A man is dancing at the wedding of his only child. He's a good dancer, but never before, and never again in his lifetime, will his dancing attain the grace and expressiveness it now displays. In fact, all his talents, capabilities and qualities are currently at their zenith: his mind is at its keenest, his loves and his hates are at their most passionate; put a brush in his hand, and he'll paint you a picture which exacts the utmost of his artistic potential.

The Chassidic masters use this parable to demonstrate their definition of "joy": Joy is revelation. Joy unearths latent potentials no one even knew existed and amplifies revealed potentials to levels no one ever thought possible. Joy is an effusion of self that spills over to places and achievements far beyond the soul's natural horizons.

Let's explore the dynamics of joy though this selection of 17 insights, stories, personal voices, meditations, readings—and a collection of recordings of joyous chassidic niggunim (melodies):


How Can I Be Happy?
by Aron Moss

Four Reasons to be Happy
by Yanki Tauber

The Dancing Jews
by Eliezer Steinman

Meditations on Joy
by Tzvi Freeman

Learning to Laugh
by Yanki Tauber

Good Thinking
by Yanki Tauber


A Joyous Divorce

The Clock


Sing a Niggun


The Women's Balcony
by Sarah Shapiro

Sitting in a Café
by Jay Litvin

The Most Joyous Pain
by Sara Esther Crispe


Rabbi Scneur Zalman of Liadi on Sadness and Joy
From chapter 26 of Tanya

The Chassidic Masters on Joy
From "The Key to Kabbalah" by Nissan Dovid Dubov


Seven joyous niggunim (chassidic melodies) sung by Avraham Fried:
Niggun Simcha, Niggun Simcha 1, Niggun Simcha 2, Niggun Simcha I, Niggun Simcha II, Niggun Simcha III, Niggun Simcha IV

To be Happy is to be Human
an audio class by Manis Friedman