SIMCHA – Joy

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The following is a quote from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. I hope it speaks to somebody just as it spoke to me. May perhaps Adonai bless you!

“Which brings me back to Ecclesiastes, his search for happiness, and mine. I spoke in chapter four about my initially meeting, as a student, with Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. As I was waiting to go in, a single of his disciples told me the following story. A man had lately written to the Rebbe on one thing of these lines: ‘I require the Rebbe’s enable. I am deeply depressed. I pray and discover no comfort. I execute the commands but really feel absolutely nothing. I discover it challenging to carry on.’ The Rebbe, so I was told, sent a compelling reply without the need of writing a single word. He merely ringed the initially word in just about every sentence of the letter: the word ‘I’. It was, he was hinting, the man’s self-preoccupation that was at the root of his depression. It was as if the Rebbe have been saying, as Viktor Frankl made use of to say in the name of Kierkegaard, ‘The door to happiness opens outward.’ It was this insight that helped me resolve the riddle of Ecclesiastes. The word ‘I’ does not seem quite generally in the Hebrew Bible, but it dominates Ecclesiastes’ opening chapters. “I enlarged my operates: I constructed homes for myself, I planted vineyards for myself I created gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all sorts of fruit trees I created ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of expanding trees. I purchased male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds bigger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces.” (Kohelet/ Ecclesiastes two:4–8) Nowhere else in the Bible is the initially-particular person singular made use of so relentlessly and repetitively. In the original Hebrew the impact is doubled mainly because of the chiming of the verbal suffix and the pronoun: Baniti li, asiti li, kaniti li, ‘I constructed for myself, I created for myself, I purchased for myself.’ The supply of Ecclesiastes’ unhappiness is apparent and was spelled out several centuries later by the fantastic sage Hillel: ‘If I am not for myself, who will be? But if I am only for myself, what am I?’ Happiness in the Bible is not one thing we discover in self-gratification. Therefore the significance of the word simchah. I translated it earlier as ‘joy’, but seriously it has no precise translation into English, because all our emotion words refer to states of thoughts we can practical experience alone. Simchah is one thing we can’t practical experience alone. Simchah is joy shared.”

― Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Terrific Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Which means&nbsp

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