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In Judaism joy is the supreme religious emotion. Here we are, in a world filled with beauty. Every breath we breathe is the spirit of G-d within us. Around us is the love that moves the sun and all the stars. We are here because someone wanted us to be. The soul that celebrates, sings. –Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
The word for joy in Hebrew is simcha. And that word has many other positive meanings, too. Jews are even commanded to rejoice on one particular holiday, Sukkot, where we celebrate with others. A person could ask, what if you don’t feel joy on that particular day? What if life isn’t going well and you can’t imagine a way out of your misery? Still, G-d calls to us to find joy, even in the difficult times; for one, it is a way for us to reach out to, and stay connected to the world.
If we go beyond Sukkot, however, there are many ways of pursuing and finding joy in our lives. Sometimes our souls call out for relief from the difficulties around us. Although joy may not seem possible in one moment, we can take steps to lead us toward joyful experiences: we can go for a walk, or call up a dear friend; we can read a funny book or watch a funny movie; we can water our flowers or bake cookies. There are many opportunities to bring joy into our lives, and into the lives of others, even if we don’t necessarily feel like it. Just making the effort to find joy puts us in a better state of mind. Once we take that first step, fulfilling our aim to experience joy turns our world around.
We may suddenly realize how transient a bad mood can be. We may feel lighter as the heavy load of sadness falls off our shoulders. We can then open up the space around us, feeling less insular and more generous.
But we must take the necessary steps to bring joy into our lives. We must create the conditions that will reap joy and spread it in our world.
There is no doubt in my mind that G-d wants us to be happy; I believe that must bring Him great joy!
[photo courtesy of unsplash.com]Published in