Tag Archives: simcha

8 Reasons Israelis are So Happy (Yom Ha’atzmaut 2016)

Outside observers could reasonably conclude that Israel is a miserable country. International news reports tend to focus solely on the Middle Eastern conflict and acts of terror, while BDS protesters try to convince the world that Israelis are evil oppressors.

And yet Israel ranked 11th in the UN’s 2016 World Happiness Report (above even the U.S.). This corresponds with my own daily reality, as I observe many cheerful and enthusiastic Israelis during my daily routine. For Israel’s 68th birthday (Yom Ha’atzmaut) it’s worthy asking: why are Israelis so happy?

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4 Tech Tools for Happiness in 2016

The following four tech tools have given a big boost to my search for happiness. Hopefully some of them can also help you in 2016.  Please note: I am not affiliated with these products and I’m not receiving any money or benefits to promote them. 

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Jonathan Pollard and the Happiness of Freedom

Imagine how Jonathan Pollard felt this Shabbat, leaving jail after a 30-year prison term! How many times during those three long decades did he dream about being a free man: taking a long walk on a beach, meeting a friend in a coffee shop, embarking on a trip with his wife, taking a luxurious bath, praying in a beit knesset?

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Sukkot and the Fight Club

Don’t worry, I’m not recommending fist fights in your Sukkah (the temporary hut Jews inhabit during the festival of Sukkot). That would likely wreck the walls of your Kosher Sukkah!

I’m simply noting that one of the main themes of the Fight Club, a thought-provoking movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, is also a dominant theme of Sukkot. This theme has much to teach us about simcha (Jewish joy).

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Yom Kippur – You’re Doing it Wrong

No days were as festive for Israel as Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur –Tractate Ta’anit.

What is the Mishna trying to tell us? We understand why Tu B’Av, a magical day of love, was considered a happy day. But Yom Kippur? Isn’t that supposed to be the day that we punish our bodies by fasting and reflect on the many awful things we did in the previous year? How does that promote simcha (Jewish joy)?

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Mikveh Before Rosh HaShana

Because many Jews immerse in a mikveh (ritual bath) before Rosh HaShana, I am re-posting a previous blog post about a happiness visualization for the mikveh. Have a sweet and HAPPY New Year! 

— Simcha 

After deciding to start my current search for simcha (Jewish joy) on Hoshana Rabbah, one of the first things I did that morning was immerse myself in one of the local mikvehs. Hoshana Rabbah is the day when the judgment process that has started on Rosh HaShana is sealed, and I wanted to feel spiritually pure.

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Becoming a Rich Jew…

I’m not usually the type to obsess about my financial situation, or to think too much about the things I don’t have. Israelis seem a little less materialistic than people in other Western countries and I am blessed to have a full-time job in high-tech, an apartment in Modi’in, a car, etc.

But I must admit that my recent trip to visit my family and friends in Boston (near Boston, technically) shook me up a little bit.

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Tu B’Av: Jewish Day of Love and Happiness

Exactly fourteen years ago (according to the Jewish calendar), I asked Neetz if she wanted to officially be my girlfriend. She said “yes” and all these years later we have three kids, a wonderful home and countless funny stories.

Maybe part of our success has resulted from the fact that our romance began on Tu B’Av, a magical Jewish holiday of love and happiness.

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