The Meaning of “Simcha”
As we enter the Jewish month of Adar, the Rabbis of the Talmud tell us to increase our pleasure, culminating with the festive holiday of Purim. “Mi sh’nichnas Adar, marbim b’simcha.” But the Rabbis also give us what might seem to be a peculiar definition of the word “simcha” – which I’m translating as pleasure.
“Ain simcha k’hataras hasfaikos.” There is no pleasure like the resolution of doubt. Now the Hebrew language has many different words used to express physical happiness and joy – but simcha is something different. It can be most accurately defined as the internal pleasure and satisfaction of doing the right thing.
Often, simcha can include a corresponding joyous event – no more evident than at a wedding celebration replete with exuberant singing and dancing which is partnered with the internal emotional delight of a new couple starting their life together. But the two don’t always have to be connected.
Fast forward a few years. It’s two in the morning and the sleep deprived first-time mother is awake yet again confronting a most unpleasant proposal – how can such a cute little baby produce such a large and ghastly dirty diaper? Ain’t a whole lot of physical joy and merriment going on over there. But the simcha – the internal emotional delight and pleasure of caring for such a precious gift – is in no way diminished. And from where does this pleasure generate? It’s rooted in the uber clarity that there is nothing more fulfilling in life than having the awesome responsibility and privilege of taking total care another human being whose growth, aspirations, and development are entrusted in your hands.
Clarity Equals Pleasure. Uncertainty Seeds Sadness.
People who have no meaning, and no direction, in life are perpetually despondent. They may frequently mask their inner angst with external distractions and entertainment, but that doesn’t clear up their emotional clouds or resolve their debilitating doubt. This is no more evident than in an ongoing dysfunctional relationship with food, and the corresponding weight gain and ailments that inevitably arise.
How many times have so many of us grasped for the latest miracle solution or magic formula that would instantaneously transform our body size and eating behaviors – always leaving us empty handed and emotionally and monetarily poorer for the effort?
The cookie diet. The pizza diet. The milkshake diet. Or, my favorite, the ice cream cleanse.
Put balls behind your ears. Get your saliva sampled or your blood-type analyzed. That’s the trick for long-term success. Don’t think so.
Cut out all carbs to kick-start ketosis or count to 21 points to cure your cravings. Maybe? Maybe not!
Let’s throw away those rose-colored glasses of the quick-fix mentality and get the right prescription so we can finally see with clarity and focus.
If you want the real pleasure – simcha – of a solution with no uncertainty, and the satisfaction – soveya – of finally focusing on the real issues to produce sustainable success, you know where to come. We’ll welcome you with open arms and help you experience the true joy and gratification that comes from developing and maintaining a healthy relationship with food. The time has arrived – “Mi sh’nichnas Adar, marbim b’simcha.”