Friday, October 06, 2006

On Being Blessed (Joy vs. Happiness)

Newsweek online has just posted a rather classic piece by Rabbi Marc Gellman constituting "An Argument Against Happiness" (click here). (For my last post referencing Gellman's column, click here.)

Gellman's article calls to my mind the meaning of being "blessed" / "joyful" according to the Hebrew Bible. Most Americans would find the biblical concept of joyfulness counterintuitive. In Bible, to be "joyful" has little to do with feeling good, i.e., with experiences of pleasure / happiness. True, lasting joyfulness, rather, turns fundamentally on such things as goodness, self-transcendence, and following in God's footsteps. It may often mean deprivation, even suffering. Towards the end of his column, Gellman gives a simple but on-target example of this. It is worth a read.


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