Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Talmud on happiness and national mourning

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Why Jews Are Forbidden to Be Happy. Talmudic rabbis debate just how much of life should be forsaken as part of the Jewish responsibility to mourn for the past.
Should a Jew ever be completely happy? The question is likely to provoke an indignant “of course.” Why shouldn’t a Jew have as much right to happiness as anyone else? Yet the more you know about the Jewish past, the harder it is to avoid the inheritance of sorrow that is an essential part of Jewishness. We are, after all, a people whose holidays revolve around the threat of annihilation. On Purim, we read about the near genocide of the Persian Jews by Haman; on Passover, we will celebrate the Israelites’ hairsbreadth escape from the Egyptian army at the Red Sea.

And sometimes, of course, there was no escape. ...
Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.