By Marc Gafni
The idea of joy as divine energy is expressed by the Kabbalists in many different codes. Let me share one of them with you.
A favorite epigram of the Kabbalists is simcha poretz geder: “Joy breaks through all fences.” One Kabbalist, the master Simcha Bunim (whose first name actually means “happiness”), used this epigram to give a novel explanation of a famous mystical passage, “All the gates are locked, the gates of tears are never locked.” Traditionally, this verse has been taken to extol the power of a broken heart to break through all barriers when all other avenues have proven ineffective. When nothing else works, tears can still open the gates.
In a subtle twist, Simcha Bunim turns the passage on its head: If you are sad, he says, then you can enter only if the gate is unlocked, already wide open. Thus, God has no choice but to leave the gates of tears unlocked. If you are joyous, however, then you can get through even the gates that are locked. After all, simcha portez geder, “Joy breaks through all fences.”
Dr. Marc Gafni
Your Unique Self
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