The Capacity of Joy

“Joy is at the heart of Judaism. “Serve the Lord with joy,” said the psalm (Ps. 100:2), “come before Him with jubilation.” Israel would come to know more than its share of sufferings, defeats, destructions and exiles. Yet what sustained it was not sadness but gladness, a deep religious joy… The one defense against national entropy – the loss of collective energy over time – would be joy itself, a combination of thanksgiving, humility, gratitude and memories of the suffering that had to be endured in the course of arriving at this place and this estate. Judaism is not a religion of austerity, self-denial and stoic endurance. It is not a faith that allowed itself to be overwhelmed by tragedy. Time and again it arose, phoenix-like, from catastrophe, demoralisation and defeat, and each time renewed itself, gathering ever-greater strength in the process. True faith, in Judaism, is marked by the capacity of joy.”

Ceremony & Celebration, p. 103