No products in the cart.
If you’re not familiar with the verse, “Man plans, God laughs.” This apocalyptic poem shows how God, in his laughter, gloats over the kingdoms and nations. The verse, “God laughs at mankind’s plans,” is a classic example of Judaism. Its meaning is far more profound than mere gloating or toying with humans like flies. It gives nations a chance to argue their case. It’s also a joyful thing; God’s laughter gives nations an opportunity to plead their case before Him.
Man plans; God laughs in Judaism
In the aggadah, the divine will is mocked and nations are destroyed, and the rabbis mourn the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E., which led to their exile. Nevertheless, the rabbis have no cause for complacency, and their laughter is justified. The Jewish People must learn to live with this reality. The rabbis have not yet accepted the idea that God laughs at nations.
This idea of “man plans, God laughs” has a variety of manifestations. In one popular interpretation, God knows what will happen to his creation, and he plays games with it. This idea of God’s playing games with His creation is beautifully encapsulated in Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Yiddish wisdom. Rabbi Akiva, for example, laughs at the unfolding prophecy, a sign that God has played his cards poorly.
God’s laughter is more than mere gloating or toying with men like flies
Throughout the ages, man has been seen as a poor substitute for God. Homer complained that man was the saddest of beasts and Ecclesiastes lamented that man was nothing more than a statue of God strolling through the garden. The Greeks saw man as a creature crawling on the earth, while Christians cherished the notion of man’s dignity, complete with a sun-rayed crown and a peacock’s fan-like plumage.
It gives nations a chance to plead their case
In the United States, the Everson case forced the major Jewish organizations to rethink their collective strategies with regard to church-state relations. While most of these organizations were in favor of a nonsectarian public education system and the separation of church and state, the American Jewish Congress was the only major organization that opted for litigation strategy. The Jewish community in America has always struggled with the issues of religious freedom and church-state separation, but the Everson case helped reshape the face of the American Jewry.
The Holocaust is a terrible tragedy that has fueled many arguments. The author of the article, Doris Lankin, is proud of Israel’s legal system, which cites a Supreme Court decision ordering mothers of children born in foreign countries to return them to their Jewish mothers. While the author is correct that Israel’s legal system is rigid and requires careful deliberation, he is far too conservative to use the Holocaust as an example of Jewish-only laws.
It represents joy
Simcha is the Hebrew word for joy and occurs ten times as often as Ashrei. It is the central theme of the books of Deuteronomy, Exodus, and Leviticus, but appears twelve times in Deuteronomy. The word simcha describes the joyous atmosphere that people find when they serve God. In the bible, the word simcha is associated with joy, scarcity, and judgment.
In ancient times, joy was limited to mitzvah observance and mitzvah study. The lower four levels of the soul were not affected, and they retained their separateness. Joy was a spiritual quality that could only be experienced in the presence of G-d. The first expression of joy was shared, and it was associated with the Levites and the poor. The Levites also distributed gifts to strangers, orphans, and widows.
Simcha is a heavenly attribute that Jews value highly. Throughout the Torah, this quality is emphasized, as well as the way to achieve it. People who fail to serve the Lord with joy will face the curses of his wrath. Likewise, when worshiping the Lord, they should sing joyously to celebrate the miracles that God has done. In Judaism, Simcha is the key to happiness, and it is a source of joy for many.
The Talmud is the primary source of traditional Jewish law. In the Talmud, the word joy is associated with the month of Adar while sadness is accompanied by the month of Av. Both the Talmud and the Code of Jewish Law by Rabbi Yosef Karo mention that happiness is limited to the Adar month. Some commentaries attribute this omission to the absence of concrete guidelines on happiness. On the other hand, acts of sadness require a delineation.
Simcha is also associated with the celebration of family events. It includes the birth of a child, a wedding, or a Bar or Bat Mitvah. A simcha may be expressed as the sound of joy from the event, or the host of the event’s celebration, or as the celebration’s ecstasy. Regardless of what kind of celebration it is, however, the rabbinic teaching advises not to mix simcha with other joys.