Sharing Torah Insights

Be’ha’alscha- Happiness is Contagious

Posted on ט״ו בסיון ה׳תש״ע (May 28, 2010) | in Behaalotcha | by

It’s long been said that laughter is contagious, and now, it turns out, so is happiness.

Happiness is not an individual but a collective phenomenon, according to a new study released online Thursday in the British Medical Journal.

The study, which followed almost 5,000 people over 20 years, found that happiness can spread through three degrees of separation within social networks, meaning that the happiness of your friend, your friend’s friend, and even your friend’s friend’s friend can infect you with a good mood.

“Happiness not only spreads from person to person but also from person to person to person,” said political scientist James H. Fowler ’92, a professor at the University of California, San Diego and one of the paper’s authors. (http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2008/12/8/study-finds-joy-to-be-contagious/)

But when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow a (Tekia) long blast, but you shall not sound an (Terua) alarm. (Numbers 10:7)

“Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you shall blow (a tekia) the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am the LORD your God.” (10:10)

Rabbi Avraham Weinfeld (author of sh”ut Lev Avraham) points out that a tekia, long blast, corresponds to simcha, happiness, as seen in verse 10. Midrashically, the lesson to be learned here is that when one wants to gather together a nation, a team, a family, etc. the most effective method is through communicating happiness to others. Joy is contagious, and when one is positive and optimistic, others will follow your lead. Therefore, Moshe was told to blow a tekia when trying to gather or rouse the people, and not a terua, which is classified as a moaning sound. (Rosh HaShana 33b)

He quotes the adage, If you are happy, all are happy with you. But if you cry, you cry alone.

Yaakov

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