mind one gets with complete trust and faith in Hashem!

(2) peter kraynik, March 13, 2011 3:19 PM

Mashiach is coming !

What could bring more joy than being close to G-d ? Health, family,community, success, make the journey sweeter ! Someday we'll all have this.

(1) Yaakov Novograd, March 13, 2011 1:31 PM

The answer is easy, thanks to aish.com! Just search for "happiness" on aish and you'll find The Secret of Happiness (and realize it's only an observant Jew who has the definition of happiness because Torah study (and observance) is the exclusive source for an exquisitely-balanced life -- [see also: Way #2 of the "48 Ways" by Rabbi Noah z"l]).

 

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