Joyful Sadness and the Spiritual Path | Orot Chicago

at The Mallinckrodt Center
1041A Ridge Road
Wilmette, IL
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The Gate of Tears: Joyful Sadness and the Spiritual Path
“Even when the gates of prayer are closed, the gates of tears are open.” So says the Talmud (BT Berachot 32b) and so many of us have experienced — that when the heart is broken, it is also the most open. But more than that: it is possible to experience a profound joy coexisting with sadness, underlying it. This is what Rabbi Nachman meant when he emphasized the mitzvah of being joyful always — not that one should be happy at funerals, at injustice, or at the pain of a loved one, but that there is a different kind of joy that can merge with sadness, anger, and pain.

This is the message of the sixth book by Dr. Jay Michaelson, The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path. Drawing on Jay’s fifteen years of teaching in Jewish and Buddhist communities, The Gate of Tears explores the insight that it is possible to know and coexist with difficult emotions, rather than repress, indulge, avoid, or attempt to banish them. In fact, this evening’s focus will ultimately be about profound happiness: the happiness that does not depend on conditions.