Quotations on Joy

A psalm of thanksgiving: Make a happy noise to Adonai, all the earth. Serve Adonai with joy; come before God with glad singing.
–Psalm 100:1-2

The Holy Spirit rests on one who has a joyous heart.
–Jerusalem Talmud, Sukkah

Let a person fulfill the Torah with joy, and it will be accounted as righteousness. Let a person separate leave-offerings and give tithes in joy, and it will be accounted as righteousness.
–Tanna Debei Eliyahu

The inclination to do good is joy.
–Zohar

Joy breaks down all partitions, and then you see that all is naught, that there is only God.
–Hillel Zeitlin

It will be said at the heavenly tribunal: “If you have fulfilled My words with joy, My servants will come to meet you, and I Myself will go forth to greet you, saying, ‘Come in peace.’”
–Derech Eretz Zuta

All joys hail from paradise, and jests, too, provided they are uttered in true joy.
–Rabbi Pinchas

In this world, there is no perfect joy, unmixed with anxiety, no perfect pleasure, unmixed with envy. But in the future, the Holy One will make our joy and pleasure perfect.
–Pesikta Derav Kahana

Contrition on a fast day does not bring you closer to God than a devout heart’s joy on a Sabbath or festival.
–Yehudah Halevi

Joy is wisdom, preparation for prophecy, said Reb Bunam, voicing an intrinsic, unique quality of Jewish spirituality frequently stressed in Biblical and post-Biblical literature. This is indeed a peculiar, unheard-of fact. Normally the attitudes in accord with religious existence all over the world are humility, contrition, obedience, sorry and remorse.

Joy is not a theological category in the teachings of most religions and is never discussed in handbooks of theology….Even within Judaism, the teaching that joy lies at the very heart of worship, that it is a prerequisite for piety, is a scandal to the dullards and a stumbling block to the bigots. And yet a sense of humor is also a necessary ingredient of Jewish faith….

God is not only the creator of heaven and earth. God is also the One “who created delight and joy.”
– Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

When people are joyous, they are at their best: they are generous, kind, grateful, reverent…. If by the word “sacred” we mean that we cannot laugh at it, then it is less than sacred. But, conversely, whatever occasions joyous laughter turns out to be sacred.
–Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

When Jews become saintly, they sing and rejoice.
–Midrash Tehiliim