joy

Napoleon’s Jewish Insight

Once upon a time, the great Napoleon paid a state visit to Russia.  Proud of the enlightened way his country, France, treated its Jewish population, he asked to see some Russian Jews.  His hosts brought him to a St. Petersburg synagogue. Entering the synagogue lit by only a few flickering candles, they found it filled...

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Merry or Macabre?

We are in the midst of Sukot, known in English as the Feast of Tabernacles. Weather permitting (easier in Israel than in many other locations), observant Jews spend as much time as possible in their Sukot, or outdoor booths, based on this verse: In Sukot you shall live for seven days…so that your generations will...

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Generational Joy

Simcha is usually translated from Hebrew as happiness. I prefer to think of it as joy. I don’t know if an English scholar would agree, but in my mind, happiness is fleeting while joy, even when other events or the passage of time overtakes it, leaves a lasting impression. Eating ice cream makes me happy,...

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I did not grow up poor

Have you noticed how fashionable it is among politicians to proclaim the poverty of their childhoods? I was brought up in a two room house on the wrong side of town. I grew up in a one room house outside of town. Well, my family lived in a tiny log cabin near the forest. So...

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Glad to be Sad

You know those days. You feel unstoppable and on top of the world, walking on air with sheer delight. A real king of the hill. Keep your balance! And then the days when you’re dejected and all alone and your eyes fill with the hot tears of defeat and you feel that life isn’t worth...

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