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While happiness is a value in Judaism, it is joy, or simcha, that is truly worthy. We tend to pursue happiness by trying to be wealthier or materialistic; by contrast, joy is the ability to celebrate life with security, to enjoy the presence of others, and to care for and give joy to others. This is the concept of simcha in Judaism, and it is a central part of what it means to be a Jew. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks zt’l wrote, “Jews have known suffering, isolation, hardship and rejection, yet they never lacked the religious courage to rejoice. A people that can know insecurity and still feel joy is one that can never be defeated, for its spirit can never be broken nor its hope destroyed.”
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