Estelle Frankel, Sacred Therapy
The Hebrew word for oneness—echad—comes from the same root as the word for joy—chedva. We experience joy when we feel a sense of oneness and connectedness. This is the central aim of all Jewish spiritual healing—to restore a sense of unity, joy, and connectedness in a world in which brokenness seems inevitable.
Rabbi Alan Lew, z''l, from This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared
...when we speak of joy...we are not speaking of fun. Joy is a deep release of the soul, and it includes death and pain. Joy is any feeling fully felt, any experience we give our whole being to. We are conditioned to choose pleasure and to reject pain, but the truth is, any moment of our life fully inhabited, any feeling fully felt, any immersion in the full depth of life, can be the source of deep joy.”
- What is joy to you? Do either of the texts above resonate (or not) with your experience of joy?
David Whyte, Consolations
Joy is a meeting place, of deep intentionality and of self-forgetting, the body alchemy of what lies inside us in communion with what formerly seemed outside, but is now neither, but become a living frontier, a voice speaking between us and the world: dance, laughter, affection, skin touching skin, singing in the car, music in the kitchen, the quiet irreplaceable and companionable presence of a daughter: the sheer intoxicating beauty of the world inhabited as an edge between what we previously thought was us and what we thought was other than us...
To feel a full and untrammeled joy is to have become fully generous; to allow ourselves to be joyful is to have walked through the doorway of fear, the dropping away of the anxious worried self felt like a thankful death itself, a disappearance, a giving away, overheard in the laughter of friendship, the vulnerability of happiness felt suddenly as a strength, a solace and a source, the claiming of our place in the living conversation, the sheer privilege of being in the presence of a mountain, a sky or a well-loved familiar face—I was here and you were here and together we made a world.
- What brings you joy? In general? In challenging times?
Mindful by Mary Oliver
I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight,
that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light.
It is what I was born for—
to look, to listen, to lose myself
inside this soft world—
to instruct myself over and over in joy, and acclamation.
Nor am I talking about the exceptional, the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant—
but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar, I say to myself,
how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these—
the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made out of grass?
Sefat Emet 5:182
The joy of the water- drawing place is one of the ceremonies of Sukkot. For it is from there, from joy, that we draw the holy spirit. Joy is the vessel with which we draw the living waters, the holy spirit, of which it is says: "[God] blew into his nostrils the breath of life" (Gen 2:7). As a person holds fast to the lifeforce that each of us has from God, life spreads forth through all of her limbs.
It says [of these festive days]: "We saw no sleep." The Midrash says the same of Moses, that for forty days and nights he was unable to sleep, knowing there was no measure to that which he was receiving in every hour... The light of the entire year depends upon these seven days [of Sukkot]. And the vessel through which we receive that light is joy.